Anonymous #1
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What things should I definitely do during med school, and which ones can I get away with not doing?

I'm starting graduate-entry medicine in September and want to 1) maximise my experience for future employability and 2) dedicate as much time as I can to non-medicine related activities.

What I mean by this is that I am aware that "just" passing my exams and graduating isn't enough; I know things like publishing papers, among others, will objectively affect my application for Foundation posts.

Some reading this will think a good doctor will WANT to do these things JUST BECAUSE, but the reality is that I have a number of responsibilities outside of school and while I most certainly don't want to be a mediocre doctor, I have no capacity (nor desire) to let medicine take over my life.

I was hoping those of you further along the path could help me figure out which activities are essential, which are advised, which are entirely optional/really don't matter for career prospects (other than offering networking opportunities) etc..

For example:

Publishing papers: in my understanding, highly advisable - increases FP application score - but not 100% essential. (Am I wrong? Is it essential?)

What about teaching peers or years below? I can see how this would be a beneficial way of revising a subject, but does it actually have extrinsic value? Does the university or a future career gatekeeper reward this in some way?

What about...

  • joining societies? (e.g. surgical, clinical skills societies)
  • being the president/secretary/etc. of a society?
  • playing a sport?
  • volunteering? (at the university)
  • writing for the medical school's blog/magazine/whatever?
  • writing opinion pieces? (e.g. for the BMJ)
  • attending conferences?
  • doing one's elective abroad?
  • "making a name" for oneself by blogging, YouTubing, Instagramming etc. about medicine?

Thank you very much if you read it to the end! I look forward to hearing some views on this and hope it helps other time-poor students out there.
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junior.doctor
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Doing an elective abroad is not remotely necessary, and won’t give you any more points on anything than doing a decent elective in the UK. There are plenty of UK elective opportunities, and you can do something worthwhile and have a great time. However that said, doing an elective abroad is brilliant. You won’t be able to do something like that, with that amount of time, so easily again, unless you take an F3 etc. If you have financial / family / caring constraints then absolutely fine. But otherwise, do think carefully about an elective abroad - not because of any points or objective career gains, but for the overall life experience. Mine was by far the highlight of my medical school experience.
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nexttime
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(Original post by Anonymous)
What things should I definitely do during med school, and which ones can I get away with not doing?

I'm starting graduate-entry medicine in September and want to 1) maximise my experience for future employability and 2) dedicate as much time as I can to non-medicine related activities.

What I mean by this is that I am aware that "just" passing my exams and graduating isn't enough; I know things like publishing papers, among others, will objectively affect my application for Foundation posts.

Some reading this will think a good doctor will WANT to do these things JUST BECAUSE, but the reality is that I have a number of responsibilities outside of school and while I most certainly don't want to be a mediocre doctor, I have no capacity (nor desire) to let medicine take over my life.

I was hoping those of you further along the path could help me figure out which activities are essential, which are advised, which are entirely optional/really don't matter for career prospects (other than offering networking opportunities) etc..

For example:

Publishing papers: in my understanding, highly advisable - increases FP application score - but not 100% essential. (Am I wrong? Is it essential?)

What about teaching peers or years below? I can see how this would be a beneficial way of revising a subject, but does it actually have extrinsic value? Does the university or a future career gatekeeper reward this in some way?

What about...

  • joining societies? (e.g. surgical, clinical skills societies)
  • being the president/secretary/etc. of a society?
  • playing a sport?
  • volunteering? (at the university)
  • writing for the medical school's blog/magazine/whatever?
  • writing opinion pieces? (e.g. for the BMJ)
  • attending conferences?
  • doing one's elective abroad?
  • "making a name" for oneself by blogging, YouTubing, Instagramming etc. about medicine?

Thank you very much if you read it to the end! I look forward to hearing some views on this and hope it helps other time-poor students out there.
Problem is that a lot of this stuff might be useful later on. For FY applications the criteria are pretty rigid and it basically comes down to decile in yeargroup and SJT, but after that having say a publication is super super useful. I'd suggest having a look at the scoring criteria/person spec for a few different speciality recruitment sites. For example IMT https://www.imtrecruitment.org.uk/re...cation-scoring, bearing in mind these are subject to change.

To break down your list
Publishing papers - yes very useful
joining societies? (e.g. surgical, clinical skills societies) - just joining probably not much inherent value, but might lead to publications/courses etc.
being the president/secretary/etc. of a society? - useful 'tick box' for leadership/teamwork criteria
playing a sport? - can 'tick box' teamwork, though definitely not necessary
volunteering? (at the university) - might tick some criteria, might put the interviewers subjectively on your side if they notice it, most people don't do it.
writing for the medical school's blog/magazine/whatever? - looks good, might not score any points though
writing opinion pieces? (e.g. for the BMJ) - Looks good, might not score any points though
attending conferences? - 'tick box' for commitment to speciality.
doing one's elective abroad? - no particular benefit.
"making a name" for oneself by blogging, YouTubing, Instagramming etc. about medicine? - might look good I suppose?
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sphinxfaceplate
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Thank you very much, junior.doctor and nexttime, for sharing your views. I'm the original poster, but the thread got moved and I can no longer reply to it as anonymously as the thread starter.

(Original post by junior.doctor)
Doing an elective abroad is not remotely necessary, and won’t give you any more points on anything than doing a decent elective in the UK. There are plenty of UK elective opportunities, and you can do something worthwhile and have a great time. However that said, doing an elective abroad is brilliant. You won’t be able to do something like that, with that amount of time, so easily again, unless you take an F3 etc. If you have financial / family / caring constraints then absolutely fine. But otherwise, do think carefully about an elective abroad - not because of any points or objective career gains, but for the overall life experience. Mine was by far the highlight of my medical school experience.
This is a very helpful perspective. I will start planning for it as early as I can so I can hopefully make it happen.

(Original post by nexttime)
Problem is that a lot of this stuff might be useful later on. For FY applications the criteria are pretty rigid and it basically comes down to decile in yeargroup and SJT, but after that having say a publication is super super useful. I'd suggest having a look at the scoring criteria/person spec for a few different speciality recruitment sites.
Yes, that's what I feared! I read something here on TSR the other day about things that look good on a CV and started to get concerned about all those little extras that won't matter too much for foundation, but could come back to bite me later on if neglected.

Thanks for the link, it helps a lot.

(Original post by nexttime)
Publishing papers - yes very useful
joining societies? (e.g. surgical, clinical skills societies) - just joining probably not much inherent value, but might lead to publications/courses etc.
being the president/secretary/etc. of a society? - useful 'tick box' for leadership/teamwork criteria
playing a sport? - can 'tick box' teamwork, though definitely not necessary
volunteering? (at the university) - might tick some criteria, might put the interviewers subjectively on your side if they notice it, most people don't do it.
writing for the medical school's blog/magazine/whatever? - looks good, might not score any points though
writing opinion pieces? (e.g. for the BMJ) - Looks good, might not score any points though
attending conferences? - 'tick box' for commitment to speciality.
doing one's elective abroad? - no particular benefit.
"making a name" for oneself by blogging, YouTubing, Instagramming etc. about medicine? - might look good I suppose?
A huge thank you for taking the time to break it down - this is exactly what I was hoping for. It does seem like a pretty herculean challenge to come out of med school with all the ticked boxes and "looks good" badges while keeping dependents and self alive and thriving 😰 But planning ahead will definitely help me approach these things as strategically as possible.

Thanks again.
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