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    Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone knew roughly how much and what kind of experience universities look for when considering you for a placement at a medical school! I have just started working at a pharmacy and I volunteer for a charity, I have tried to get a permanent shadowing placement at my doctor's surgery however I don't think they offer that opportunity, Is this enough experience if I carry on for 6 months or do I need anything else?
    Thank you
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone knew roughly how much and what kind of experience universities look for when considering you for a placement at a medical school! I have just started working at a pharmacy and I volunteer for a charity, I have tried to get a permanent shadowing placement at my doctor's surgery however I don't think they offer that opportunity, Is this enough experience if I carry on for 6 months or do I need anything else?
    Thank you
    You need to show that you have a basic idea of what being a doctor is like. Really the best place to get this sort of experience is in a GP surgery or hospital. Have you looked into hospital work experiences placements?

    Medical work experience is difficult to organse: you need to apply far and wide, and you need to keep chasing people up to get answers. If you only stick to your local GP practice, chances are they might not be able to help.
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    You need to show that you have a basic idea of what being a doctor is like. Really the best place to get this sort of experience is in a GP surgery or hospital. Have you looked into hospital work experiences placements?

    Medical work experience is difficult to organse: you need to apply far and wide, and you need to keep chasing people up to get answers. If you only stick to your local GP practice, chances are they might not be able to help.
    I have done 2 days of experience at hospitals but I can't find anything permanent
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    I have done 2 days of experience at hospitals but I can't find anything permanent
    Two days can be enough, the quality of the experience and how you reflect on it is much more important than the quantity. Did you feel like you got an appreciation of what working as a doctor is like during those two days? Did you see what personal and professional qualities are important for doctors to have? Did the experience help confirm that medicine is still something you'd be interested in doing?

    You can continue to apply for more hospital placements as that'll give you a wider range of experiences, but depending on how you manage to write about it in your personal statement, two days isn't necessarily too little if you managed to get a lot out of those two days.
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    Two days can be enough, the quality of the experience and how you reflect on it is much more important than the quantity. Did you feel like you got an appreciation of what working as a doctor is like during those two days? Did you see what personal and professional qualities are important for doctors to have? Did the experience help confirm that medicine is still something you'd be interested in doing?

    You can continue to apply for more hospital placements as that'll give you a wider range of experiences, but depending on how you manage to write about it in your personal statement, two days isn't necessarily too little if you managed to get a lot out of those two days.
    I really enjoyed my placement and it helped me get a good insight into what it requires to be a doctor, however I was told by an older friend that universities prioritise people who have had a few months experience at a doctors surgery or hospital, how true is that?
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    I really enjoyed my placement and it helped me get a good insight into what it requires to be a doctor, however I was told by an older friend that universities prioritise people who have had a few months experience at a doctors surgery or hospital, how true is that?
    I know of only one medical school that specifies a minumum amount of work experience which you need to have - and it's for a graduate entry programme anyway. Generally speaking, the quality of your experience matters much more than the amount of time you did.

    Arranging months and months of GP or hospital work experience (as opposed to volunteering in other settings) would be quite challenging for most people. What kind of charity are you volunteering for and in what capacity? It would be much easier to arrange long term voltuneering in a care home or nursing home compared to long term work shadowing, and it would still give you a lot of insights into what it's like to work in healthcare.

    There's some useful information here, particularly under guidelines:

    http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Students...xperience.aspx
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    I know of only one medical school that specifies a minumum amount of work experience which you need to have - and it's for a graduate entry programme anyway. Generally speaking, the quality of your experience matters much more than the amount of time you did.

    Arranging months and months of GP or hospital work experience (as opposed to volunteering in other settings) would be quite challenging for most people. What kind of charity are you volunteering for and in what capacity? It would be much easier to arrange long term voltuneering in a care home or nursing home compared to long term work shadowing, and it would still give you a lot of insights into what it's like to work in healthcare.

    There's some useful information here, particularly under guidelines:

    http://www.medschools.ac.uk/Students...xperience.aspx
    Thank you that site is really helpful! & im working for the British heart foundation just volunteering in their stores, so you're saying that I don't necessarily need a long term placement anywhere? also will working at a pharmacy not be equivalent to working in a medical environment?
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    Thank you that site is really helpful! & im working for the British heart foundation just volunteering in their stores, so you're saying that I don't necessarily need a long term placement anywhere? also will working at a pharmacy not be equivalent to working in a medical environment?
    Everything you're doing has to answer the question "how does this help convince me that I want to go to medical school and be a doctor?"

    So over to you, how does volunteering in a BHF shop help convince you that you want to be a doctor? Or working in a pharmacy?

    They're both fine things to be doing, but if you ask me, the applicant who's volunteering in a home helping old people with their care and making tea will probably have more to talk about and reflect on as their volunteering role will have more in common with what being a med student is like compared to working in a shop.

    You don't need a long term shadowing placement in a hospital, but long term volunteering e.g. in a care home or hospice is much more easily arranged and could be more reasonably expected.


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    (Original post by Democracy)
    Everything you're doing has to answer the question "how does this help convince me that I want to go to medical school and be a doctor?"

    So over to you, how does volunteering in a BHF shop help convince you that you want to be a doctor? Or working in a pharmacy?

    They're both fine things to be doing, but if you ask me, the applicant who's volunteering in a home helping old people with their care and making tea will probably have more to talk about and reflect on as their volunteering role will have more in common with what being a med student is like compared to working in a shop.

    You don't need a long term shadowing placement in a hospital, but long term volunteering e.g. in a care home or hospice is much more easily arranged and could be more reasonably expected.


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    To be honest it's hard to answer that question using the volunteering I'm doing, I'm going to have to carry on at the BHF shop as I need 50 hours of volunteering for my case hours, but idk about the pharmacy I mean I get to distribute medicine, and learn about which medicines are for prescribed for which illnesses and I also get to communicate with patients coming in to get their medicine and answer their questions so I guess there is something there to start me off. I feel like I can write a lot from my 2 days at the hospital though those were very helpful, I might apply for more placements and also look into working in a care home
    Will I write about all of this in my personal statement?
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    Medical schools are more interested in what you have learnt from your work experience rather than the actual work experience.
    Personally, I volunteered for 6 months at a dementia care home, worked in admin at a GP surgery for a month, did a couple of days with a community nursing team, taught dance to young children for about 3 years and am a prefect at school


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    (Original post by issyd10)
    Medical schools are more interested in what you have learnt from your work experience rather than the actual work experience.
    Personally, I volunteered for 6 months at a dementia care home, worked in admin at a GP surgery for a month, did a couple of days with a community nursing team, taught dance to young children for about 3 years and am a prefect at school


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    What kind of work did you do at the care home? I'm looking at shadowing at a GP surgery hopefully I'll find somewhere, also my school are offering an opportunity to go to primary schools and help teach young children I was thinking of taking it as I want to be a paediatrician
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    To be honest it's hard to answer that question using the volunteering I'm doing
    So don't mention it :p: Start a more relevant experience. You're right, working in a charity shop really doesn't offer much in the way of personal care experience.

    I'm going to have to carry on at the BHF shop as I need 50 hours of volunteering for my case hours, but idk about the pharmacy I mean I get to distribute medicine, and learn about which medicines are for prescribed for which illnesses and I also get to communicate with patients coming in to get their medicine and answer their questions so I guess there is something there to start me off. I feel like I can write a lot from my 2 days at the hospital though those were very helpful, I might apply for more placements and also look into working in a care home
    Will I write about all of this in my personal statement?
    Yeah, I mean the pharmacy job is a good thing anyway (it's probably nicer than working in retail!), so it's not like you have to leave or anything. You can carry on both the pharmacy and BHF, not everything you do in life has to be geared towards your med school application. But in my opinion, a longer term volunteering experience in a setting which allows you to demonstrate you have an idea of what personal care for sick/vulnerable people involves (at least for a few weeks) is a good thing to also have.
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    What kind of work did you do at the care home? I'm looking at shadowing at a GP surgery hopefully I'll find somewhere, also my school are offering an opportunity to go to primary schools and help teach young children I was thinking of taking it as I want to be a paediatrician
    I helped the activities coordinators and so we did painting and pottery and singing

    Teaching sounds good as it takes a degree of skill and shows your ability to communicate often complicated information in a simple way

    If I were you I would also make sure you have a hobby to show you are interesting and well-rounded and not just a robot who wants to do medicine



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    (Original post by issyd10)
    I helped the activities coordinators and so we did painting and pottery and singing

    Teaching sounds good as it takes a degree of skill and shows your ability to communicate often complicated information in a simple way

    If I were you I would also make sure you have a hobby to show you are interesting and well-rounded and not just a robot who wants to do medicine



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    I hope I find a permanent placement somewhere it's just so hard in small towns where there's not as many opportunities, makes me miss London haha
    I do a lot of art and sport so I could write about that
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    So don't mention it :p: Start a more relevant experience. You're right, working in a charity shop really doesn't offer much in the way of personal care experience.



    Yeah, I mean the pharmacy job is a good thing anyway (it's probably nicer than working in retail!), so it's not like you have to leave or anything. You can carry on both the pharmacy and BHF, not everything you do in life has to be geared towards your med school application. But in my opinion, a longer term volunteering experience in a setting which allows you to demonstrate you have an idea of what personal care for sick/vulnerable people involves (at least for a few weeks) is a good thing to also have.
    My pharmacy job is unpaid 😂 I have a separate job in a make up store, I just thought being a pharmacist's assistant would be beneficial, I think I'm going to look for a long term placement at a care home I just didn't think it would benefit me because I either want to be a paediatrician or a cosmetics surgeon lmao
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    My pharmacy job is unpaid 😂 I have a separate job in a make up store, I just thought being a pharmacist's assistant would be beneficial, I think I'm going to look for a long term placement at a care home I just didn't think it would benefit me because I either want to be a paediatrician or a cosmetics surgeon lmao
    Before you head off to Harley Street, you'll have to spend at least 15 years studying and working in very standard NHS hospitals, taking care of, and communicating with confused old people or people with learning disabilities or neurological impairments - in other words, people who quite often live in nursing or care homes. It would be useful to be able to be able to demonstrate that you have some experience of what that's like and that you think it's something you would be suited to doing.

    Why cosmetic surgery or paediatrics? (They are very, very different to eachother )
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    Before you head off to Harley Street, you'll have to spend at least 15 years studying and working in very standard NHS hospitals, taking care of, and communicating with confused old people or people with learning disabilities or neurological impairments - in other words, people who quite often live in nursing or care homes. It would be useful to be able to be able to demonstrate that you have some experience of what that's like and that you think it's something you would be suited to doing.

    Why cosmetic surgery or paediatrics? (They are very, very different to eachother )
    Yeah I know I'll have to do work in nhs hospitals but I just assumed that they'd want me to do relevant work experience to what I wanted to specialise in, so I've applied to help teach at primary schools if I go for paediatrics that would be useful and idk how I'd gain relevant experience for cosmetic surgery at my age tbh

    Haha it is quite an odd set of options but I love working with children and I've also just had a huge interest for medicine since I was young so it made sense. Also cosmetic surgery is something I've only started looking into since last year, I mean I feel like I'd be really suited to it, ive always been interested in surgery and it just really appeals to me probably because i myself would love to undergo a few treatments and idk it stands out to me a lot!
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    (Original post by _princessxox)
    Yeah I know I'll have to do work in nhs hospitals but I just assumed that they'd want me to do relevant work experience to what I wanted to specialise in, so I've applied to help teach at primary schools if I go for paediatrics that would be useful and idk how I'd gain relevant experience for cosmetic surgery at my age tbh

    Haha it is quite an odd set of options but I love working with children and I've also just had a huge interest for medicine since I was young so it made sense. Also cosmetic surgery is something I've only started looking into since last year, I mean I feel like I'd be really suited to it, ive always been interested in surgery and it just really appeals to me probably because i myself would love to undergo a few treatments and idk it stands out to me a lot!
    Medical schools aren't really interested in work experience that is relevant to the field you want to go into because you may change your mind and the medical school simply trains doctors not specialists
    I think it is very short sighted to only do stuff relevant to the career that is most appealing to you at the moment- you need to show you are well-rounded with your medical experience and taking on some non-medical work experience


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    (Original post by issyd10)
    Medical schools aren't really interested in work experience that is relevant to the field you want to go into because you may change your mind and the medical school simply trains doctors not specialists
    I think it is very short sighted to only do stuff relevant to the career that is most appealing to you at the moment- you need to show you are well-rounded with your medical experience and taking on some non-medical work experience


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    I think I've got a good amount of non medical work experience but I just wanted to have a range of relevant experience to stand out I guess but idk it's hard to find long term placements at the places I'd prefer to work at


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