Medical Work Experience in Australia

July 8, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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Having some medical work experience at a hospital or any healthcare setting can have a huge impact on the success of your medical application. Unfortunately, due to several different reasons, arranging suitable work experience is not easy at all. When you apply you will find that most of the better places have been booked up months in advance. Moreover, only a few hospitals offer this facility and when you try to get information, it’s often difficult to get to speak to the right person. You could find yourself being passed on to several different people, none of whom are aware of the formalities involved…

A Gap Medics student learning about Opthalmology

Here are a few tips that will help you get some much needed medical work experience in Australia:

Call The Hospital Switchboard

Different hospitals have different departments that deal with work experience. If you are not sure which department head you need to speak to, it is best to go through the hospital switchboard and ask to be put through to the work experience coordinator or the medical staffing or recruitment department, depending on the hospital.

Be Clear About Your Request

Be prepared to speak to several people before you get through to the right person who can help you. With every person you speak to, be clear about your request. Tell them you are a pre-medical student looking for a brief opportunity to see how doctors work and how a hospital runs.

Be Flexible

Keep your requests general and be prepared to compromise and work around the hospital’s convenience. If they’ve got only one slot available for the forthcoming week, be prepared to clear your schedule and make yourself available.  Do not wait around for a convenient time or for work experience in an ‘exciting’ department. Be prepared to take up any opportunity that presents itself. The important thing to remember is that any relevant medical work experience counts so take anything that comes your way. It may not be exactly what you want to go into, but at the end of the day, if you have managed to get a bit of work experience, you are doing better than a large majority of other pre-medical students.

Watching surgery during a Gap Medics Medical Work Experience placementKeep Trying

Consider yourself very, very lucky if you get what you want with your first phone call. Usually, it takes several calls to several hospitals before you finally make a breakthrough.

Look For Overseas Work Experience

Don’t limit yourself to looking only in hospitals in Australia. Overseas work experience in developing countries offer excellent opportunities for you to get a real close up view of a day in the life of a doctor. It allows you to get a realistic perspective of healthcare under the most challenging of situations and will give you pretty good insight into whether or not this is the right career for you. And of course, overseas work experience can look very impressive on your medical school application and will give you an edge over the rest of the competition.

At Gap Medics we’ve seen this happen several times. Many students who could not find work experience in hospitals in Australia and who have had their application rejected before, have finally been successful in gaining admission into medical school after a placement with us. By all means, we are not saying do not try to gain work experience in your home country – different types of work experience just have different benefits. The more experience the better!