Advanced search

DD wants to go to medical school. Any tips?

(21 Posts)
LaineyW Tue 26-Jul-11 16:30:31

DD (almost 16) has just finished GCSEs, planned A levels are Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Philosophy.

She wants to do some relevant work experience over the remainder of the summer holidays. Any suggestions? Do hospitals take 16 years olds for work experience? Other thoughts were care homes, and Young Lives (charity organisation for teens). Any ideas gratefully received.

notcitrus Tue 26-Jul-11 16:40:15

Pathology labs may take someone on - I did work exp in one at my local hospital. They were incredibly delighted to have someone interested and even offered me a job!
I loaded up urine samples for analysis and played guess the age of the donor, helped make blood slides, helped distract some 2-year-olds while they had sweat samples extracted to see if they had cystic fibrosis, and got to look at lots of tissue samples under the microscope and people told me all about the science.

A medical research lab might also be good - work exp students are popular for doing PCR samples and running gels, counting cells, etc. Local university with a med school should have something, or there's NIMR, ICH etc in London.

Local clinic - I have a local polyclinic so there's midwives and health visitors, foot health clinic, GPs, audiologists etc all on the same site, so might be easy to get a variety of work shadowing.

Care work is the only one likely to pay at all, though.

LaineyW Tue 26-Jul-11 16:45:01

Brilliant, didn't even think about her being paid! I think she realises it'll probably have to be voluntary. Sounds like you had a great time, I'll pass on your comments notcitrus. Thanks for the v. prompt reply too!

goldenbaby Tue 26-Jul-11 17:06:43

My advice would be to get lots of experience in something like a care home setting. The medical school will be very impressed with a candidate who can talk about working with elderly or disabled people, 'mucking in' with doing all the less pleasant caring tasks (like toileting) over a period of weeks or months. Lots of people come to their interview for medical school and their work experience amounts to a couple of afternoons following a consultant around the wards. You can guess who gets the offer of a place!

jenniec79 Tue 26-Jul-11 17:19:44

Another option might be to contact your local hospital's WRVS or similar and volunteer to go in and help with things like feeding elderly patients at lunch/dinnertime, changing water in flowers etc. Simple work experience (all I ever did) just doesn't seem to cut it these days, longer term volunteering is expected instead.

Similar things might be doable in the local hospice too (tends to be a nice environment).

My main bit of advice would be to think it through though - I'm nearly 33, still paying off student debt, studying part time for never ending run of exams, MSc, courses and working at least 48 hours a week (EWTD, what EWTD). Still in a rented flat because there's always the potential to need to move across the country for the next job - junior doctors are kept on 1-2 year contracts with potential moves every 6 months - and you can imagine what that does to relationships! I'm also in a speciality where going part time will be frowned on when we go from waiting to TTC to actually having our family.

I can't imagine doing anything else now (sometimes wonder about GP rather than hospital, but that's as far as I get). I love my job, but don't let her go into it thinking its all rosy.

If she'd like to PM me that'd be fine, too!

LaineyW Tue 26-Jul-11 18:40:47

Thanks goldenbaby and jenniec79. It's a sobering thought, all the years and years of exams and then the years and years of paying off your loans and then the years and years of being shunted around. I'm amazed anyone wants to do it, but thank God they do!

She's leaning more towards being a GP at this stage but obviously it's very early doors... will talk it through with her and show her your posts. It's fantastic to have replies from those with first hand experience.

beanlet Tue 26-Jul-11 18:53:40

If you want to be a GP it's a great career, and well paid (if you're a partner). Friend of mine gets paid £27K for working ONE day a week!

LaineyW Tue 26-Jul-11 19:23:06

Blimey, that's nice work if you can get it. I'll tell DD, that'll spur her on!

activate Tue 26-Jul-11 19:29:22

even with all A*s its very difficult to get in to med school without a wide CV so yes as much carework, social work, youth mentoring as possible to bulk out

drcrab Tue 26-Jul-11 21:16:06

I'm not a medical dr but have friends whose daughter didn't get into any of the med schools even though she had straight As and A*.. so she took a year out, volunteered at a hospital overseas (she had relatives there) and reapplied the next year. She got in.

So if she doesn't in first time do try and try again!!

Dunlurking Wed 27-Jul-11 07:29:48

Another GP here. I think £27K for 1 day a week is pretty good going! She maybe still has all her medical defence union fees GMC registration fees etc to come off that figure. Think £40 for a half time GP partner, after fees deducted probably more average. And those days may be non stop 12 hour days remember. Plus going in to complete paperwork, attend training and meetings on other days...

I would agree that volunteer work with the elderly, (if you can't get paid) would be very helpful. Also how about helping at a summer playscheme for disabled children?

OriginalPoster Wed 27-Jul-11 07:37:11

I worked as a hospital cleaner before I went to medical school. It gave me a really good understanding of the workings of a ward from a different angle. You got to see and hear a lot because many of the medics thought you were invisible


OriginalPoster Wed 27-Jul-11 07:38:33

And the pay was good, on Sunday it was double time, whereas the house officers were on half pay on Sunday as the hours were so ridiculously long.

beanlet Wed 27-Jul-11 08:25:04

Yes, that's 27K before tax, etc. But STILL - that's more than the UK average fulltime wage, for one day's work a week. Even if it's a 12 hour day (and I happen to know it isn't) that's a pretty cushy number.

I know salaried GPs earn less than partners, but if I see any medics on here complaining about their long hours and pay I will do my nut. My senior academic DH is almost certain he's just found a cure for a major fatal childhood disease. He works a 60 hour week for £45K.

Milliways Fri 29-Jul-11 17:26:05

I work in a large GP practice and we employ several school students from age 16. Most work on the reception desk, answer phones, deal with repeat prescriptions, scan letters onto records etc. Nothing clinical but they get to see the back office stuff (and get paid, get their Hep B jabs, and still have a Saturday job as well in many cases). They work from 4pm weekdays and in school holidays - and are invaluable in covering the regular reception staff summer hols smile Some students have also worked as cleaners here in the past.

Actual med students work in the holidays as Medical Note summarisers.

LaineyW Sun 31-Jul-11 22:19:45

We've had a very interested response from Young Lives, they offer placements working in the children's ward of our local (and rather major) hospital teaching the kids how to use Apple Macs so that sounds hopeful. Fingers crossed it comes off for DD. I also bought Getting In To Medical School - The Pushy Mother's Guide which I thought was brilliant, have told DD to read it from cover to cover, especially the personal statement bit at the end which gives great ideas on work experience too. Just sinking in what a hard couple of years it's going to be just to get an interview and offer, but at least if she decides not to go for it, she'll have had a fantastic set of experiences and hopefully very good GCSE and A-level grades which she can use for something else.

Thanks everyone, salary info. is useful too as DD struggles with the concept of her massive student loans and bonkers hours etc. etc. etc....

lostmymind Mon 08-Aug-11 21:03:14

Having been through all this for the past 18months with DS (he has an offer and we are now on tenterhooks for results day...) I feel like I could write my own guide, althoguh Pushy Mothers' guide is excellent if getting a tad out-of-date - there's volumes on info online now anyway. For starters head to, scan down to find the forum for medicine - just about everything you need to know is there.

For work exp her age will be a limiting factor, so work around that. Are you N,S E West? Start off with your schools' career counsellor, ask about volunteering options for her age group. Contact local hospitals, Hospice, Care homes, special need schools. Utilise whatever contacts you have to get some volunteer ward hospital ward work or anything in a care setting.

As well as volunteer work Med schools are looking for rounded individuals, so consider DofE or similar, working in the community, sports groups where a leadership role might be involved as wel as demonstrating good communucation and interaction skills. Add to that personal skills like organising a fund-raisning event within her school/church, mentoring younger students, even some sort of young enterprise involvement.

Once GCSE results are in, start scanning through the various med schools entry requirements - many have a minimum A* entry (ie Birmingham) and may specify what those A* must be in, so tailor med school selection from there. Then read in depth what those schools are looking for in candidates and work towards those targets.

For early next year there are free 'taster' days for medicine offered in London (dont' know about elsewhere) - these are booked incredibly quickly so keep an eye out!

Bumpsadaisie Mon 08-Aug-11 21:49:26

Hi there - my DD is only 2, but I just have a general question which I have always wondered about.

If you want to be a doctor, how do you decide whether to go for a specialist hospital medical school on the one hand, or alternatively just to study medicine at an "ordinary" university? Is one route preferable to the other?

rempy Mon 08-Aug-11 21:54:14

Bumps, you are well ahead of yourself!

In the UK the ONLY way of becoming a doctor is to enter medical school at one of the universities that has one, not all do. All courses have a strong academic element in the first 2-3 years, and then the latter 2-3 years are mostly clinical time in a group of local hospitals (the X teaching hospital, and local district generals around and about the major city) as well as GP practices. The total study time is 5 years, then you are provisionally registered with the GMC. You then have to work for 2 years as a foundation doctor (previously a JHO, or PRHO) before gaining full GMC registration, and entering a specialist training programme.

There are an increasing number of graduate entry courses, where a year or two are taken off the undergraduate course. But by definition these people have already done a degree, so their total study time is not exactly short.

Bumpsadaisie Tue 09-Aug-11 12:14:00

Thanks Rempy !

mumof3teens Thu 11-Aug-11 18:30:36

Just to reiterate what others have said really. DS1 has just started work as an F1 (with his own patients and the consultant on holiday - eek). Definitely with the exception of Cambridge) the med schools he had interviews at were impressed by his working in a care home (as a cleaner) from 16 every weekend. DS2 also worked at the care home along with a lot of work experience (he is a dentistry student). In fact DS2 had to take evidence of the work experience to the interviews. Our local hospital ran 4 day taster courses at 16, where they shadowed a junior Dr. Manchester medical school had a page on their website about what they look for when choosing who to interview/ offer places to which was helpful. Don't know if it is still there, but it talked about evidence of team working, leadership skills etc. He chose his med school based on the feel of it, the structure of the course and the fact it was near the top in the league tables at the time think the other two he had offers at have now overtaken it!) Good luck lostmymind for next week - we are waiting on DS3s A level resultssmile

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: