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Clinical Support Worker Apprenticeship before Medicine

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    • Thread Starter

    hey guys,

    i am looking to apply for 2017 Grad Entry Medicine, and have begun my preparations a while ago (volunteering, consultant shadowing, ukcat revision, looking at Unis and various resources etc). whilst there is a bit more to do for preparations, there is still over a year left before i can go anywhere (ofc assuming I get an offer), so I am looking to secure a paid job preferably in a hospital environment.

    one of the openings i had heard back from was this clinical support worker (CSW) apprenticeship program. it is a paid year of learning and training on the the job, aimed to prepare people for a permanent position as a CSW. everything about it seems really perfect for my needs, including the pay, duration and exposure to hospital work, but i had some reservations:

    1. it is stated there are multiple possible start dates, but theyre not specified anywhere. so if the earliest start is say October, and the program lasts 1 year, assuming im accepted into an A101, id have to leave before completion of the program.

    2. id be potentially taking the place of someone who might have a genuine interest in being a CSW as a permanent position.

    what are you guys thought on this? should i feel guilty about this and withdraw my application? or maybe just be transparent in the interview about my intentions and see how they react?

    I guess the wider problem is im having little luck finding a temporary position in a hospital, with a lot of seemingly entry-level positions requiring 6+ months of paid experience. have any of you guys been in a similar situation? any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    • Thread Starter

    sorry but probably shouldve clarified. i finished my phd last july and currently have nothing to do aside my volunteering activities, hence the desire for a temp job/placement for the next year and a bit.

    I guess it depends on your perspective in life but I would have the same concerns as you. It's clearly not a programme that is intended for your circumstances and you might well deny someone else an opportunity to begin a career in healthcare. To be honest, I suspect they would see straight through your application and I'd be surprised if you were appointed with a PhD. I think you would have to be very convincing (and almost certainly lie through your teeth!) to be selected.

    If you are going to have a gap year, I would work hard for as much of it as you have to and then spend some time overseas. Volunteer in an overseas healthcare setting if you must but take some development time for yourself before stepping onto the NHS treadmill.

    Have you thought about working as a hospital porter? Or a healthcare assistant? I spent some time as a porter and the doctors soon involved me (where possible) in things once they realised that I was applying to medical school. In general, you will find that there are more opportunities (people are friendlier, more creative, and possibly less busy...) in small general hospitals rather than a large "centre of excellence".

    I think applying to be an HCA or something would work out well, they're usually after them. If you're not planning on pursuing the Clinical Support Worker line of work then I think doing an apprenticeship does seem a little odd and would take the spot of somebody who would stay in that role for a long time. The people doing these jobs take them quite seriously and it's very different to what you'll encounter as a medic in terms of how they train you. Like CSWs might get trained how to take bloods but 'training' to take bloods is like a serious hardcore process of sign-offs, supervision and tick boxes. For reasons unknown even after all that you may get told you are only allowed to take blood from the arms and other seemingly pointless restrictions.
    Whereas as a medical student they show you how to do it on a plastic arm, you do it on each other and then they wave you goodbye to go and try it out for real. So IMO if somebody is doing an apprenticeship and learning these skills you should leave the spot to them because it's made into a very effortful thing.

    To be honest if I were you I'd do something outside of medicine and more enjoyable.

    However if you're determined to do healthcare related stuff then being an HCA is basically = being a care home worker, only in a hospital. So if you're not getting any openings there, working in a care home is always an opportunity ('cause it's super super hard work!) and would be an option to show you're working in a caring capacity for interviews or something. Ultimately it'll look more or less just as great on a medical applicant CV. Then you'd need work experience as well ideally.
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