Tentac
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#1
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#1
Hello,
I'm applying for medicine in the UK and I have gotten two interviews in the coming month. My concern is about my beard I have a 3 inch long beard and I'm concerned it's going to affect my chances of entry. I am keeping well trimmed so it isn't looking unkempt. I have my beard for religious reasons so shaving isn't an option and to top that I'm a heavily accented middle Eastern man so I'm quite worried. What advice would you give me? Should I contact the uni and ask or should I just shut up about it and pray for the best. Thank you all for any advice you can give.
Last edited by Tentac; 3 weeks ago
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Anonymous #1
#2
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Have you ever been in a hospital or doctors surgery setting? People from all ethnics backgrounds are present and cultural and religious nuances show through naturally- ensure you are tidy and are polite and have a smile, that’s all they care about. Ensure to ask about how their day has been etc…
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Reality Check
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#3
Report 3 weeks ago
#3
(Original post by Tentac)
Hello,
I'm applying for medicine in the UK and I have gotten two interviews in the coming month. My concern is about my beard I have a 3 inch long beard and I'm concerned it's going to affect my chances of entry. I am keeping well trimmed so it isn't looking unkempt. I have my beard for religious reasons so shaving isn't an option and to top that I'm a heavily accented middle Eastern man so I'm quite worried. What advice would you give me? Should I contact the uni and ask or should I just shut up about it and pray for the best. Thank you all for any advice you give.
There seems to be an underlying sentiment here that you think your chances at interview will be affected by your appearance as a middle-eastern man. I hope you aren't suggesting that a medical school admissions team would take appearance or ethic background into consideration when deciding who will be offered a place...?
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mnot
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#4
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#4
How will a beard impact your academics?
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artful_lounger
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To make clear the implications from above, it would be illegal for a university to discriminate against you on the basis of ethnic identity or religious affiliation, and medical schools especially want to be EXTREMELY careful to avoid even implicit bias in their admissions processes. I can assure you, it's definitely not going to affect your chances of admission.

One thing you may need to consider moving forward however is it may be possible at some point in your professional life or during clinical placements you could be required to wear certain types of surgical mask - which do not function properly if you have facial hair. So that may potentially require you get certain things signed off a different way perhaps, or use alternate protective measures (those full head covering helmet-y things for example). ecolier might know more about the likelihood/practicality of that? I'm mainly just aware with covid that kind of face protection has been widely required, and also I imagine would be standard in e.g. surgical specialties.

However as noted the NHS is a quite multicultural and there are doctors and nurses and other healthcare practitioners from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds who work there, undoubtedly including some who have similar requirements (or indeed, from the same religion). So I'm sure no matter what you will be supported in your academic and professional life in that regard
Last edited by artful_lounger; 3 weeks ago
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ecolier
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#6
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
...ecolier might know more about the likelihood/practicality of that? I'm mainly just aware with covid that kind of face protection has been widely required, and also I imagine would be standard in e.g. surgical specialties....
:ta: for tagging me. There are plenty of doctors with facial hair who have no problem with masks.

What everyone has said so far in this thread is correct - there should 100% be no discrimination due to appearance.
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the bear
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#7
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as long as your beard is clean and neat there will not be a problem.
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Tentac
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Anonymous)
Have you ever been in a hospital or doctors surgery setting? People from all ethnics backgrounds are present and cultural and religious nuances show through naturally- ensure you are tidy and are polite and have a smile, that’s all they care about. Ensure to ask about how their day has been etc…
(Original post by Reality Check)
There seems to be an underlying sentiment here that you think your chances at interview will be affected by your appearance as a middle-eastern man. I hope you aren't suggesting that a medical school admissions team would take appearance or ethic background into consideration when deciding who will be offered a place...?
That wasn't my intention. My main concerns the beard itself as it is seen as unprofessional. I'm not worried that I'll be discriminated against based on my ethnicity and religion. but I know that many people don't look too kindly on beards in the medical field as another person posted on the thread. Additionally there are others who are in the same position as me and who posted similar questions so it seems to not be very uncommon to have the same worries as I the ones I have. I apologise if my wording in the main question was off.
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Tentac
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#9
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#9
(Original post by artful_lounger)
To make clear the implications from above, it would be illegal for a university to discriminate against you on the basis of ethnic identity or religious affiliation, and medical schools especially want to be EXTREMELY careful to avoid even implicit bias in their admissions processes. I can assure you, it's definitely not going to affect your chances of admission.

One thing you may need to consider moving forward however is it may be possible at some point in your professional life or during clinical placements you could be required to wear certain types of surgical mask - which do not function properly if you have facial hair. So that may potentially require you get certain things signed off a different way perhaps, or use alternate protective measures (those full head covering helmet-y things for example). ecolier might know more about the likelihood/practicality of that? I'm mainly just aware with covid that kind of face protection has been widely required, and also I imagine would be standard in e.g. surgical specialties.

However as noted the NHS is a quite multicultural and there are doctors and nurses and other healthcare practitioners from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds who work there, undoubtedly including some who have similar requirements (or indeed, from the same religion). So I'm sure no matter what you will be supported in your academic and professional life in that regard
Thank you very much this has helped put my mind to ease🙂
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Reality Check
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Tentac)
That wasn't my intention. My main concerns the beard itself as it is seen as unprofessional. I'm not worried that I'll be discriminated against based on my ethnicity and religion. but I know that many people don't look too kindly on beards in the medical field as another person posted on the thread. Additionally there are others who are in the same position as me and who posted similar questions so it seems to not be very uncommon to have the same worries as I the ones I have. I apologise if my wording in the main question was off.
Fair enough then, but you are worrying unnecessarily. I don't think Muslim NHS workers are particularly thin on the ground, and I've never heard of people 'not looking too kindly' on beards in the NHS - they're ten-a-penny. Essentially, it's not remotely an issue. So long as you can still do your job (i.e. your PPE can still fit when required), then a beard, or absence of a beard, is irrelevant to an application to a UK medical school.
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obsolentbutcool
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#11
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#11
(Original post by mnot)
How will a beard impact your academics?
well in medicine, ive seen articles saying that a beard could allow pathogens or bacteria to transfer easier because if the man has a medium sized beard it could come out the mask and not be protected.

Many doctors who had beards before the pandemic hit had to shave their beards because the FPP3 masks had to be tight fit. Those who kept the beard for religious reasons like Sikhs and muslims were faced with a sticky situation. Im still doing my research on whether doctors can keep beards (like actual beards not just some stubble or a bit of scruff like the medium to long sized beards)
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obsolentbutcool
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Tentac)
That wasn't my intention. My main concerns the beard itself as it is seen as unprofessional. I'm not worried that I'll be discriminated against based on my ethnicity and religion. but I know that many people don't look too kindly on beards in the medical field as another person posted on the thread. Additionally there are others who are in the same position as me and who posted similar questions so it seems to not be very uncommon to have the same worries as I the ones I have. I apologise if my wording in the main question was off.
im not so worried about what others think of my beard, im more worried that my beard that is abit longer than a hands length would be okay to have considering doctors have to wear masks. I cant find much online talking about this
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Tentac
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#13
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#13
(Original post by obsolentbutcool)
im not so worried about what others think of my beard, im more worried that my beard that is abit longer than a hands length would be okay to have considering doctors have to wear masks. I cant find much online talking about this
This is a common issue among Muslims and the Sikhs as the FFP2 masks require you to be clean shaven however there are alternatives like the PARPS hoodie and some hospitals do have them and will offer them to people who have large beards so they can still interact with patients however they can be quite expensive if you choose to front cost for yourself. You can read more about this issues if you search on articles that explore the religious side of it whether you are religious or not it still might give you some answers or some alternatives to shaving.
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obsolentbutcool
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Tentac)
This is a common issue among Muslims and the Sikhs as the FFP2 masks require you to be clean shaven however there are alternatives like the PARPS hoodie and some hospitals do have them and will offer them to people who have large beards so they can still interact with patients however they can be quite expensive if you choose to front cost for yourself. You can read more about this issues if you search on articles that explore the religious side of it whether you are religious or not it still might give you some answers or some alternatives to shaving.
ive done extensive research about this because i think it is important to know the regulations around this and not you know do 5 years of hard work in med school just to be told you cant be with patients because of your beard. But from what i know and this might help others who keep their beards for religious reasons or cultural reasons, during Covid, doctors and healthcare professionals had to wear FFP3 masks and for this they had to pass the tests for a tight fit and those with beards had to shave because they failed the test. However the Sikh medical association came up wth the Tatta technique which uses a band to tightly hide the beard so the FFP3 mask can fit tighter. but i doubt that in 5 years Covid would have such a big impact but you never know so its something to consider. I contacted the GMC and they said they have no policies against beards but i would encourage everyone concerned to contact and do more research if you want to become a doctor or other healthcare careers.
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