Work Experience 2021 - Here's What You Need to Know

Struggling to find in-person work experience? Don’t worry! Medical schools are aware of

how hard it has been to find in-person work experience in healthcare, so won’t expect

you to all have loads of experience; however, to make yourself really stand out, we’d

recommend that you spend time learning about life as a doctor using virtual work

experience platforms.





These are our top three free virtual work-experience opportunities that you can do to get

a better insight into what a life of medicine has to offer! By working through all three of

these resources, you would have a better idea of hospital medicine, primary care

medicine (working at a GP), and what life as an actual medical student (at university)

would be like! We’ve also added the sign up links to each opportunity, which will redirect

you to the relevant pages to get started!


1. Brighton and Sussex Medical School: Virtual Work Experience

(Link: https://bsmsoutreach.thinkific.com/courses/VWE)


Last year, 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!


2. The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) Virtual work experience: ‘Observe GP’

( Links: https://www.rcgp.org.uk/observegp, https://r1.dotmailer-

surveys.com/b649lxf0-af4lds48)


Are you interested in gaining more experience in General Practise, but can’t leave

home? The RCGP have launched a free online interactive video platform: ‘Observe GP,’

to allow aspiring medics to gain insights into general practice from anywhere in the UK,

regardless of geography or family networks. The platform, in many ways goes further

than a work experience placement can; the videos allow viewers to watch consultations

in split screen, witnessing the body language of both the patient and clinician face on.

Key terminology and activities appear on screen to reinforce learning and prompt

reflection. The videos include a variety of patients and conditions and allow the viewer

to meet many of the general practice team including the Practice Manager,

Receptionist, GP Trainee, Pharmacist, several GPs and an Advanced Nurse

Practitioner. Themes of the videos include long term condition management, self-care,

communication, and person-centered care. Although you don’t get a certificate upon

completion, this would still be a fantastic thing to refer to during your interviews as it

would help show interviewers that you have a good understanding of the way primary

care (GP surgeries) work.


3. Dundee Widening Access to Medical School Virtual Work Experience:

( Links: https://youcanbeadoctor.co.uk/dwamss-virtual-shadowing/ )


Recently, students at Dundee medical school created a free resource that lets you

shadow five different medical students across each year of medical school. This

programme lets you get more of an insight into what studying medicine is like and how

medical students are taught using lectures, group sessions and placements. Each ‘year’

takes about 60-90 minutes to complete online, with the ability to take breaks and come

back to it if needed. At the start of each year, you will be introduced to the medical

student you’re virtually shadowing: the following is taken from the resource’s website

and should give you a better idea on what the work-experience is about:

“Years one, two and three will take you through the respiratory system (the lungs),

orthopaedics (bones) and psychiatry (mental health). During these first three years, you

will attend lectures, workshops, clinical and/or communication skill sessions. You will

learn about some common diagnoses, such as asthma and depression. In addition, you

will learn some clinical examination skills, such as how Doctors examine a patient’s

lungs, and also some communications skill techniques, such as how Doctors assess a

patients pain.


Year four will take you into General Practice, where you will use some of what you

learned in first to third year to help assess some patients. Here, you will begin to learn

that patients are not simply symptoms and a diagnosis, but people with lives and experiences! One of the biggest parts of being a doctor is listening, and you will certainly need to listen closely during your year four virtual shadowing experience.


Year five will have you again drawing on experience from your first three years, in

addition to learning some more advanced practical skills; you will be a professional

before even starting Medical School!”


We hope you take the time to sign up to and get involved with these virtual work-

experience opportunities, as they can really help you decide if medicine is the career for

you! 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, 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 these online

platforms. As always, feel free to drop us a message with any questions about this or

your application! Get in touch via www.step2med.com

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