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How to get medical work experience

How to get medical work experienceAndy Carson-Stevens, a second year medic at Cardiff University, explains how you can create your own work experience opportunities.

I’m always surprised when prospective students tell me that they can’t get work experience. There are so many opportunities out there - you just have to know where to look.

With the increasing demand for medical school places, you really need the WOW factor on your application if you’re going to be in with a chance, and work experience is where you can stand out from the crowd.

When I was looking for work experience, I didn’t have any contacts in the medical world, so it was really a case of starting from scratch. I wrote off to a hospital consultant I chose at random from the NHS Trust website. In the end, loads of exciting work experience opportunities came out of this ONE initial letter.

At the time, we were studying the heart in biology so I shadowed a cardiothoracic consultant for a week. A keen approach taken during this week led me being passed on to Accident and Emergency for a week with his colleague. This work experience then provided the ideal springboard to compete for a national competition for a placement in London, which I was luckily chosen for. Eventually I had so much experience it would just about have fitted on three A4 sides let alone that small space on the UCAS form.

You don’t have to get work in a hospital: if you try all the local doctors and NHS trusts with no luck, try being inventive. Look for jobs in a local pharmacy (ideally dispensing), a local nursing home (once a week) or try visiting research centres for the day. Initiative is definitely the key for getting your foot in the door in medicine.

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