Shadowing a DoctorJanuary 10, 2012
For those wishing to pursue a career in medicine but do not have the correct qualifications or grades to enrol in a medical school, enrolling on one of many available medicine access courses is a realistic alternative. Many further education colleges offer medicine access courses which some medical schools will accept instead of A-levels or other qualifications.
All further education colleges will have their own set of criteria and specific requirements which you must meet; for example you may need to come from the local area or have a specific background etc. Most will also ask for a personal statement and invite you for an interview for you to explain why you wish to enrol on one of their medicine access courses and why you wish to practice medicine at a future date.
Of course, medicine is one of the most complex and training intensive professions you could ever hope to take on. Medicine access courses prepare you for the five years of medical school you will need to undertake, and introduce you to subjects such as basic diagnosis and treatment skills and obviously a whole world of information about the human body, how it works, and the problems people face with their health.
Medicine access courses are ideal for adults who have not previously studied towards a degree or have pursued careers in other fields and wish to retrain as a doctor. Medicine access courses may also be ideal for former students who have taken a degree, but in a non-science subject and wish to make a career change into medicine. If you are a former student who already holds a degree in a non-medical subject, many university medical schools will consider your application for the medicine access course based on your degree classification. Many medical schools will not normally accept a student with a recent degree graded below 2:1. If you are unsure as to whether you could be accepted for the medical school of your choice, investigate beforehand by contacting the specific university. Also, not all medical schools accept applicants with only medicine access courses as their main qualification at all, so it is vital you research this in advance.
Medicine access courses are well established and are recognised by over 20 medical schools throughout the country. Many medical schools who do accept students who are applying with a medicine access course qualification also expect potential students to have worked for some years in other employment since leaving their last full-time education. Medicine access courses are not generally used as an entry route for people wishing to improve on their A-level science grades or those with second class honours degrees in science/biology etc.
When medicine access courses are complete, students who pass are awarded either a basic pass, pass with merit, or a pass with distinction as an indication of how well they have performed. Many medical schools will insist on a pass with distinction for you to be considered for enrolment on a medical degree course.
In summary, medicine access courses are an ideal way for mature people to pursue a degree in medicine without the most direct qualifications to do so. Those who do not hold a degree in a relevant subject, or those who have pursued other career choices now have a way to pursue this exciting, important and worthwhile career environment.