Shadowing a Doctor

December 5, 2016

When it comes to your medical school application, any hospital work experience is better than none. However, there are so many great opportunities out there and it can be hard to choose the one that best fits your career aspirations.

One major consideration of students is whether to undertake work experience here in the UK, or elsewhere in the world. If you’re struggling to decide, consider the following points:

Think about the things you will see

You will already be aware that healthcare can be radically different from one country to the next. You will therefore need to decide whether you consider it a priority to witness procedures as they would be done in the UK, or whether a different viewpoint would be beneficial for you.

Remember that countries such as Poland and Croatia will have very similar facilities to us – a ‘modern’ healthcare experience does not have to be found in the UK alone.

It’s hard to get UK hospital work experience

You may be lucky enough to know a health professional who could help you find some work experience. If not, it may be difficult to find a hospital or doctor’s practice that will allow you to come in for some shadowing – protocols are understandably very strict.

A work experience scheme abroad could be the answer if you are finding the logistics difficult – they will organise all of your mentoring for you.

Gaining a global perspective

Wherever you decide to work during your career, you would undoubtedly meet patients and fellow physicians from all over the world. Completing some work experience abroad may allow you to gain a more global perspective on healthcare, and help you to better understand all the families you meet along the way.

It’s not just about the hospital

Although medical work experience is – of course – about spending as much time as you can with dedicated health professionals, that’s not all that it offers you. As a young person, work experience broadens your horizons in a huge range of ways – you gain independence, professionalism, self-confidence and lots of other skills. These qualities are vital in all aspects of your career as well as all aspects of your personal life.

If a work experience placement in the UK feels a little too comfortable for you, a few weeks abroad could open up a whole new world of possibilities. It’s wise to consider what a work experience placement will offer you as a whole before you make your final decision!