Many prospective medical students are now facing the challenge of their previously arranged medical work experience being cancelled due to restrictions associated with the current pandemic. This raises a few significant questions: “Can I apply to medical school with minimal work experience or none at all?” and “how can I strengthen my application in other ways and gain a better understanding of what it is to be a Doctor?”.
1) Don't worry!
Firstly, we would like to reassure you that in terms of your medical application, the UK medical schools should take into account the fact that work experience will be significantly more difficult to acquire now than it was before the pandemic. Realistically, it is unlikely that you would be penalised for this and of course, every other medical applicant in the country will be in the same boat, so this shouldn’t put you at a disadvantage. We would recommend keeping up to date with the 2021 entry requirements for all the medical schools regarding work experience, as this is likely to change to take into account the effect of Covid-19. In terms of what you can actively do now, we have a number of suggestions for you below:
2) Observe GP online platforms
The RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) launched an online video platform called Observe GP at the end of April 2020 - it is now live and taking registrations from aspiring medics. This comprises a series of pre-recorded videos, highlighting key terminology and providing activities to consolidate your understanding of the concepts they cover. It is free to sign up, and certainly would strengthen any medical application as well as provide you with a deeper understanding of life in General Practice. See it here.
3) Brighton and Sussex Medical School virtual work experience
This will provide a broad introduction to the NHS, before going on to explore the roles and skillsets of various medical practitioners. As with Observe GP, it is free to enrol and would also give a very helpful insight into life as a doctor in the absence of ‘in-person’ work experience. This is great and has a large range of experiences that can help you imagine you were there! See it here.
4) Keep up to date with medical current affairs
It has always been important to medical schools that you keep up to date with current affairs, demonstrating an interest in medical developments that hopefully stay with you lifelong as a doctor. It is more than likely that Covid-19 will be a topic raised at your interviews for medical school, so prepare for this. Don’t just limit your reading and research to Covid-19, though - there are many other important topics to read up on.
5) Try to arrange work experience at a later date
Obviously it’s difficult currently to anticipate when this will be feasible again, but keeping an eye on the news and up-to-date restriction guidelines will ensure that you can be first off the mark when work experience placements start to be offered again.
Written by the BecomeAMedic Team
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