June 17, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Medical school is tough to get into and the only way to ensure that your application is successful is to start preparing well in advance. Preparing for medical school involves two aspects – academic and non-academic, both of which are equally important. Focusing on only one of these aspects and ignoring the other will not give you the leverage you need to get your application accepted.
The academic preparation is straightforward. You have to study hard during your A-levels and get good grades.
The non-academic preparation on the other hand involves a multitude of different activities, all of which play important roles in helping you create an outstanding application. More importantly, all of these activities will help you get a better understanding of this career path so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not this is the right fit for you.
Doing a First-Aid course will help you get some hands-on clinical experience under various circumstances. You will also learn that all-important skill that is so essential for all medical professionals – how to dispense medical care calmly and efficiently in the most stressful situations.
Without getting a first-hand look at a day or a week in the life of a physician, it is impossible to speculate about what exactly is involved. TV programmes tend to glamorise the roles of doctors or nurses whereas the reality is completely different. Spending at least a week shadowing a physician will give you a more realistic picture of how health care teams work together to deliver healthcare to their patients. When shadowing remember, it isn’t how much time you spend at the hospital that counts. It’s what you learnt during your shadowing stint that matters so make good use of the time you are allowed and be observant. Take notes. Ask questions.
Academic institutions today encourage students to do research and even allocate bursaries, grants and scholarships for interested students. Spending time doing research will help you gain and develop self-directed learning skills, which are at the core of most modern medical schools as well as the rest of your medical career.
During a medical placement in a developing country, you will get the opportunity to be more than just an onlooker to how medicine is practiced. Hospitals in these countries are almost always short-staffed and welcome any hands-on help from pre-med students. This practical experience will remove any trace of doubt as to your choice of profession. The experience will also give your application a huge boost as it shows medical school authorities that you know exactly what the profession involves and are committed to it. It also means you are less likely to drop out of school.
Staying up to date with global healthcare developments in particular, can give you a lot of talking points at your med school interview. Interviewers are always interested in knowing what their potential students think of the latest ethical dilemma or about recent changes in healthcare. It’s important that you know what’s going on. Read the daily newspapers and subscribe to newsletters on the latest stories in world and health news.
Every medical school has their own eligibility criteria, list of documents and other requirements that all applicants are expected to meet. Don’t take anything for granted. Go to each website individually and make sure that you meet all the requirements before submitting your application.