Hospital placements form the backbone of many Medical School applications. They are truly invaluable. So, you have to make the most of them.
This page answers the following questions about hospital placements:
- What will I learn from hospital placements?
- How do I get a hospital placement?
- How can I make the most of my hospital placements?
What Will I Learn From Hospital Placements?
Hospital placements provide a unique insight into life as a doctor. You will also see many other healthcare professionals working under the same roof. So it’s a unique opportunity.
As doctors, we have all had students join our medical team for a week. We can quickly distinguish those who are truly committed and passionate from those that are not.
In order to make yourself stand out as someone with real potential, get involved in as much as you can. You’ll find the doctors will want to teach you more as a result.
Activities can range from helping a junior doctor on a ward round, to spending time in Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings, to observing the pharmacy department.
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.
How Do I Get Hospital Placements?
If you know someone who works in a hospital, ask them to help. 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.
How Can I Make The Most Of My Hospital Placements?
As well as asking questions, you must keep a diary of what you see — and, most importantly, how you have reflected upon it. Use your free personal portfolio to log all of your reflections. And don’t forget to use our three-step reflection plan.
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!