Teachers’ Guide to Medicine #5: Work Experience Requirements

Admissions

2021-03-13

Work experience is an important part of the path to medicine.

Why is work experience so important for medical school admissions?

Many medical schools require or strongly encourage applicants to have work experience in a healthcare or related field. This is to: 

  • Help students understand what a medical career involves.
  • Reflect on their suitability for medicine.
  • Developing leadership, communication and teamwork skills.

Even when work experience is not a compulsory requirement, students may be asked to draw upon their work experience during a medical school interview. 

Therefore, it is important to encourage your students to reflect on the work experience especially with relevance to medicine, rather than approaching it as a box-ticking exercise.

How can I help my students find work experience?

Work experience may be paid, voluntary, or involve observation. Students can find work experience in:

  • Primary care
  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Care homes
  • Special needs schools

Students often struggle with where to find work experience. You can refer your students to Medify’s free Work Experience App, which shows work experience placements from around the UK.

Medify's Work Experience Map

Any further tips on work experience?

You can find useful tips for your students in the following resources:

Students can also gain indirect experience by reading good books written by doctors that depict their real experience.

How to get work experience during COVID-19 times

COVID-19 has made it harder for students to obtain their usual work experience. Here are extra tips to help your students:

  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School offers a virtual work experience course.
  • Observe GP allows students to observe GPs in action (i.e. a virtual shadowing experience).
  • Advise students to contact life science researchers in your local universities for lab assistant or internship opportunities.

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