Is graduate entry medicine (and becoming a doctor) an unrealistic goal?

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Asc999
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Hi all,

So I am a few months away from finishing my course and registering as a Paramedic, having worked for the Ambulance Service for a few years already.

As much as I enjoy my role, the challenges, autonomy and the nature of practicing as a doctor is where I'd really love to be.

But being in my mid-twenties, with a wife and (soon to be) 2 children, is this just a pipe dream?

I think my main concerns relate to relocation, which outside of my local Deanery (Wessex) would be very difficult, funding the course and time demands, my wife in particular is very worried that if I went down this path I would have no time at all for our family.

Is anyone able to provide some insight based on their own experiences as a junior doctor (especially with a family/in later life) or having studied GEM?
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DrSRH
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I am a 1st year GEM student with 2 children.

It is very doable although it is without a doubt a tricky balancing act. Pre-clinical GEM phase is very full on as it's condensed down to 18 months. The pace of learning is fast and you absolutely can't allow yourself to get behind.

I commute an hour+ each way to uni because we didn't want to move. Clinical phase might be a bit trickier as we'll be moving about on placements. So you are right to give this some serious consideration before taking the plunge!

Hope it all works out.
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pineappleexpres
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it's not unrealistic,YOU CAN DO IT
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JenniB22
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1. You're not too old. I'm on the grad course at Southampton, final year, aged 28. I am not the oldest, by some distance.
2. Re: funding, you will get almost full funding on a graduate course, depending on your wife's income, so that shouldn't be too difficult. You can also work part-time during pre-clinical and possibly also clinical years, as well as during holidays.
3. You will walk into a grad course with work experience like yours as long as you smash whichever aptitude test you go for.
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MusabKhan
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It's competitive but certainly not unrealistic lol.
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Asc999
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Thanks for the feedback, that’s invaluable to hear from someone in a similar position. After registering as a paramedic in a couple of months I’ll have two years to top-up my qualification to a BSc, complete the programme and portfolio new paramedics have to do and get the UKCAT done and the rest of what is need to apply for GEM, alongside working full time - I think that’ll will be a reasonable test for myself as to whether I’d be able to keep up.
(Original post by DrSRH)
I am a 1st year GEM student with 2 children.

It is very doable although it is without a doubt a tricky balancing act. Pre-clinical GEM phase is very full on as it's condensed down to 18 months. The pace of learning is fast and you absolutely can't allow yourself to get behind.

I commute an hour+ each way to uni because we didn't want to move. Clinical phase might be a bit trickier as we'll be moving about on placements. So you are right to give this some serious consideration before taking the plunge!

Hope it all works out.
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Asc999
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Southampton is where I’ll be aiming for, have you any advice or insight for getting on to the course?
(Original post by JenniB22)
1. You're not too old. I'm on the grad course at Southampton, final year, aged 28. I am not the oldest, by some distance.
2. Re: funding, you will get almost full funding on a graduate course, depending on your wife's income, so that shouldn't be too difficult. You can also work part-time during pre-clinical and possibly also clinical years, as well as during holidays.
3. You will walk into a grad course with work experience like yours as long as you smash whichever aptitude test you go for.
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JenniB22
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(Original post by Asc999)
Southampton is where I’ll be aiming for, have you any advice or insight for getting on to the course?
As long as you fulfil the basic entry requirements (2.1 in any degree, C in A level chemistry) it’s all about getting a good ukcat score, as that’s what they use to decide on who gets interviewed. At interview it’s pretty standard medicine stuff, they’ll love your work experience but I would also recommend doing some kind of shadowing in a hospital so you can talk about the role of the doctor as opposed to the paramedic. Can you make friends with someone in an ED and shadow them? Not sure where you work but I’ve found that the consultants in Bournemouth, Dorchester and Basingstoke were very friendly and I’m sure would be willing to help. You could do a few weekend shifts and that would be helpful.
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Asc999
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I’m working on the observer shifts currently, even outside of GEM I feel they’d benefit my clinical practice, but there seems to be a lot of barriers to it at the hospital I work alongside. Thanks for the advice.
(Original post by JenniB22)
As long as you fulfil the basic entry requirements (2.1 in any degree, C in A level chemistry) it’s all about getting a good ukcat score, as that’s what they use to decide on who gets interviewed. At interview it’s pretty standard medicine stuff, they’ll love your work experience but I would also recommend doing some kind of shadowing in a hospital so you can talk about the role of the doctor as opposed to the paramedic. Can you make friends with someone in an ED and shadow them? Not sure where you work but I’ve found that the consultants in Bournemouth, Dorchester and Basingstoke were very friendly and I’m sure would be willing to help. You could do a few weekend shifts and that would be helpful.
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Etomidate
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If one of your main concerns is relocation, keep in mind that throughout your training as a doctor, you will be expected to move sometimes vast distances on a regular basis, essentially up until you're a consultant. Although the time of relocation is relatively predictable, you often won't know where until a few weeks notice.
Last edited by Etomidate; 1 year ago
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Asc999
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Yeah this is something I need to find out more about. It was my understanding that once you secure a place with a Deanery you then will typically stay with them and relocate within their district, unless you’re really set on a specific speciality that will take you elsewhere?
(Original post by Etomidate)
If one of your main concerns is relocation, keep in mind that throughout your training as a doctor, you will be expected to move sometimes vast distances on a regular basis, essentially up until you're a consultant. Although the time of relocation is relatively predictable, you often won't know where until a few weeks notice.
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Etomidate
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(Original post by Asc999)
Yeah this is something I need to find out more about. It was my understanding that once you secure a place with a Deanery you then will typically stay with them and relocate within their district, unless you’re really set on a specific speciality that will take you elsewhere?
You're required to rank deaneries on a competitive basis at multiple points throughout your training, so depending on where you rank and how competitive your application is, you may or may not get your top choice(s). Then in many circumstances, the areas the deaneries themselves cover can be vast and that can be the end of your say in the matter.

For example, even though I'll be staying within the same deanery next year, I could still potentially be placed in a hospital that is 2.5hrs away.
Last edited by Etomidate; 1 year ago
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