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Medicine work experience

I'm considering taking a gap year to apply for medicine I applied for economics this year but I don't think it will be right for me my a-levels are chem,econ and maths. I've applied for work experience at my local hospital I was just wondering if anyone had any advice for me on what I could do to maximise my work experience placement i.e what questions to ask, what to try and put in my personal statement about my work experience. And just anything else I could do to increase my chance of being accepted.
Reply 1
Original post by Yohan1
I'm considering taking a gap year to apply for medicine I applied for economics this year but I don't think it will be right for me my a-levels are chem,econ and maths. I've applied for work experience at my local hospital I was just wondering if anyone had any advice for me on what I could do to maximise my work experience placement i.e what questions to ask, what to try and put in my personal statement about my work experience. And just anything else I could do to increase my chance of being accepted.

Hey so first of all, you might already be aware, a lot of medical schools require both biology and chemistry, but there are some where chemistry plus maths/physics are accepted. I think there are around 13 med schools where this would be absolutely fine and you can find these on this link https://www.themedicportal.com/application-guide/choosing-a-medical-school/what-a-levels-do-you-need-to-be-a-doctor/

Regarding what to write about your work experience in your personal statement, it would be good to write an example of a display of teamwork/ communication/ breaking bad news, followed by a small reflection/ overview and what you learned/ where you have developed similar skills. I would recommend keeping a log of what you observe, so you can write down reflections- this will be useful in your PS as well as interviews. For example, here’s a para of reflection:

Despite the doctor being under pressure, I admired the compassionate bedside manner shown by her when communicating with the patient so they felt safe and comfortable. The same patient required kidney stone removal using laser lithotripsy, which I observed in the operating theatre. Here, I was able to observe the calm and focused demeanour in which the urologist approached the intricacy of the surgery, as well as appreciate the cohesive nature of the team of anaesthetists, scrub nurses, and surgical technicians communicating with each other. This highlighted the importance of teamwork in the healthcare profession to optimise the quality of care patients receive.

I developed the skills I observed when volunteering for twelve weeks as a sixth form mentor, which involved caring for young individuals from local primary schools to support their education. In the end, a strong bond was formed and it was truly rewarding to see how apparent the impact of simply caring for and nurturing the children had helped build their self-confidence.

Another super important part of the application will be aiming for a high UCAT score. Considering that your options are more limited due to not taking bio a level, it would be good to aim for a score of at least 2800+. I would allow 6-8 weeks to prep for this and do a little research about UCAT test dates/ registering which is here: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/about-ucat/ucat-test-dates/ Websites such as Medify/ Medentry and the official UCAT qu bank are helpful to learn how to answer the questions and do lots of practise and timed mock tests.
If you're doing work experience in hospital, try to get a handle on what patients are entering a department and why and what happened to them for them to be there. Then the same on their way out of the department. What happens next and why? Quiz doctors and nurses as you go, write stuff down. Think of questions before you get near the place as it can be overwhelming when you are there at first.

What diagnostic tests/checks are done? Why? What are they looking for?

If you get a chance to talk to actual patients, ask what you think of their care to date. Ask what qualities they think doctors should have, any examples of interactions they had with healthcare they didn't rate and why?

Absolutely go at the UCAT like a demon possessed, practice practice practice.
Original post by sophiahh
Hey so first of all, you might already be aware, a lot of medical schools require both biology and chemistry, but there are some where chemistry plus maths/physics are accepted. I think there are around 13 med schools where this would be absolutely fine and you can find these on this link https://www.themedicportal.com/application-guide/choosing-a-medical-school/what-a-levels-do-you-need-to-be-a-doctor/
Regarding what to write about your work experience in your personal statement, it would be good to write an example of a display of teamwork/ communication/ breaking bad news, followed by a small reflection/ overview and what you learned/ where you have developed similar skills. I would recommend keeping a log of what you observe, so you can write down reflections- this will be useful in your PS as well as interviews. For example, here’s a para of reflection:
Despite the doctor being under pressure, I admired the compassionate bedside manner shown by her when communicating with the patient so they felt safe and comfortable. The same patient required kidney stone removal using laser lithotripsy, which I observed in the operating theatre. Here, I was able to observe the calm and focused demeanour in which the urologist approached the intricacy of the surgery, as well as appreciate the cohesive nature of the team of anaesthetists, scrub nurses, and surgical technicians communicating with each other. This highlighted the importance of teamwork in the healthcare profession to optimise the quality of care patients receive.
I developed the skills I observed when volunteering for twelve weeks as a sixth form mentor, which involved caring for young individuals from local primary schools to support their education. In the end, a strong bond was formed and it was truly rewarding to see how apparent the impact of simply caring for and nurturing the children had helped build their self-confidence.
Another super important part of the application will be aiming for a high UCAT score. Considering that your options are more limited due to not taking bio a level, it would be good to aim for a score of at least 2800+. I would allow 6-8 weeks to prep for this and do a little research about UCAT test dates/ registering which is here: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/about-ucat/ucat-test-dates/ Websites such as Medify/ Medentry and the official UCAT qu bank are helpful to learn how to answer the questions and do lots of practise and timed mock tests.

This is great advice. Don’t put much emphasis on work experience and personal statement, most unis don’t even read it . Your priorities should be your A level and UCAT. Then interview afterwards (take this from someone who is starting med school in sept and been through the application process twice )
Reply 4
Original post by sophiahh
Hey so first of all, you might already be aware, a lot of medical schools require both biology and chemistry, but there are some where chemistry plus maths/physics are accepted. I think there are around 13 med schools where this would be absolutely fine and you can find these on this link https://www.themedicportal.com/application-guide/choosing-a-medical-school/what-a-levels-do-you-need-to-be-a-doctor/
Regarding what to write about your work experience in your personal statement, it would be good to write an example of a display of teamwork/ communication/ breaking bad news, followed by a small reflection/ overview and what you learned/ where you have developed similar skills. I would recommend keeping a log of what you observe, so you can write down reflections- this will be useful in your PS as well as interviews. For example, here’s a para of reflection:
Despite the doctor being under pressure, I admired the compassionate bedside manner shown by her when communicating with the patient so they felt safe and comfortable. The same patient required kidney stone removal using laser lithotripsy, which I observed in the operating theatre. Here, I was able to observe the calm and focused demeanour in which the urologist approached the intricacy of the surgery, as well as appreciate the cohesive nature of the team of anaesthetists, scrub nurses, and surgical technicians communicating with each other. This highlighted the importance of teamwork in the healthcare profession to optimise the quality of care patients receive.
I developed the skills I observed when volunteering for twelve weeks as a sixth form mentor, which involved caring for young individuals from local primary schools to support their education. In the end, a strong bond was formed and it was truly rewarding to see how apparent the impact of simply caring for and nurturing the children had helped build their self-confidence.
Another super important part of the application will be aiming for a high UCAT score. Considering that your options are more limited due to not taking bio a level, it would be good to aim for a score of at least 2800+. I would allow 6-8 weeks to prep for this and do a little research about UCAT test dates/ registering which is here: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/about-ucat/ucat-test-dates/ Websites such as Medify/ Medentry and the official UCAT qu bank are helpful to learn how to answer the questions and do lots of practise and timed mock tests.

Thank you very much for the advice. I'm going to start practicing for the UCAT straight after my exams and throughout my summer holidays. And again, thank you very much for the example paragraph. It's going to help me a lot with my personal statement.
Reply 5
Original post by ErasistratusV
If you're doing work experience in hospital, try to get a handle on what patients are entering a department and why and what happened to them for them to be there. Then the same on their way out of the department. What happens next and why? Quiz doctors and nurses as you go, write stuff down. Think of questions before you get near the place as it can be overwhelming when you are there at first.
What diagnostic tests/checks are done? Why? What are they looking for?
If you get a chance to talk to actual patients, ask what you think of their care to date. Ask what qualities they think doctors should have, any examples of interactions they had with healthcare they didn't rate and why?
Absolutely go at the UCAT like a demon possessed, practice practice practice.

Thanks for giving me a good idea on the questions that I should be thinking of before i start my placement. This is going to help me out a lot.
Reply 6
Original post by Anonymous_7871
This is great advice. Don’t put much emphasis on work experience and personal statement, most unis don’t even read it . Your priorities should be your A level and UCAT. Then interview afterwards (take this from someone who is starting med school in sept and been through the application process twice )

I'll definitely put the majority of my focus on my UCAT, especially after I finish my exams, because a few of my friends have said the same thing. Thanks alot for the advice.
Original post by Yohan1
I'm considering taking a gap year to apply for medicine I applied for economics this year but I don't think it will be right for me my a-levels are chem,econ and maths. I've applied for work experience at my local hospital I was just wondering if anyone had any advice for me on what I could do to maximise my work experience placement i.e what questions to ask, what to try and put in my personal statement about my work experience. And just anything else I could do to increase my chance of being accepted.

Hey one feedback I got from an interview was my mention of various work experiences. I think you should see the qualities possessed by healthcare workers and reflect on this and how you wish to embody them. Reflect on aspects of teamwork, diagnostic acumen, communication etc. During my hospital placement, I got to talk and translate for patients = big thing I mentioned. I managed to forge connections with patients and really felt like I was getting a glimpse of the different roles a doctor plays and the holistic approach in med. Ask about challenges, their motivations, how they think med is changing and how they keep up with the field (due to its dynamic nature). As others have said, focus on the UCAT after but do space out your practice to avoid burnout (seen this in one too many candidates). Target sections that you know you could do well in (DM and QR = easiest to get a perfect score in) and take it easy on VR (usually everyone's worst section ngl). Be as involved during your placement as possible to show commitment (I ended up getting a chance to do work designing posters on Dermatitis in different languages after mine).
Reply 8
If I get to the interview process and get asked about my work experience placement. Would the questions be mainly about something I mentioned in my personal statement and how i reflected upon that experience. If the question is likely to be similar to that, is it bad if you mention something you wrote in your personal statement. I'll definitely try and get my DM and QR sections up as a priority after I start practicing for the UCAT and I should be good for not burning out since it will be the summer holidays so I'll have time to relax but i'll definitely keep it in mind when studying for it. Thanks again.

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