Work Experience For Medical School?! What You Actually Need To Know!

Hello hello!


I get a lot of questions about the sort of work experience that is necessary to help build a successful medical school application. There are a variety of different ways that you can prove a commitment to medicine and science, and the development of characteristics necessary to make a good doctor. Below are a few ideas that I think could help you with this, and certainly helped with my application!

1. Hospital work: This is fairly obvious, but it is important to try and get some sort of shadowing experience in a hospital. Particularly because, when applying for a degree that can last up to 6 years, it’s important to prove to yourself, and to the universities you’re are applying to, that you understand what you are committing to. During your time in a hospital, try to get some exposure to as many different specialities as possible, so you can get some idea of the variety within medicine.

2. Volunteering: Volunteering at somewhere like an old people’s home, or a hospice, is a great way of demonstrating you possess the empathy and selflessness needed to be a good doctor. These are great places to gain experience, as you are often given a lot more responsibility, and there is more scope for long term involvement; I volunteered at a local home for two years.

3. Tutoring/mentoring: Leadership, reliability and a passion for education, are characteristics expected of a doctor, and can be displayed by taking it upon yourself to teach younger students. It’s a great way of showing your commitment to helping others, and ability to undertake responsibility, while making a little money as well!

4. Research: When applying to a university that offers an intercalated medical degree, it’s important to show a dedication to science. A great way of doing this, is to get involved with some research. You can do this by contacting professors, or researchers, at local universities, involved in areas you are interested in. I shadowed a PhD student, working in cognitive neuroscience, over one on my summer holidays, and really enjoyed the experience.

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This may seem like a long list, but do not worry if you feel like you can’t manage everything! So long as you feel that your extra-curricular activities show that you are developing the skills and characteristics that will help you be a good doctor, you’re on the right track!

The 5 Best Things About Studying Medicine

My last post was about the 5 worst things about studying medicine. In order to balance things out, I thought I ought to tell you the 5 best things … otherwise you might think I’m a bit mad for still studying here!

So to begin

  1. First and foremost, I love the nature of the work we do. I struggle to focus unless I’m genuinely interested and excited about a topic. This means that something as ever-changing and complex as medicine is perfect for me, because I will constantly be challenged, even after I graduate and begin to practice.
  2. It’s great to know you’re studying for a career with a great amount of stability. While it’s not possible to guarantee which speciality you’ll go into, or which hospital you will end up at, there is no denying that the world will always need doctors. Your degree is an invaluable asset, in this respect; something you should never take for granted.
  3. One of my favourite parts of my degree is getting to hang out with other medical students. ‘Work hard, play hard’ will become your lifelong motto, and, while medical students do have a huge workload, we more than make up for it when we finally take time off! I’ve made some of the most wonderful friends in medical school, and absolutely love the mixture of characters it attracts.
  4. This may seem a little odd, but one thing I’m incredibly grateful for is the length of my degree, and time in education. While 6 years (at least) may seem like a long time to spend in university, I think medical students are lucky to be able to leave education as some of the most prepared members of the British workforce. Given the importance of the sort of work we do, the ability to prepare so thoroughly is something I will always appreciate.
  5. One of the most unique and touching things about being a medical student, is the relationship you are able to form with your patients. This relationship can often be even more personal that a relationship a patient will have with their doctor, because, as a student, you are less intimidating, and also have more time to spend with each patient, allowing you to grow much closer. Our ability to have such special connections with our patients is something I appreciate the most about being a medical student.

So there you have it! Medical school isn’t all bad. In actuality, this is one of the most valuable life experiences I will ever have, and, despite some down-sides, I wouldn’t change it for the world.!

Let me know what you love about being a medical student by commenting below!

Medical School Interview Advice: How I Got Into Cambridge

This is a new video on some tips and tricks, that I feel helped me do well when interviewing for medical school at Cambridge University, such as:

  1. Practice, practice, practice: Interviews are very odd environments to be in, particularly after happening most of your life sat in classrooms, absorbing information. This may the first time you are asked to really debate and explain your idea s and understanding of different topics. Practising this with teachers, or other doctors, can help you formulate your own style of effectively putting across information
  2. It’s good to keep an eye on any healthcare or NHS related news, as it’s not unlikely that you may be asked about these. Bear in mind that some things may not seem specifically healthcare related, but can still be topical, e.g Brexit .

For more tips, watch the video below: