8th June 2020
How To Get Medicine Work Experience?
- How do I get work experience?
- How should I contact a work experience provider?
- How can I increase my chances of getting work experience?
A degree in medicine is one of the most competitive
degrees in the UK. Therefore, just being
good at school and achieving high grades is usually not enough for a
Other extra- and super-curricular activities need to be undertaken to
Work experience is one of the most important aspects of your application. It shows that you have been exposed to healthcare settings and you have an idea of what being a doctor involves. In addition, work experience is also a great opportunity to reflect and learn about something specific to medicine in case you are asked about that in your interview.
The vast majority of universities will require you to have done some work experience. Some may have minimum requirements, others may not. Either way, the single most important thing when it comes to work experience is what you have learned from it, rather than how much yous have done.
Therefore, don’t be disheartened if you couldn’t get the amount of weeks that you wanted. Getting work experience in the UK is generally very difficult. With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, this is even more difficult now. As long as you meet your universities’ requirements, and if you have taken away something meaningful from your work experience, you should be in the safe zone.
2. How Do I Arrange Work Experience?
There are many ways through which you can
arrange work experience.
The most common way is by
contacting the place you’re interested in via phone or email.
In addition, there are the random opportunities that arise every now and then for you and others to make good use of. For example, if your sixth form/college hosted a talk by a doctor/healthcare worker, you can always go up to them after the talk and directly ask them.
This post will mainly focus on the steps you should take to obtain the contact details for the workplace you want to apply for, covering the advantages and disadvantages of using the phone or the email.
3. How Do I Get In Touch With The Organisation?
Simply, visit the website of the place that you’re
thinking of applying to.
Look for any
contact details and write them down.
Now comes the question as to whether you should use the phone or email. If you have a clear preference for one over the other, by all means go for that preference. Moreover, if you’re unsure about which one then we suggest you follow the guidance below.
- 🏥 If you are applying to a small institution,
such as a small
surgery or a
care home, it is
recommended to use the phone. This is because smaller institutions are
likely to pick
up the phone than larger and busier ones. Smaller institutions may also not be very
on the email front.
- 🏥 For the reason mentioned in the previous paragraph, if you are
applying to a
institution such as a hospital then using the
email is more likely to work than using the
phone. Plus some large hospitals may have a specific team whose
responsibility is handling
work experience for aspiring medics and medical students.
You can learn much more about the UCAT, how to revise for it and our top tips by having a look at our UCAT guide.
4. One Step To Increase Your Chance Of Success, Dramatically!
strong>Pick a specific hospital you wish to apply to.
website. Look through the list of
their specialities. Find a speciality that you are interested in at the
moment. Look at the
list of consultants of that speciality. Choose any consultant.
Usually, in the consultants’ profiles you will find some information about their research interests. If a research interest of a specific consultant sounds interesting to you, that’s great! Look it up for more details. Learn more about it and potentially read that consultant’s research publications if they’re available.
Check out Pubmed to see if a particular research paper and publications are available for free.
- ⚡⚡ For example, let’s assume that a cardiologist’s area of
interests is on the
of beta-blockers on blood pressure in diabetic people. Look up what
beta-blockers are, what
do they do? A little bit about their history. Any side effects? Etc.
find out about
their effect on blood pressure and what other things affect blood pressure. Then, do
research on the heart, its basic structure and the effect of
on the heart.
Then research more about diabetes and the effect that has on blood pressure as well.
- ⚡⚡ After you do your research, contact that
consultant via email or
In this particular
case because consultants are usually busy, we recommend using the email
that they can
read your email whenever they want to. If you contact a consultant by phone and they
ward rounds and meetings to go through, they’re a lot more likely to turn you
In your email say that you are interested in their area of research. Talk about the research that you have done about that area. Then say that you would like to shadow them for a few days to learn more about their speciality and their lives within that speciality, and to learn more about their research.
That way, the doctor is a lot more likely to accept your request to shadow him/her as they see that you are genuinely interested in their field and that you have done some background research to prove it.