Applying to Medical School · Nov. 09, 2018
How to Get Medical Work Experience UK?
So, you’re thinking about applying to Medicine. One of the best ways to find out about medicine is through paid or voluntary medical work experience. There are many areas of medicine work experiences for you to choose from. Currently, all universities in the UK require applicants to have work experience within a ‘caring setting. This may be shadowing in a healthcare setting, voluntary or paid work. Universities are looking for dedication to study medicine, they are not looking at applicants who are just academically excellent but applicants who can offer the whole package.
Find your medical work placement as soon as possible
Medical Work Experience Opportunities
Contact friends and family
If you are unable to find any work experience through a friend or family member, then call local hospitals. You can find healthcare shadowing opportunities by visiting local hospital websites and finding consultants contact information. Next, you can politely email them explaining that you are applying to medicine and would like to gain medical work experience in their speciality. In my experience, I was pleasantly surprised at how many doctors responded using this method. However, do not be alarmed if you haven’t heard back straight away. Doctors are generally very busy and it may take them some time to reply. Persistence is key, keep trying until you get a response!
Other ways of securing work experience in hospital departments are through work experience programmes and volunteering at a hospital. An example of a hospital that runs a work experience programme is Ealing hospital, London. Their website shows that they offer healthcare shadowing opportunities during certain weeks of the year. Furthermore, volunteering opportunities are advertised on the NHS Jobs Website or they may be listed on the chosen hospital’s website.
Contact GP surgeries
Finding hospital work experience can be extremely difficult and competitive, however, remember that there are a lot more GP surgeries than hospitals and getting work experience at a GP surgery is invaluable. GPs are the guardians of the NHS, seeing and treating the large majority of patients in the community, and referring only a small proportion to the big hospitals.
You can ask your own GP for advice, however, they may not be able to take you on due to confidentiality reasons. Instead, they may be able to guide you towards colleagues in other practices. If this isn’t possible, contact GPs and practice managers in your local area. Be polite and explain what you would like to get out of the experience, and be prepared to accept anything they offer you whether this is admin or shadowing the practice nurse. You never know, whilst filing, the GP may call you into their room to observe a consultation with a patient!
Check with Medical Schools & Career Advisors
Many school’s or college’s career advisors will help you to organise your work experience placements. They may even have links with healthcare professionals who have taken past medical students on work experience.
At theMSAG, we often speak to careers advisors who are keen to help students get into medical school. We understand that arranging medical work experience is a challenge, so if you’re not having any luck within your school, let us know – we can reach out to your careers advisor to offer some help.
Medicine volunteer resources
Find paid work (e.g. Healthcare Assisting)
Overseas work experience & volunteering
Medical summer school
Write a personal statement that stands out!
Prepare for your future in medicine
Finally, don't hesitate to get in touch via hello@theMSAG.com if you have any further questions.
Miss Roxanne Sutthakorn
Roxxanne is a Medical Student at King's College London. She has obtained The Duke of Edinburgh Award and is a Content Writer and Interview Coach for theMSAG.