Work experience is really important to write about in your personal statement. The usual things to do are some hospital experience, experience with a GP, and some community experience.
Last year, I was lucky in that my school has ‘connections’ with the local hospitals scheme for 6th form students through marriage so I was able to go on the course – although we did have to apply in the same way as everybody else! This course was great fun and we got to take blood from fake arms, practice CPR on a dummy, and help a mannequin give birth, whilst also listen to doctors talk about their jobs. This was a really good personal insight into why doctors chose their career path.
Another thing I did was arrange work experience at my local hospital. I’ve been to 5 different departments, WORN SCRUBS!!, USED A REAL STETHOSCOPE!!! witnessed death, the insertion of a pacemaker, seen an open wound down to the bone, and some vocal chords amongst other things. This I think, was a really important experience as I think most reasons for applying to medical school are that you want to be the hero, but I soon realised that doctors don’t have the ability to save every life – paperwork and blood taking is a big part of a junior doctor’s life. Arranging work experience in a hospital can be hard but just persevere because one person will let you in!
GP’s on the other hand are an entirely different matter, from my experience anyway. I’ve written to every GP in my town and feasible vicinity and followed up with a phone call and not one, not one I tell you even had the decency to reply to my communications! I’m still bitter to this day, so I cant tell you much about GP’s except they are unreachable!
I also volunteer at a care home which is great fun! I really like the elderly, they are just full of gems of stories and such wisdom! One resident just in passing mentioned to me that she was in the land army – I nearly choked on my custard cream and could not stop questioning her about it! I have a little fascination with the army that I can’t quite put my finger on – maybe I’ll be an army medic!.. no chance, showering twice a week and under fire from RPG’S – not my cup of tea! Anyway… this experience is quite easy to obtain, just go to your local care home and ask to be a volunteer!
I also volunteer with a child with additional needs. This is challenging, yet rewarding and I’ve really started to become a mini Brownies leader! It’s allowed me to experience a part of childhood that I never did as a youngster – I was more of a ballet and piano child than Brownies. This is slightly harder to obtain but I volunteer through a charity, so maybe look for one specialising in helping disabled children.
Then try and add anything to your experience that will make your application stand out!
Work experinece is an important part, and compulsory to any successful medical application. Not being able to do much can be boring, but when witnessing a crash call its quite a relief to know that you’re just observing and dont have to adminster anything amongst the chaos that erupts in front of you. Work experience can also ensure that medicine is for you; I mean I’ve always known that I’m not one for gore, but being in an operating theatre amongst the smell of burning flesh definitely proved that I have the stomach for it!
And I think I’ll leave it there for now, a nice thought to end on!