When most students start med school, one thing they all realise once they get down to it is just how much reflection is involved. You may reflect on what you have done in past past few years to add to your potential career in medicine in your personal statement and UCAS application, but this is a skill that you never stop exercising after this moment! You will be asked to reflect on your work experience in your interviews, on your previous cases in MDT meetings, and on your individual ability during clinical appraisals. As a medical student your school will make sure you hone this technique through allowing you to reflect on moments such as your placements or your first experience of having a conversation with a patient and even things like your first experience of a body in a dissection room.
So as you can see, you’ll need this skill throughout your career but you are expected to reflect exceptionally even before you enter medical school.
Being able to reflect in your Personal Statement and interviews is something we have highlighted to everyone for the past year through Medapply's free webinars and the MMI Crash Course we recently did.
But what is reflection? And how to you do it if you’ve barely ever done it before..?
Reflection is less about narrating what you have seen during your process of applying to med school, but more about critically analysing what skills you learnt from the Work Experience or Volunteering you may have done.
You need to provide your own personal insight into every single experience that you talk about. If you went on WE and saw a doctor being nice and compassionate to a patient, explain exactly what the doctor did to make the patient feel calm, and why having this calming quality is important if you are a doctor. You could then go on to say, for example, how you developed and used this skill of compassion that you saw to calm down another patient at another time.
This perfectly encapsulates reflection. You have shown that you can learn new things, that you have what it takes to interact with the people around you and can think on your feet when you need to. Displaying your personal development is vital!
You need to show that you know what it takes to be a doctor and how you are learning and developing these qualities yourself. To do this, you can usually just pick a quality, explain where you learnt it from, and then show how you further developed this skill on your own. It's simple when you know what you are doing!😉
It can be hard getting some in person experience at the moment, so make sure to check out our other forum posts on applying for medicine during a pandemic. If you have any more questions, you can ask them below, and we'll get back to you very soon :)