July 11, 2013
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Besides allowing you to gauge whether or not a career in medicine actually fits your expectations, real time work experience also adds considerable weight to your medical school application. Unfortunately, you will find that work experience in hospitals can be extremely difficult to get. While a few hospitals do have regular work experience programs, these are very competitive and you have to go through a rigorous application process that is almost like that of a job application process. Most hospitals do not have any such programs at all because of the many formalities and legalities involved. So how do you get this much needed work experience? Here are a few things to think about.
Most organizations want at least a 6 month lead in. Enthusiastic medical students know this and apply to the best hospitals well in advance. While it may not guarantee you acceptance, it at least gives you a fighting chance. If you wait for work experience last minute, you will almost certainly be rejected.
Before you start calling up hospitals and other healthcare centers asking for information, check out their websites. Most organizations that offer medical work experience will have the details listed on their website. Different organizations offer different opportunities and have different restrictions and eligibility requirements. Some hospitals only accept medical students from their borough, which puts you on the rejection list right there. Go through all of the details and shortlist only those that you are eligible for. Before you apply, make sure that this is somewhere that you can travel to and from everyday. If it is too far away, be prepared to make accommodation arrangements.
The medical profession is broken up into several different specialties. If you are not sure yet about which specialty you’d like to follow, it makes sense to look for a more general work experience that exposes you to the different medical principals. However, if your heart is set on any one specific medical field, take time to research which organizations offer work experience in that particular area.
You can find hospital work experience in a wide range of departments, which could include physiotherapy, radiology, occupational therapy, nursing or paediatrics, to name but a few.
Take the time to compose an impressive cover letter and CV and send it out to all the shortlisted organizations on your list. Remember the more requests you send out, the higher your chances of getting accepted. Don’t let a rejection get you down. The truth is there are far too many hopefuls applying and very few opportunities, so the chances of getting rejected are high. The only thing you can do is to keep trying.
There are several companies that organize overseas placements that help you get work experience in hospitals abroad. Overseas work placements offer you the unique opportunity to observe doctors at work in environments that are as far removed from anything you could ever imagine. These days, this has become the preferred option for pre-med students because of the wealth of experience it offers on a professional, as well as on a personal level.