Hospital placements provide a unique insight into life as a Doctor – but you also get to see many other healthcare professionals working under the same roof. It’s a unique opportunity.
It’s really easy for Doctors to spot which students are truly committed and passionate. The best way to stand out as someone with real potential is to get involved in as much as you can. You’ll find the Doctors will want to teach you more as a result.
Remember: always ask questions!
Use this as your opportunity to find out if Medicine is the right career for you. If you’re already convinced, start building the knowledge bank that will serve you throughout the application process, Medical School and your career as a Doctor.
When you’re doing a hospital placement, the types of things you’ll get to see and do can really vary. You might be helping a Junior Doctor on a ward round, spending time in Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings, or observing the pharmacy department.
The most important part of a hospital placement isn’t what you do – it’s what you learn from it. Simply observing how things work and getting an insight into the reality of life as a Doctor is one of the most valuable things you can take from this experience.
Take a look at this blog to see what a Med Student learnt from their hospital placement.
Hospital placements are currently on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When they begin again, we’ll update this guide.
If you know someone who works in a hospital, ask if they can help you to arrange a placement. If not, the next port of call should be your school. You can also get in touch with the education department or postgraduate centre at your local NHS Trust.
Getting hospital placements without knowing someone can seem daunting, but don’t give up. It will look even more impressive once you get there – and the way you tackled the task will demonstrate your tenacity and commitment.
As well as asking questions, you must keep a diary of what you see — and, most importantly, how you have reflected upon it.
You will need to use specific examples from your hospital placement on your personal statement and be able to discuss them at interview. Think about what you saw, who was involved and what qualities (e.g. teamwork) were on display. Extrapolate wider learning points from individual cases.
Finally, make sure you are familiar with the key points from a document called Tomorrow’s Doctors, created by the General Medical Council. This highlights the skills needed to make a good doctor.
Keep examples of these skills in action and highlight them in your personal portfolio. That is real stand-out stuff!
There are many other work experience opportunities that will help you build your CV and enhance your application. You could consider:
Remember that universities have adjusted their work experience requirements to take into consideration the impact of the pandemic.
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