Discussing work experience on your personal statement

  • Spend time reflecting on what you learned from your placements.
  • Be specific when describing experiences – mention a particular patient that stood out or a particular doctor who you admired. Discussing specific cases helps demonstrate people skills and your caring nature.
  • Be clear about any diseases that you discuss — make sure that you are factually correct and in-tune with any current issues or significant research on the topic.
  • Try to include a variety of experiences – instead of mentioning five different cases of stroke patients, discuss experiences in different aspects of medicine, including some in primary care and some in secondary.
  • Be clear about what you learnt from your placements. What interested or inspired you? What surprised you? What did you learn about the NHS and its structure? What do you think are some of the best and worst aspects of being a doctor? Who else in the multidisciplinary team of the NHS is important in patient care? Consider the areas of medicine that you haven’t yet been exposed to and would be valuable to your experience in the future.
  • Finally, try to synthesise all of your experiences into a coherent statement on why you want to be a doctor. Justify why you feel becoming a doctor is your most appropriate choice rather than being a nurse or a researcher. Be aware of the key differences between the roles of these three careers and the advantages/disadvantages of each.

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