Gaining Work Experience During COVID-19

Admissions

2020-05-01

COVID-19 has brought most of the world to a standstill and caused havoc in more ways than one including exams, interviews and especially work experience placements for aspiring medics. Medicine is a profession that presents challenges to its doctors on a daily basis forcing them to adapt to the situation, so how are you going to overcome this challenge and adapt to this situation?

Work experience is important to have under your belt when applying to medical school but remember that everyone is in the same boat and medical schools are aware of the situation so will take it into consideration when assessing your application. 

However, medical school admission tutors will look for how creative and adaptable you have been to the situation and how you have made good use of the skills you already have and what you do with the free time you have on your hands at the moment.

Why is work experience important for getting into medical school?

Shows you have taken the time and opportunity to understand what a career in medicine entails and it confirms you have motivation for studying medicine as it requires commitment and effort on your part. 

Arranging and attending work experience demonstrates true ownership and responsibility of your own career path which is a desirable quality in a potential medical student and doctor.

What work experience are medical schools looking for? 

The advice from the Medical School’s Council advises that the following experience is required when applying for medical school:

  • People-centred settings such as elderly care assistant, key worker or nursery assistant. Basically, any experience that involves caring and providing a service of care to others.
  • Experience where you will be exposed to the emotional, mental, physical and practical demands of medicine, therefore, providing you with an understanding of the realities of a medical career.
  • Taken the opportunity to enhance your skills, attitude and knowledge and had experience working with people from various backgrounds to improve your communication skills.

How can you gain these experiences during COVID-19?

By surfing the web:

Medical TedTalks are full of insights and information plus you can get involved in the discussion via the comments section. BBC Health News is another great site to keep a regular eye on for up-to-date medical issues and the British Medical Journal gives you free access to an array of medical literature.  

NHS Health Careers is perfect for gaining a better understanding of all things medical such as the role of a doctor, training as a doctor and working for the NHS.

Note: Only stick to reliable and trusted sites, while Wikipedia is great it is not advisable to mention this source in your UCAS personal statement or medical school interviews as anyone can enter information onto that site qualified or not. 

By signing up for free online:

Observe GP is a free online interactive platform that allows you to observe GPs in action - not live, of course, but this gives you the opportunity to virtually shadow GPs. This is great because even before COVID-19 gaining work experience or an opportunity of shadowing a GP was very difficult but now the Royal College of General Practice has made it virtually possible.

Keeping a reflection journal:

Reflecting on experiences is a big deal when you’re a medical student and a doctor. The active participation of reflecting on our experiences, decisions, actions and decisions and actions of others is how we learn, improve and develop personally and professionally. 

While looking through the above resources write down any questions that spring to mind, any thoughts, opinions, or interests that catch your eye. What can we learn from COVID-19? What decisions were made and were they the right ones? If not, what alternatives would you suggest?

How about researching a certain aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic such as the issues with personal protection equipment or even the science behind the cause or vaccine?

The list of research and learning opportunities is endless, give it a go yourself and see what you come up with. 

To stay up-to-date with the possible changes COVID-19 might bring to this year's UCAT testing season, bookmark our live updates page here.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious? Please don’t worry, head over to our UCAT 2020 Online Course and we’ll get you signed up to guide you through this whole process.

We have a bank of over 10,000 questions, a decision-making section, and 8 full mock exams and 18 mini-mock exams; we even give you performance feedback too.

We’ve been lending a successful helping hand since 2009. Medify’s here to support you, just reach out to us.


Note: In response to COVID-19, Medify has rolled out a COVID-19 guarantee scheme for those purchasing a UCAT season pass. This means that even if the UCAT exam is delayed, we will guarantee access to the Medify platform until your exam date.

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