Shadowing a Doctor

April 22, 2015

In the middle of complex surgery! Surgery work experience is a valuable asset for any pre-med student who aspires to specialise in surgery. However, getting any kind of medical work experience is not easy and getting surgery work experience can be even more daunting for several reasons. Most healthcare facilities have several restrictions about having non-medical, non-staff individuals anywhere on the hospital premises. And because of the invasive and highly sensitive nature of surgery, most surgeons are reluctant to have any extra people in the operation theatre. So what do you do and where do you go when you want to obtain some surgery work experience? Here are a few things you can do to break the stalemate:

  • Tell People Your Plans & Requirements

Goes without saying, if nobody knows that you are looking for something, they cannot help you. Tell everyone your plans and ask if they know anyone who can help you. You may just get lucky and someone may have heard of an opening. If you know any doctor working in a hospital, ask them to find out if something could be arranged. If you know a surgeon, they may let you shadow them for a while and even accompany them in the OR. If you don’t personally know anyone who can help, it doesn’t harm you to visit all the nearby hospitals and ask if there is place for an intern. A number of hospitals may not advertise such opportunities but they may be open to letting you shadow a surgeon.

  • Look Online for Openings

A number of hospitals post on their websites when they want surgical interns. Explore all the websites of all hospitals in and around your neighbourhood and apply to as many as you can. It is important that you keep checking the websites and keep reapplying whenever there is a position available. Keep in mind that there will be many other pre-med students vying for the same opportunities so don’t give up hope if you get rejected. The more times you apply the better your chances of finally getting lucky.

  • Sign Up With a Placement Organisation

Placement organisations work in collaboration with healthcare facilities that are located in developing countries. The great part about these organisations is that they know how difficult it is for students to get internships back in the UK so they go out of their way to ensure that you get ample opportunities to explore any medical specialty that you may be interested in.

If you go through a placement with these organisations, you will find that you will get a lot of valuable experience in various medical settings. Unlike developed countries, these places abroad really need and appreciate all the help they can get. This means that you will get a lot more hands-on experience responsibility than you could ever hope to get back home.

Another advantage of going on a placement abroad is that it adds a lot to your resume. Medical schools often look for work experience and they give a lot of importance to placements abroad since they know that the student would have got a lot of experience from it.

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. 

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