So you’re one of the lucky few students who have had the chance to gain work experience shadowing a physician. And now that you’ve finished your work experience placement, those UCAS deadlines are looming.
Shadowing is a brilliant addition to any medical school application – but how can you use your experiences to their fullest? Read on to see how you to make the most of your hospital work experience, at interview, in your personal statement and in the future!
1. Your Personal Statement
The main aim of your personal statement is not only to describe any work experience you’ve had, but also to make it clear how it has made a difference to your personal and professional development. By thinking in this way, you might realise that even some of your less ‘relevant’ experience (such as a part-time job or school committee role) has given you qualities that will really help in your future career.
When you talk about your time on placement, explain what it has done for you: have you learnt the area you would like to specialise in? Have you developed personal resilience? Have you discovered how healthcare differs across the globe? These sorts of things are very useful to include. You may also want to refer to specific cases or procedures that interested you.
There is plenty of room to show honesty and personality in your personal statement, but do not simply say that you had a great time on a work experience placement – explain how it contributed to making you a better medical professional.
2. Your Interview
If you have spoken about your shadowing experience in your personal statement, chances are the admissions panel will want to hear more about it during your interview. They will see hundreds of students – sometimes across only a few days – so anything that sets you apart from other applicants will be a big selling point.
This is a great opportunity to expand on anything you may have written in your personal statement (remember to read it through again when you receive your invitation to interview!) as well as talk a bit more about some other memories you have of your placement. Because you are now face-to-face with the admissions panel, it’s a chance to show them your enthusiasm and how much the whole experience has inspired you. It’s much easier to do that in person!
As well as letting your positive attitude become clear, it’s also important to be honest about the challenges you faced whilst on placement. Were you surprised by certain protocols, or how limited resources were in your hospital? Did you witness a difficult ethical decision being made? Describe what happened and, importantly, what you learnt from it. Your interviewers will know that being a doctor is not easy – they want to know that you are aware of that, too.
3. How else might you use your hospital work experience?
Your work experience is not simply useful for getting into university – you will find throughout your career there are plenty of ways your time on placement can help you.
You may want to speak about any medical shadowing on your CV, particularly if you are applying for a health related part-time job such as medical scribing or a lab assistant. As before, even if you’re applying for a job that seems unrelated to healthcare, you may find that your placement has helped you develop skills such as teamwork, analytical thinking and empathy that could contribute to your success.
A shadowing placement would also be a great thing to mention if you’re approaching a potential professional mentor. It shows you are committed to gaining relevant experience and might persuade them to slot you into their busy schedule.
Between your personal statement and your interview, shadowing can be a huge asset to your application. With such an incredible experience under your belt – one that many others won’t have – you should really be prepared to show it off!
Not taken the plunge yet? Gap Medics offers life-changing medical shadowing opportunities abroad for students aged 16 and over. You can choose from a variety of different specialisms and a wide range of destinations – whether you’re learning about paediatrics in Poland or setting up a pop-up clinic in the Caribbean, your time with us will be truly unforgettable. To find out more, visit us at www.gapmedics.co.uk
Fierce competition. Hard work. Long hours. Nobody said becoming a doctor was easy. The good news is Gap Medics can help. Their medical placements let you shadow real-life doctors and gain first-hand clinical work experience.
Born to be a midwife? Gap Medics is here to deliver you safely into the arms of your future profession. Doing a placement means you will get to shadow midwives in a hospital environment and get the opportunity to develop critical clinical skills.
Dreaming of sparkling teeth and healthy smiles? Gap Medics have the perfect opportunity for you to sink your teeth into! Their overseas dentistry placements offer you the opportunity to shadow dentists in their day-to-day clinical duties and procedures.