Get Into Medicine - Work experience and how to go about arranging some! 

This guide  has been written in response to a number of requests for info on arranging work experience which we received from many of our followers on Twitter! We hope you find this guide useful - it will be updated regularly with new info so check back!

 Many people have contacted us about work experience abroad -there are a number of interesting and exciting hospital-based work experience opportunities provided by Gap Medics for students aged 16 and over applying to Medical School!!

Work experience is an essential component to your medical application. Aside from the fact that it is mentioned on many of the University application websites as something they pay particular attention to there are a number of other reasons why work experience in medicine is so important for medical applicants. 


Do you really want to study medicine?

Another way of putting this is  - how can you possibly be sure at 16 or 17 years old which job you would like to do for the rest of your life? Well the answer is you can probably never be totally sure until you get there, but one way of showing that you have at least considered this dilemma is work experience. Work experience will probably not show you exactly what being a Doctor is like - the reality of that is usually only bestowed upon medical students after a great deal of experience on the wards. However, any amount of work experience serves as a window into this world and will allow you to form opinions on and about the day to day working life of an NHS doctor. Use your time during work experience to question the doctors (and other health care staff) and find out more about the job you believe you want to do.

 Your personal statement and interview

Work experience will give you plenty of things to talk about, and be questioned about, when it comes to interview. This will be the time to show off the mature opinions about working in the NHS that you developed during your work experience. This applies equally to your personal statement - and ideal time to showcase your understanding of the profession - and other professions you have learned about - interprofessional team work is a "hot" topic within medical education right now and to even mention that on your PS or at interview will almost certainly help you stand out from all the other candidates!

How to arrange work experience?

START EARLY! There is a lot of competition for work experience places and not all hospitals offer it - start early to ensure that you get a place!

  • Send a politely worded letter to your local hospital and GP practice explaining your situation, and asking if they can accommodate you for a few days to a week of work experience. Include your phone number and email address, and specifically request that if they wish to contact you they should do so by these means. If you hear nothing after a few weeks, follow this up by a polite phone call explaining your situation and mentioning the letter you wrote - be polite at all times - Doctors and admin staff are busy people - they are probably not ignoring you its just they may not have got round to replying yet!
  • Do the same, but to the Medical School which is affiliated to the Health trust in which you want to carry out your work experience. Medical schools have to place hundreds if not thousands of their students in local hospitals and GP surgeries every year so they are the experts - if you ask nicely enough they may be able to help you. Again politeness and enthusiasm are key.
  • Obviously if you know any Doctors on a personal level, then ask them for help. We appreciate that not everyone is in such a fortunate situation. However, if you know anyone who works in a hospital - from pharmacists to physios, Admin to nurses - ask them if they would be willing to help - if you don't ask you will not get!

 Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2012 Get Into Medicine