Work Experience - Have You Signed Up?
Brighton and Sussex Medical School Virtual Work Experience - Have you signed up yet? Here are our thoughts!
A while ago, we told you about some of the Medical School Council’s guidance on gaining work experience during the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the resources the recommended was a virtual work experience platform set up by Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS). We wanted to remind you to sign up to this if you haven’t already done so- we also decided to check it out and give you our opinion on it!
In short, we think that this is a fantastic resource for aspiring medics to access- I would even recommend it to those who are currently in their preclinical years at medical school, as the platform is sufficient to provide a solid foundation before you start your placements.
After signing up to the course, students just have to work their way through six modules, with each module being a different specialty in medicine. These modules are: The NHS and General Practice, Elderly Medicine, Mental Health, Surgery and Inpatient Medicine, Emergency Medicine and finally, Palliative Medicine and Communication skills. As you can probably imagine, these are diverse topics; one of the main strengths of this course is giving somewhat of an insight into some of the specialties that students may not have otherwise been exposed to on their in-person work experience.
BSMS recommends that whilst working your way through the modules, you take regular breaks to reflect and document what you have learnt. If students do this, the course takes about a week to get through, after which, students create and submit a reflective piece to the platform. Once this is checked, students can obtain a certificate of completion, as well as something interesting to reflect on when it comes to writing personal statements and at interviews!
Although this course is not designed to increase your understanding of science and medical theory, I really appreciated how at several points during the module, definitions were explained- participants also had an opportunity to test themselves on the definitions they learnt. As well as this, the course gave an appropriate overview of conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease- by the end of the course, students should even be able to explain the onset of the disease, as well as list some of its associated symptoms! (this is also one of the reasons why I would recommend revisiting the course during medical school, as it is a good form of revision before starting hospital/community placements).
I think one of the only drawbacks to online work experience is that it is difficult to acknowledge that medicine is a physically and emotionally demanding career. For me, I only really realised what I was getting myself into when I actually volunteered in a healthcare setting and spent time having conversations with patients and other members of my team. Based on this, I think it is still important to arrange proper work experience when it’s feasible and really try to speak to current medics, so that prospective medical students understand what they’re potentially signing up for when applying.
Hopefully we’ve managed to convince some of you to get learning through BSMS’ online course. To get started, visit this website: https://bsmsoutreach.thinkific.com/courses/VWE
This fantastic piece was written by Mariam Niha Hussain, our resident writer and tutor, and 3rd year medical student.
We hope you are all keeping well during these unprecedented times. As always, feel free to drop us a message with any questions about this or your application! Get in touch via www.step2med.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.