Shadowing a DoctorMarch 28, 2012
Medicine Work placements are an important part of getting the relevant experience required for a career in medicine and healthcare. Nearly all medical schools require students to have taken part in some form of work experience. A work placement can also help demonstrate you have the relevant communication skills, caring nature and work ethic for a career in medicine. NHS Work placements can be rewarding in other ways too, helping a student prepare for their future career and providing new skills, experiences as well as contacts in the medical profession. As work placements are highly valuable sources of experience, making the most of your time will maximise the short period of time you spend on the placement.
Before starting your work placement, do a little research on the place you will be working. If you or your college/school know somebody who has previousl taken part in a work placement there, speak to them and ask what they did and what to expect from your time there. When starting a work placement is to make sure you know who is responsible for you. Most work placements will provide you with a mentor or supervisor who will there to answer any questions that you have and will help you make the most of your experience. Speak to this person and go through your goals and explain want you hope to achieve on the placement. Make sure it is made clear the type of work you will be expected to do, and if there is anything you are unsure about, or believe you are not able to deal with, make sure you say.
Asking questions is perhaps the best method of learning from other people. Speak to people you are assigned to work with and ask them about their job, how they got into a career in medicine, what they get out of it, and the challenges you may face in the future, but remember, people are working so choose times when people aren’t too busy. While most people will be willing to share their expertise and knowledge with you, respect those that either don’t have the time or would rather not. Don’t be afraid to contribute to discussions and offer opinions when appropriate. Most people are quite open to new ideas so don’t be afraid to speak up.
When working, make sure you carry out any tasks you are asked to do to the best of your abilities. Don’t stand around looking bored, if you have nothing to do ask somebody if there is anything you can do to help. In most medical settings there is always something that needs doing. Keeping a written record of your experiences is also a good idea. It’s very easy to forget things, so by keeping a log you will always have a permanent record of what you achieved and learned, and it may prove crucial when it comes to an interview for a paid job or medical school placement.