Tips for Getting Surgery Work Experience

July 17, 2013

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

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Completing surgery work experience is a great way of getting your foot in the door of the operating theatre. But just like anyone who has tried to get this valuable work experience will tell you, it isn’t easy. Obtaining regular, non-surgical medical experience is tough enough. This is several times tougher.

Most surgeons are not too pleased to have any extra people in the operating theatre, much less an inexperienced surgeon hopeful. Even if you are lucky enough to meet a surgeon who does not mind, there are several restricting legal factors that will make it difficult anyway. Despite all of these obstacles, there are still many pre-med students who persist and finally manage to garner some surgery work experience. If they can do it, so can you.

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Here are a few tips that will help you in your quest:

Check Out Hospital Websites

Most hospitals that offer surgery work experience will have it listed on their website. Check all the hospitals in and around your area and if they have it mentioned, send them a request. There will probably be hundreds of other hopefuls also applying, so don’t be too disappointed if you are rejected. The key is to send out request letters to as many hospitals as possible and to keep reapplying for the next opportunity. Make sure that the hospitals you apply to, are convenient enough for you to travel to everyday should your request be accepted. 

Ask Around

For every hospital that does advertise these opportunities, there are several others that don’t. Don’t strike them off your list just yet. Instead, call and ask. You just never know. You could get lucky and you’ll never know until you ask. Don’t forget to ask family and friends if they know somewhere you can try, or if they know a surgeon who may be willing to have you tag along with them.

Contact a Placement Organisation

Placement organisations know the difficulties and frustrations that medical students encounter when looking for surgery work experience. Instead of expending precious time and energy trying to get through the obstacles back home, these organisations offer pre-med students the opportunity to get surgical work experience in several developing countries where any help is more than welcome and there is no red tape to overcome. At Gap Medics, we offer placement opportunities in the Czech Republic, Thailand and Tanzania. All three destinations have been carefully chosen for the wealth of experiences they offer our students. Whichever destination you choose, we ensure that you get the surgery work experience that matches your desires and goals. From the feedback we have received from pre-med students who have availed of our placements, not only did they get the opportunity to witness several complex surgeries but it also gave them a huge advantage with their medical school application and interviews.