Medical schools are being understanding of the disruption to plans for work experience due to COVID-19. The aim of work experience is to give you insight into the profession, your future duties as a doctor and the guidelines which you will practice. It should enrich your understanding of the healthcare setting and the values & attitudes of a doctor. While this is now difficult to do in person, there are various resources available online which can help you gain these experiences.
The Medical Schools Council have published a document outlining their guidance on work experience – this will also inform you of what medical schools may expect you to demonstrate in the application process:
Brighton and Sussex medical school have published a virtual work experience course:
The Royal College of General Practitioners have launched an interactive platform:
The King’s Fund offer an online course explaining how the NHS works:
Online news can be a wealthy resource to keep updated. The BBC, The Guardian and The Telegraph are all fairly reliable sources; check out their health and science pages to get an insight into new developments and what it’s like to work in healthcare at the moment.
Youtube is also a really good resource – watch TED Talks, videos made by current medical students or doctors, documentaries etc. There are plenty of videos explaining the NHS, current medical affairs and scientific topics.
Watch out for webinars and career talk events on Facebook – there are a lot being published by the Royal Society of Medicine currently, it might be worth attending some of these.
Watch out for information on social media. With some more time to spare, medical students themselves have turned to creating online resources to inform aspiring students about life at medical school, revision resources, etc. Reach out to current doctors and medical students too, as they’ll be able to tell you about their experiences in the profession.
If you would really like to perform an active role, there are a few opportunities you can try to participate in:
If possible, you can support your local community – National Health Supporters are looking for people to get involved in local groups or setting up local networks to support healthcare staff:
Try applying for administrative or volunteering roles in charities and organisations such as the Red Cross of MSF – they may have some opportunities available for you, either remotely or in person.
If it is safe to do so, you may be able to volunteer at your local hospital; however, remember to protect your health and the health of those around you, and follow social distancing guidelines.
If you can’t find any health-related work experience or volunteering, use the experiences you can get – there are a lot of transferable skills you can gain from non-medical roles!
We will also be publishing newsletters with snippets of recent news, updates on medical school admissions information, resources, interesting books and podcasts and more to come – join our mailing list to receive these!
Even though this is a tough time for doctors, students, and applicants alike, there’s still lots to do to keep learning and gaining experiences. The key is to keep making the most out of anything you get and keep informing yourself more! Keep up the good work 😊