Trying to cram in some last minute med school interview prep on how to really make your medical work experience sound impressive? Check out our five easy steps!
1. Choose one memorable case or patient you saw during your medical work experience
First things first, it’s important to say that it doesn’t matter if you’ve done 2 weeks or a million years doing a particular stint of work placement. What matters is that you know how to talk about your experiences, and how to reflect on them during the all-powerful Medical School interview.
So, say perhaps you do happen to be someone who didn’t spend a lengthy amount of time on a work placement – no matter! A particularly great way to talk about any kind of work experience is to highlight one memorable case or patient you that saw. It could be the only case you saw, or one of many! Once you’ve decided which case is most memorable to you, you can then go on to think about what you’ve learned from that particular encounter. Going into an appropriate an amount of detail on a particular case is an excellent way to show that you are perceptive and interested in the subject. So, have a think – which case/patient stood out to you most?
2. What qualities and attributes of doctors did you observe?
So, now that you have decided on your number one memorable case (or maybe your top three if you were lucky to hit the work experience jackpot), you can have a think about the following:
Did you observe doctors explaining any tests or results to patients?
Did you observe any doctors breaking bad news?
What kinds of communication skills did they employ to achieve this?
Did you see any angry patients?
How did the doctor deal with this?
Did you see any patients where there was some uncertainty as to what the diagnosis was?
How was this uncertainty managed?
Did you see any interactions between doctors and any members of the multidisciplinary team such as nurses or physiotherapists?
Think about what kind of qualities doctors need in these situations. For example: empathy; sensitive communication; conscientiousness; emotional resilience and teamwork.
Even if you have spent a small amount of time either in hospital or at the GP, it is likely you will have observed one of these types of interactions. Did you see any particularly challenging situations with regards to your memorable case/patient? Talk about these to show that you appreciate a career in medicine can be very difficult at times.
3. Get in your buzzwords!
Using words and phrases such as ‘multidisciplinary team’ shows that you weren’t daydreaming during your work experience – you were actively listening and keen to find out what life is like as a doctor. Ensure you know what the words mean and that you are using them in the right context before you start dropping them into your interview answers!
4. If you really (really) struggled to get work experience tell the interviewer
If you found it particularly hard to secure yourself a work placement, but still managed to succeed (even if it was only for a brief amount of time), then tell the interviewer!
If you’re able to talk about the great lengths you went into in order to obtain your work experience, it shows your commitment and perseverance to the cause that is Medicine!
5. Tell the interviewer what work experience you have yet to do
You may have some more work experience lined up already, or are thinking of getting a little bit of exposure into a particular field of Medicine. Do a lot of research into what you’re about to embark on, and be sure to think about how you can talk about your enthusiasm to learn more about Medicine. Having future plans shows ongoing commitment to finding more out about a career in medicine – and is also a great way to pad out your portfolio if you haven’t got that much experience under your belt!
Additionally, talking about any work experience that you’ve got planned for the future is also a great way to answer the tricky “what will you do to stay involved in Medicine if your application is unsuccessful this year?” question.
With that I wish you good luck!
Uploaded by Beth on 18th February 2016
Online Mock Interview : Video Instructions
Watch this video to see how our fantastic new tool allows you to practise interviews from the comfort of your own home! Meet the Dean Emeritus of The Royal Society of Medicine and have all your answers assessed by our medical education experts!
Our MMI courses will train you up with all the info you need to answer those tough problems and ethical scenarios. Written and hosted by trained medics and doctors, you'll experience the circuit-style layout of the MMI format, and get full mocks. Learn how to think on your feet - book now.
Take a look inside our free Interview Question Bank. With worked questions and answers, you'll discover traditional, MMI and Oxbridge style questions. Learn how to answer ethical scenarios or scientific problems. Written by medics for those wanting to be medics - check it out!