• Question: I would like to go into the medical profession and I was wondering what kind of experience you would have to have?

    Asked by EllieFogg_1103 to Adil, Amanda, Gail, Jamie (GP), Jo & Lucy, Nicola, Philly, Tuxford on 6 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Adil Rashid

      Adil Rashid answered on 6 Mar 2018:


      Experience working with people in a caring role is a fantastic way to develop your skills and impress university admissions tutors at the same time. For example, when I was at college, I volunteered at a care home on the weekends chatting with residents and helping them with their day to day activities. Plus there was always time to play dominoes with the residents. This experience highlighted the importance of caring for the elderly and improved my communication skills. Other activities such as volunteering at a charity shop or tutoring students are also great ways of gaining skills.

      Getting work experience at a GP practice or hospital is a great way to develop insight into a career as a medical professional. However, universities understand it can be challenging to organise these sorts of experiences so don’t worry if you can’t get them. Alternatively chatting to a doctor about their day to day work is a great way to understand what the job involves.

    • Photo: Jamie Hynes

      Jamie Hynes answered on 6 Mar 2018:


      Experience of life! I remember sitting on the Med School panel for interviews and what they’re after is a well-rounded candidate who has stuff to do outside of medicine- that’s the stuff that helps you through the tough bits of your career. People assume you need weeks of experience in A&E and surgical theatres, etc etc but I remember those who lived & breathed anything and everything to do with medicine not making it through the interviews as there was just too much pressure on them.
      Do get in touch with your local practices, even better ones involved in Medical Student or GP training- having an understanding of what GPs do as part of the NHS is a great nugget of info to take into interviews- we want half of medschool graduates coming into GP!
      The College motto is Cum Scientia Caritas- Science with Compassion- you have to know stuff and use compassion- experience in that counts! Great question Ellie!

    • Photo: Gail Allsopp

      Gail Allsopp answered on 6 Mar 2018:


      The best experience is the things you do naturally. Playing an instrument to a high level shows commitment, being a prefect at school shows responsibility, playing in a sports team shows teamwork, looking after your younger siblings shows empathy (hopefully!), and doing something other than what is on offer at school is always an advantage.
      If you want to be a doctor, you can be. Here in the East Midlands there is also the opportunity to do work experience with a GP surgery too if you are committed and apply at the right time.

    • Photo: Philippa Horner

      Philippa Horner answered on 7 Mar 2018:


      Very good question. One of the main things a medical school wants to see on your personal statement are dedication to something over time – be that a sports team, musical commitment, something academic or a volunteering position – which shows you can commit to something and have a sense of responsibility. Another key thing they want to see is evidence of you showing participation in a caring role – this can be in a care home once a week, working with children, working in a charity shop or anything along these lines. Personally, I volunteered at a day “hospital” for the elderly whose loved ones needed respite or needed somewhere for their relative to go in the day time when they worked. I volunteered there for one afternoon a week for a year during 6th form.

      Any additional work experience you can get in GP surgeries or hospitals is always valuable and exciting but you would never be discriminated against if you haven’t had these opportunities, as this isn’t always easy to arrange!

      Whatever experience you get, it’s always worth thinking about what you learn from doing it and what skills you have developed (e.g. teamwork, empathy, leadership), as this is a good talking point at interview.

    • Photo: Jo & Lucy Arthurs / Clayton

      Jo & Lucy Arthurs / Clayton answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      I think unfortunately it has become more difficult recently to get work experience in hospital or GP settings. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as there are plenty of other ways to gain experience and show commitment to the medical profession. It may be worth contacting a local care home and seeing if you could go and spend some time there…just chatting to the residents would give you a great insight into their health problems and how the system works! Joining a team or a committee shows and ability to commit to something and work with others in a team which always looks good in an interview situation.

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