Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Would a science placement year count as experience for grad entry medicine Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi,

    I currently study pharmacology and am on a placement year in a clinical/medical laboratory, we mainly make stem cell transplants for patients with blood cancer.

    I know it's not a caring role, but do you think Universities would count this as experience?

    And what do people think to all biology related placements? Would you class all of them as experience?
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sam2192)
    Hi,

    I currently study pharmacology and am on a placement year in a clinical/medical laboratory, we mainly make stem cell transplants for patients with blood cancer.

    I know it's not a caring role, but do you think Universities would count this as experience?

    And what do people think to all biology related placements? Would you class all of them as experience?
    I didn't do GEM, but I would have thought it would definitely count as experience but wouldn't be useful as a replacement for actual experience working with vulnerable people?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Neostigmine)
    I didn't do GEM, but I would have thought it would definitely count as experience but wouldn't be useful as a replacement for actual experience working with vulnerable people?
    I volunteered at a hospital in physiotherapy with stroke victims for 8 months but had to give it up for placement, and 6 weeks shadowing at a physio clinic before that. I just don't think these 2 things alone are enough for grad entry.

    I think my argument would be with placement I'm saving lives, and I experience the other side of things from a scientist perspective, but I think med students are the best to ask for this
    .
    Thanks for your help
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sam2192)
    I volunteered at a hospital in physiotherapy with stroke victims for 8 months but had to give it up for placement, and 6 weeks shadowing at a physio clinic before that. I just don't think these 2 things alone are enough for grad entry.

    I think my argument would be with placement I'm saving lives, and I experience the other side of things from a scientist perspective, but I think med students are the best to ask for this
    .
    Thanks for your help
    That's fine, lab placements are good so long as you relate them to medicine, but you also need experience in a more caring environment. You have both.
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sam2192)
    I volunteered at a hospital in physiotherapy with stroke victims for 8 months but had to give it up for placement, and 6 weeks shadowing at a physio clinic before that. I just don't think these 2 things alone are enough for grad entry.

    I think my argument would be with placement I'm saving lives, and I experience the other side of things from a scientist perspective, but I think med students are the best to ask for this
    .
    Thanks for your help
    I am a med student, just not grad

    I think the poster above seems to agree that it's a good experience, but not a substitute for a caring role. But as you've said you have that too. As long as it is all reflected upon in your PS/Interview and related to how it makes you a better applicant it looks like you're good to go.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    the purpose of experience when applying for medicine is to show that you understand the role of a doctor. So what have you learnt from being in a laboratory about that, I'd say very little as you're asking this question. Of course if your aim is to stay in academic medicine then lab work has some relevance.

    The amount of time you spend caring for others is only relevant in showing commitment to medicine. You've done long enough.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    As a grad they want to see life expereince too... Whether that be medically related or not. That placement sounds perfect to be honest, any experience is good, as it also helps you gain employment of you dont get into medicine - Which is what a lot of people have to do
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by parentlurker)
    the purpose of experience when applying for medicine is to show that you understand the role of a doctor. So what have you learnt from being in a laboratory about that, I'd say very little as you're asking this question. Of course if your aim is to stay in academic medicine then lab work has some relevance.

    The amount of time you spend caring for others is only relevant in showing commitment to medicine. You've done long enough.
    Although knowing the role of a doctor is crucial, I wouldn't say it is the sole purpose of work experience.

    You should also be able to illustrate your understanding of the healthcare system as a whole; the multidisciplinary teams, issues surrounding the NHS etc.
    One of the important aspects is knowledge of other roles in healthcare, such as nurses and pharmacists but also clinical scientists.

    Laboratory work, particularly with a clinical focus, could be quite relevant and not only to academic medicine as it would evidence some of the qualities required; teamwork, broader understanding of the NHS system.

    I would certainly mention it but only if you reflect on it appropriately and have other, more caring roles, you can draw from as well.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Do you have any direct shadowing/observation experience of doctors in a hospital rather than AHPs? That's the only thing I can think of that might be considered missing.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zorg)
    Although knowing the role of a doctor is crucial, I wouldn't say it is the sole purpose of work experience.

    You should also be able to illustrate your understanding of the healthcare system as a whole; the multidisciplinary teams, issues surrounding the NHS etc.
    One of the important aspects is knowledge of other roles in healthcare, such as nurses and pharmacists but also clinical scientists.

    Laboratory work, particularly with a clinical focus, could be quite relevant and not only to academic medicine as it would evidence some of the qualities required; teamwork, broader understanding of the NHS system.

    I would certainly mention it but only if you reflect on it appropriately and have other, more caring roles, you can draw from as well.
    The role of a doctor includes working as part of a team and knowing when to use other NHS resources, if the OP truly understood the role they wouldn't need that spelt out. You have a point about possibly getting a broader understanding of the system but they need to focus on what they have seen and learnt about doctors. The voluntary work is more useful but they should be using their contacts in the hospital to get a few days shadowing a doctor.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by parentlurker)
    The role of a doctor includes working as part of a team and knowing when to use other NHS resources, if the OP truly understood the role they wouldn't need that spelt out. You have a point about possibly getting a broader understanding of the system but they need to focus on what they have seen and learnt about doctors. The voluntary work is more useful but they should be using their contacts in the hospital to get a few days shadowing a doctor.
    Regardless of the OP's understanding of the role, your post could easily be misconstrued to mean that understanding the role of a doctor is the only aspect you need to take away from work experience.

    Understanding teamwork etc is no substitute for being able to illustrate your ability to work in a team. Hence the experience in a clinical lab would be very useful and I certainly wouldn't discount it quite so quickly.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by parentlurker)
    The role of a doctor includes working as part of a team and knowing when to use other NHS resources, if the OP truly understood the role they wouldn't need that spelt out. You have a point about possibly getting a broader understanding of the system but they need to focus on what they have seen and learnt about doctors. The voluntary work is more useful but they should be using their contacts in the hospital to get a few days shadowing a doctor.
    I asked the question because I have searched everywhere and there isn't an answer online for this, so I though med students/grads would be best to ask, and it gives other people wondering an answer.

    You can relate the lab work to being similar to a doctor in that if I were to make a mistake etc then lives are at risk, its been quite helpful having people ask questions like this, prepares me for interview should I get any

    And I kind of agree I'm missing something in experience, for me it currently looks like:
    6 weeks at Physio clinic
    8 months volunteering with stroke victims in hospital (hopefully can pick up again September, but not guaranteed)
    1 year lab placement

    To me it looks like something is missing to compete for grad entry medicine, but quite a few people think it is ok. Shadowing is the obvious choice, but is so much easier said than done
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sam2192)
    I asked the question because I have searched everywhere and there isn't an answer online for this, so I though med students/grads would be best to ask, and it gives other people wondering an answer.

    You can relate the lab work to being similar to a doctor in that if I were to make a mistake etc then lives are at risk, its been quite helpful having people ask questions like this, prepares me for interview should I get any

    And I kind of agree I'm missing something in experience, for me it currently looks like:
    6 weeks at Physio clinic
    8 months volunteering with stroke victims in hospital (hopefully can pick up again September, but not guaranteed)
    1 year lab placement

    To me it looks like something is missing to compete for grad entry medicine, but quite a few people think it is ok. Shadowing is the obvious choice, but is so much easier said than done

    That's a biiiiit cliche in my opinion. All that has shown you is "don't make mistakes". I guess you could talk about pressure but it is still a weak link. Taxi drivers have lives in their hands when driving you to the airport at 70mph if you think about it but that doesn't make them better medical students/doctors.

    Did you work in team? Did you communicate with other staff or patients? Were there confidentiality issues to work with etc etc.



    The stroke victims placement sounds like an amazing experience with a lot to talk about. Just because you weren't traipsing after a doctor... .you must have seen them at work there?
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zorg)
    Regardless of the OP's understanding of the role, your post could easily be misconstrued to mean that understanding the role of a doctor is the only aspect you need to take away from work experience.

    Understanding teamwork etc is no substitute for being able to illustrate your ability to work in a team. Hence the experience in a clinical lab would be very useful and I certainly wouldn't discount it quite so quickly.
    When you are looking at thousands of applicants for medical school the first thing you want to know is that they survive the course so that the considerable investment in training them is not wasted. If they don't understand what they are letting themselves in for they may not survive the course or choose to continue as a doctor. It's a long, hard training and working as part of a team doesn't always make up a big part of the training.

    The role of a doctor is set out here http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/good_...f_a_doctor.asp and the OP should be going through what they have done and looking to see how they can relate it to the guidance.
    However when the interviewer asks, as many will, describe an occasion when you saw a doctor do ... or demonstrate .... lab work generally isn't going to be much use.

    OP you are based in a hospital. If you can't find a doctor prepared to let you follow them it would make me, if I was interviewing you, seriously doubt your ability to make a good doctor. Students with no contacts manage it so it would suggest lack of initiative and determination.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by parentlurker)
    When you are looking at thousands of applicants for medical school the first thing you want to know is that they survive the course so that the considerable investment in training them is not wasted. If they don't understand what they are letting themselves in for they may not survive the course or choose to continue as a doctor. It's a long, hard training and working as part of a team doesn't always make up a big part of the training.

    The role of a doctor is set out here http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/good_...f_a_doctor.asp and the OP should be going through what they have done and looking to see how they can relate it to the guidance.
    However when the interviewer asks, as many will, describe an occasion when you saw a doctor do ... or demonstrate .... lab work generally isn't going to be much use.

    OP you are based in a hospital. If you can't find a doctor prepared to let you follow them it would make me, if I was interviewing you, seriously doubt your ability to make a good doctor. Students with no contacts manage it so it would suggest lack of initiative and determination.
    So you're maintaining that only clinical experience is relevant and should be included in a PS?

    Here is a quote from WMS' PS guide from previous years. This is no longer available from WMS, as the PS will not form as large a part of selection, though some digging resulted in forum posts quoting this.

    Personal Statement
    Warwick's 5 requirements that were scored on PSs previously.

    "Warwick seeks motivated students who possess the ability, willingness and commitment to academic and personal growth"
    (you obviously needed to convey this in your PS implicitly)

    1. Your motivation for studying medicine at this stage in your career.
    2. Your experience of and capability for team work.
    3. Your activities, interests and life outside of work or university.
    4. An understanding of medicine and what it means to be a doctor.
    5. Hands-on personal care (not of a relative).
    You are assuming that every medical applicant and student has clinical shadowing. This is not the case. Though you should certainly try your utmost to get it, it's not always achievable and medical schools appreciate this. I have heard this from several admissions tutors themselves.
    Finally, I would be very surprised if you were asked to describe a scenario with a doctor when the purpose of an interview is to evidence your ability and qualities; not what you saw.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Neostigmine)
    The stroke victims placement sounds like an amazing experience with a lot to talk about. Just because you weren't traipsing after a doctor... .you must have seen them at work there?
    Ye stoke victims work was great, really rewarding afterwards, I only really saw Doctors when I was bringing patients to a separate room where we'd work with them, the reason I've not really had chance to sort the shadowing is because of clashes with my course and when I finished 2nd year I immediately began my placement, if I'm able to go back there I would, I did meet a few 5th year med students right at the end of their course who were getting experience as well as there course required it.

    And yeah on placement I worked with medical confidentiality with patient history and how strict the criteria is for blood transplants/transfusions.

    When I read the medical applicants thread, all the successful ones seem to have that extra bit of experience than I do. At the physio clinic I was there from start to finish in the day so I saw all aspects of the job such as following up on patients each week to see how treatment is going. Whether that is an appropriate substitute for shadowing a doctor I really can't say until I've experienced both though.
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by sam2192)
    Ye stoke victims work was great, really rewarding afterwards, I only really saw Doctors when I was bringing patients to a separate room where we'd work with them, the reason I've not really had chance to sort the shadowing is because of clashes with my course and when I finished 2nd year I immediately began my placement, if I'm able to go back there I would, I did meet a few 5th year med students right at the end of their course who were getting experience as well as there course required it.

    And yeah on placement I worked with medical confidentiality with patient history and how strict the criteria is for blood transplants/transfusions.

    When I read the medical applicants thread, all the successful ones seem to have that extra bit of experience than I do. At the physio clinic I was there from start to finish in the day so I saw all aspects of the job such as following up on patients each week to see how treatment is going. Whether that is an appropriate substitute for shadowing a doctor I really can't say until I've experienced both though.

    You absolutely do not need specific doctor shadowing. As long as you can reflect on your experiences and show you're a better applicant from that, then that is perfectly fine.

    That sounds like a perfect experience. I bet you could draw an entire PS from that. Working with vulnerable people is the key point. Not following doctors around
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Zorg)
    So you're maintaining that only clinical experience is relevant and should be included in a PS?

    Here is a quote from WMS' PS guide from previous years. This is no longer available from WMS, as the PS will not form as large a part of selection, though some digging resulted in forum posts quoting this.



    You are assuming that every medical applicant and student has clinical shadowing. This is not the case. Though you should certainly try your utmost to get it, it's not always achievable and medical schools appreciate this. I have heard this from several admissions tutors themselves.
    Finally, I would be very surprised if you were asked to describe a scenario with a doctor when the purpose of an interview is to evidence your ability and qualities; not what you saw.
    You are being obtuse, I suspect deliberately. Of course it isn't always possible for a student to obtain clinical shadowing but most of the successful applicants manage it. Admission tutors will cut some slack for applicants who may have particular reasons for finding this difficult but someone working in a hospital should be able to obtain some clinical experience and failure to do so would make you wonder why they had not done it.

    Your "surprise" at the questions posed by admission tutors is an indication that your knowledge of the admission process is more limited than you think. It's a way of exploring what you know about the role of a doctor and what qualities you consider most important. Those who haven't been able to obtain shadowing experience could, for example, describe an occasion when they or one of their family were a patient and what they observed of the interaction between doctor and patient. If you have managed to get through 21 years without ever observing a patient doctor interaction you are a very unusual person and one would wonder why you were opting to study medicine.

    OP Shadowing a doctor allows a wider range of interactions to be observed and more to be learnt about the job and about yourself. As an example of that you may observe how long doctors can be in an operating theatre and your own reaction to watching surgery, how a doctor deals with criticism or mistakes and/or how you tell someone their diagnosis is terminal. It's possible to demonstrate understanding of the role and possession of qualities that will make for a good doctor without that experience, and the experience with stroke patients is certainly useful, but it's considerably easier with some shadowing experience. There is some excellent advice in the wiki on this site on how to obtain such experience.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.