June 10, 2016
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
You’ve seen how international medical placements can help you get a perspective on global healthcare, make better career choices, boost your med school application and expand your comfort zone. But that’s not all. Here are some more benefits that you will get from this experience.
Doing a medical placement is a great way to see what life is like for a foreign doctor. During these placements students get to observe much more than they would see shadowing doctors back in their home country. For example, if you are interested in surgery, you would get the opportunity to observe a number of surgeries firsthand. If you are considering a career as a midwife, doing a medical placement is one of the best ways to gain actual experience helping out midwives as they go about their daily tasks. Having this opportunity is a great way to get more direct experience outside of the classroom.
As a pre-med student, you are not likely to have too many medical experiences to talk about in your med school interview. Just one medical placement can change all that. With the amount of experience you will acquire during that period, you will have a lot to draw on and impress any interviewing panel. While only a few medical schools mention medical experience as one of the eligibility criteria, it is a known fact that most schools prefer to admit applicants who have obtained some kind of practical medical experience.
Besides just being in a foreign country where English is not the main language, during your medical placement you will also be shadowing or working alongside medical professionals from different parts of the world, some of whom may not speak perfect English. What makes this even more challenging is the fact that people’s lives are at stake and getting or conveying the right message is crucial. Being in a situation like this will help you get a better understanding of the importance of good communication skills in the medical field. It will also help you recognise your strengths and weaknesses in this area so that you know what you need to work on.
During any medical placement abroad, you will meet pre-med students from different backgrounds, different cultures and different parts of the world. Just interacting with such a diverse group of pre-med students will give you plenty of opportunities to swap notes on how healthcare is practised in different parts of the world and how cultures and traditions influence healthcare. It’s a great way to meet new friends, network and develop connections with other future professionals in the field.
It’s surprising how much easier it is to pick up a new language when you are actually immersed in that particular setting. At most locations, you will find basic, short-term classes where you can learn to speak the language of the host country. Given the diversity in the type of patients you will attend to in any healthcare setting today, having some knowledge and understanding of other languages can be a very useful skill set.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.