Shadowing a Doctor

August 18, 2016

First things first – you’ve completed a whole seven years of education and got the certificates through to prove it. Congratulations!

If you’ve already applied to – and possibly received a conditional offer for – a degree in healthcare, the grades you get this summer will be very important. Thankfully, though, whether you’ve exceeded your expectations or fallen slightly short, there’s plenty you can do to keep your career on the right track.

University, here I come!

If you’ve got the grades you need and accepted a place at the university of your choice, congratulations. You’re now well on your way to a career in healthcare!

As well as celebrating, you should take a good look through any welcome information that is posted or emailed to you from your chosen university. This might include a list of relevant books to read, supplies you might like to purchase, or key dates to put in your diary. You will also need to make sure your accommodation is confirmed and that you have everything you need for your room in terms of bedding, furniture, and clothes for both formal and informal activities. Even medicine students need some downtime, so if you’re a keen swimmer, guitarist or tennis player make sure you take your equipment with you!

Clearing and Adjustment

You may not have confirmed your university place yet for a number of reasons. Your grades may have been lower or higher than expected, meaning you may need to rethink your course or your destination, or both. Thankfully, UCAS has a dedicated system to help you deal with this: Clearing for those who have not done as well as expected, and Adjustment for those who have done better than expected. Universities will also have their own dedicated hotlines on results day so that they can help as many students as possible get the places that they deserve.

In the first instance, you should contact your school’s careers advisor (they may even be there when you pick up your grades) and also the UCAS helpline, so they can offer you specialist advice.

Taking a gap year

If you are unable to go to your chosen university or take your desired course, then you may want to consider taking a gap year.

Gap years can be the difference between a university rejection and a university acceptance (Read our blog with med student Kay, who turned her four med school rejections into four offers by taking a gap year).

One of the most sensible ways you can spend your gap year is by getting some work experience. Work experience is the perfect chance to show a future admissions panel that you are dedicated not only to getting better grades, but also to getting a real insight into what your career might entail. We offer work experience placements overseas at a number of different locations in everything from midwifery to dentistry – check out our main site to find out more!

Rethinking your future

There is absolutely no shame in realising that you’re better suited to a different degree or different healthcare role. You may be set on a medicine degree, but would be perfect for nursing or physician assistant training. These are not ‘lesser’ careers, but simply require different skills. You might realise that your love for helping people makes you a perfect social worker or occupational therapist. Alternatively, you may decide to start studying biomedical sciences and reapplying to medicine in the future – there are hundreds of different options.
The most important thing to remember is that you can always steer your future in the direction you want to. Plenty of students make a successful reapplication to medical school, while others forge equally rewarding careers in roles in care homes, schools or in allied health roles such as lab technology or physiotherapy.

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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.