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Gap year - become a phlebotomist?

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    Hi all,

    So I'm currently in Year 13 and most likely going to be taking a gap year after receiving 4 rejections for medicine.

    I've been looking on the NHS Jobs website for the past couple of days, and thought that becoming a phlebotomist for a year would be suitable - it would give me some good clinical experience, while getting paid, and not getting bored after 3 weeks of holiday (which is what usually happens to me ) - given that I won't have any higher education qualifications.

    So I've got just a few quick questions to ask you lovely people :
    • What are the hours like - if it's not full time, I'd like to carry on with volunteering at a care home and with primary school kids as well.
    • How long is the on-job training - i.e. is there any point in me doing the job of a phlebotomist for a year or so, if I'm (hopefully ) going to university in October?
    • Do you get a good exposure to people from a wide variety of backgrounds - possibly something I could write about in my Personal Statement for next year?
    • How much teamwork is involved - is working with / communicating to other phlebotomists / nurses / doctors / other health-care professionals frequent - again, it could be something I could mention in my Personal Statement?


    Thank you all in advance for your help!

    Will +rep

    P.s. Sorry if this is the wrong forum - I've already tried putting this in the Gap year / temporary employment / healthcare forums, but I've got no responses so far.

    EDIT: For anyone who doesn't know what a phlebotomist does, click here.
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    Phlebs, as you probably know, do their training on the job and it actually takes quite a long time before you're given your independence. I think if you were honest with them and told them that you're buggering off in October, they probably wouldn't hire you.
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    (Original post by SpaghettiFellOut)
    Phlebs, as you probably know, do their training on the job and it actually takes quite a long time before you're given your independence. I think if you were honest with them and told them that you're buggering off in October, they probably wouldn't hire you.
    Do you think it would be unwise not to tell them that I'd be leaving in October, or may be even ask for a transfer (depending on what's happening in October), in order to work part-time?
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    Do you think it would be unwise not to tell them that I'd be leaving in October, or may be even ask for a transfer (depending on what's happening in October), in order to work part-time?
    I think it would be pretty unethical considering how much training and time they would invest in you. (Keep in mind that in addition to training, much of this year will be consumed by finding the job, applying, waiting for a response, waiting for CRB clearance and waiting for occy health clearance).

    I don't think they would be keen on training you just to have you transfer to another trust, who would probably want to re-train you anyway, as is the NHS.
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    (Original post by SpaghettiFellOut)
    I think it would be pretty unethical considering how much training and time they would invest in you. (Keep in mind that in addition to training, much of this year will be consumed by finding the job, applying, waiting for a response, waiting for CRB clearance and waiting for occy health clearance).

    I don't think they would be keen on training you just to have you transfer to another trust, who would probably want to re-train you anyway, as is the NHS.
    :hmmm: Well that's certainly put a damper on things :sad:
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    (Original post by CheekiiMonkii)
    Can't you do an actual degree for like a year or something? I'm in yr 12...and if I was in the same position as you... I was wondering about doing a small degree related 2 that for a yr instead of wasting time...

    Or is that actually a bad choice? :confused:
    Degrees are usually three years long.
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    (Original post by SpaghettiFellOut)
    Degrees are usually three years long.
    Yepp... "usually" being the key word there... they still do exist don't they?

    and if i had to choose between doing a 1 year degree and work experience... I would choose the degree.. wouldn't you? :confused: (this is very confusing...)
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    (Original post by CheekiiMonkii)
    Yepp... "usually" being the key word there... they still do exist don't they?

    and if i had to choose between doing a 1 year degree and work experience... I would choose the degree.. wouldn't you? :confused: (this is very confusing...)
    I would choose work experience. You've probably been in education all your life - now is an opportunity to diversify and get some experience.
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    (Original post by SpaghettiFellOut)
    I would choose work experience. You've probably been in education all your life - now is an opportunity to diversify and get some experience.
    This. :borat:
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    (Original post by SpaghettiFellOut)
    I would choose work experience. You've probably been in education all your life - now is an opportunity to diversify and get some experience.
    Thanks for your useful comments

    +repped
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    At the time of your original application did you apply for a med course with a preliminary year? If so, what was the feed-back you got from this? If not, this could be an option for any further application.

    Have you thought about volunteering in a hospice or maybe even working as a care assistant? It would give you valuable experience with geriatric medicine, when considering an ageing population, this may well be an important part of your work (unless you already have a specialism in mind). It can also give you something to include within your PS as an example of considering the impact societal factors have on medicine.

    There are also other courses that you could apply for next year that can lead on to transfers on to Med programmes. I'm sure you know most of this already but I thought the above was worth a mention just in case.

    Good luck.
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    (Original post by Productoflabour)
    At the time of your original application did you apply for a med course with a preliminary year? If so, what was the feed-back you got from this? If not, this could be an option for any further application.

    Have you thought about volunteering in a hospice or maybe even working as a care assistant? It would give you valuable experience with geriatric medicine, when considering an ageing population, this may well be an important part of your work (unless you already have a specialism in mind). It can also give you something to include within your PS as an example of considering the impact societal factors have on medicine.

    There are also other courses that you could apply for next year that can lead on to transfers on to Med programmes. I'm sure you know most of this already but I thought the above was worth a mention just in case.

    Good luck.
    Hey, no - I applied to 4 x A100 courses, got rejected from all of them pre-interview, so will be reapplying in October via UCAS for 2013 entry, if my A level grades are at least AAA, and I'm in the process of getting feedback as to where my application went wrong, I won't know much (if anything at all) until the end of May. :erm:

    I just realised I might have been unclear when I said October in my OP - I meant October 2013, not October 2012 .

    I currently volunteer regularly at a care home for dementia sufferers, which I'll be continuing during my gap year anyway, as well as working with local primary school children

    As for the transfer to Med courses, I have an offer (AAB including Biology and Chemistry) from Newcastle University to study Pharmacology 2012 entry; after the first year there's the option of transferring onto Newcastle's MB ChB course. However, that is heavily over-subscribed, and the chances of making the transfer are very slim. Therefore, I'm more inclined to take a gap year, rather than taking the risk of entering the course and not being able to transfer, so being stuck there for 3 years. :sad:

    Anyway, thanks for your suggestion, +repped.
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    Hi all,

    So I'm currently in Year 13 and most likely going to be taking a gap year after receiving 4 rejections for medicine.

    I've been looking on the NHS Jobs website for the past couple of days, and thought that becoming a phlebotomist for a year would be suitable - it would give me some good clinical experience, while getting paid, and not getting bored after 3 weeks of holiday (which is what usually happens to me ) - given that I won't have any higher education qualifications.

    So I've got just a few quick questions to ask you lovely people :
    • What are the hours like - if it's not full time, I'd like to carry on with volunteering at a care home and with primary school kids as well.
    • How long is the on-job training - i.e. is there any point in me doing the job of a phlebotomist for a year or so, if I'm (hopefully ) going to university in October?
    • Do you get a good exposure to people from a wide variety of backgrounds - possibly something I could write about in my Personal Statement for next year?
    • How much teamwork is involved - is working with / communicating to other phlebotomists / nurses / doctors / other health-care professionals frequent - again, it could be something I could mention in my Personal Statement?


    Thank you all in advance for your help!

    Will +rep

    P.s. Sorry if this is the wrong forum - I've already tried putting this in the Gap year / temporary employment / healthcare forums, but I've got no responses so far.

    EDIT: For anyone who doesn't know what a phlebotomist does, click here.
    I would do it. You'd be working for over a year (assuming you started this summer and planned on going to uni September 2013). One of my friends here worked as a phleb for his summer job, loved it, got paid, and is now so amazing at blood taking he puts us all to shame during our clinical skills sessions

    And if it were part time that would be amazing, because you could continue to work on other parts of your application like you mentioned
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    Hi all,

    So I'm currently in Year 13 and most likely going to be taking a gap year after receiving 4 rejections for medicine.

    I've been looking on the NHS Jobs website for the past couple of days, and thought that becoming a phlebotomist for a year would be suitable - it would give me some good clinical experience, while getting paid, and not getting bored after 3 weeks of holiday (which is what usually happens to me ) - given that I won't have any higher education qualifications.

    So I've got just a few quick questions to ask you lovely people :
    • What are the hours like - if it's not full time, I'd like to carry on with volunteering at a care home and with primary school kids as well.
    • How long is the on-job training - i.e. is there any point in me doing the job of a phlebotomist for a year or so, if I'm (hopefully ) going to university in October?
    • Do you get a good exposure to people from a wide variety of backgrounds - possibly something I could write about in my Personal Statement for next year?
    • How much teamwork is involved - is working with / communicating to other phlebotomists / nurses / doctors / other health-care professionals frequent - again, it could be something I could mention in my Personal Statement?


    Thank you all in advance for your help!

    Will +rep

    P.s. Sorry if this is the wrong forum - I've already tried putting this in the Gap year / temporary employment / healthcare forums, but I've got no responses so far.

    EDIT: For anyone who doesn't know what a phlebotomist does, click here.
    Go for it - no harm in giving it a shot, and will give you some useful experience to talk about in the future (communication, difficult patients, fainty patients).

    If that doesn't work out - go for an HCA job, you'll get a decent range of experience and patient contact which you can gain a lot from. I did it full time for my gap year and am very glad I did.
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    A lot of phlebotomy vacancies require previous experience which makes it difficult for newbies to enter the job. You could always do a phlebotomy training course privately, but it could cost several hundred pounds!

    (Original post by CheekiiMonkii)
    Can't you do an actual degree for like a year or something?
    So basically wasting £9K (not including living costs!)?
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    Get a HCA job I'd say they are much more useful in terms of getting experience as you get to be on the ward.
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    (Original post by SpaghettiFellOut)
    Phlebs, as you probably know, do their training on the job and it actually takes quite a long time before you're given your independence. I think if you were honest with them and told them that you're buggering off in October, they probably wouldn't hire you.
    Does it actually take that long? F1s are thrown into it having quite possibly only done it a handful of times before. One f1 i spoke to said he'd taken blood just 8 times before starting his first job.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Does it actually take that long? F1s are thrown into it having quite possibly only done it a handful of times before. One f1 i spoke to said he'd taken blood just 8 times before starting his first job.
    If you think about it, I don't think the 'on-job training' would last very long, as private companies offer (presumably) similar, if not the same training in courses which cost no more than £400.

    UKCAT Kaplan courses cost around £200 (may be even more) and they're only for a couple of days, so I presume that the on-job phlebotomist training wouldn't really be more than a couple of weeks, if that.

    EDIT: But the 'previous experience' bit may be a killer, as Democracy pointed out above.
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    (Original post by thegodofgod)
    Hi all,

    So I'm currently in Year 13 and most likely going to be taking a gap year after receiving 4 rejections for medicine...
    Go for it. It'll be good experience

    (Original post by CheekiiMonkii)
    Can't you do an actual degree for like a year or something? I'm in yr 12...and if I was in the same position as you... I was wondering about doing a small degree related 2 that for a yr instead of wasting time...

    Or is that actually a bad choice? :confused:
    You're confused. A whole degree in one year.. it doesn't exist. You could do the first year of a degree and then leave, but what would be the point? You'd leave with nothing and a spend a fortune in the process.


    (Original post by Democracy)
    You could always do a phlebotomy training course privately, but it could cost several hundred pounds!
    It's such a joke. We had about 20 minutes of "training" and then was let loose on patients. After doing it a handfull of times I was considered "experienced" it enough to attempt it unsupervised - 'attempt' being the operative word!
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    It's got natural congruence with urology should you decide to go down that route later on.

    A phlebotomist pricks your finger.....

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