Sensitive question about Medical School application(8 Posts)
I have a bit of a dilemma I hope you can help me with. I can't discuss this in RL as I'd rather keep it private.
I am applying this year for graduate-entry Medicine. It has always been my dream to go to Medical School, and after many years of hard work (and saving money), I am now in a position to go for it.
However, a few years ago I was a patient in a Mental Health Unit. I struggled very badly with depression and anxiety, and on the advice of my GP, voluntarily went into hospital to receive treatment. I am very glad I did, because I received fantastic care and support, and it was a real turning point in my life. It wasn't just the healthcare staff, it was the other patients who I met aswell. I won't go into detail, but we really supported each other through the highs and lows of being in hospital, and it was a very positive experience. I learnt so much about mental healthcare, it completely blew all my pre-conceptions out of the water.
My dilemma is, when it comes to my Personal Statement, should I talk about my experiences of being an in-patient, or would it put a Medical School off, because they might question my fitness to practice?
Thankyou so much for reading. Any advice would be welcomed
I wish I knew but I want the answer to be yes, put it all in because they'll realise that by having experienced a MHU as a patient, you'll be an amazing doctor with all the necessary compassion and understanding. Hopefully someone who does know will come along with the answer - but the very best of luck with your application.
I wouldn't put it in your personal statement but you will have to disclose it in the fitness to practice questionnaire.
IME from the other side of the interview desk a personal experience of health care (including mental health care)will not put people off your application. You have obviously thought through your illness and were sensible enough to take good medical advice and treatment. I prefer to read about it in the personal statement as it brings your experience to life...but that is just me. If you feel it has had an influence on your decision to go into medicine I think it would be good to include it. if it is just incidental then leave it to the fitness to practice questionnaire.
Assuming you went forward to interview I would prepare for the questions about personal support (ie do you have anyone for the hard times), the signs of your own illness and at what stage you would seek medical advice and whether there were any precipitating factors last time that you would watch our for.
I don't know much about medical school application forms but I guess it is as much to do with how comfortable you are with sharing the information. I think it would be great to include in terms of allowing you to reflect on your experiences and perhaps partly some of your motivation to do the job, however I have no clue what the form asks of you.
As far as I understand about f to p, I think they would be more interested in ensuring you are aware of any warning signs of relapse and that you would take appropriate action in light of these e.g. Recognise if you were ever acutely unwell again, sign yourself off sick, seek treatment etc. all that I imagine would be dealt with if you were successful, when you would go through occy health checks.
Best of luck!
Thankyou for all your replies, and the good wishes
At first, I was planning to leave it out of my personal statement, and only disclose it in the Fitness to Practice Questionnaire. It has been 5 years since my time in hospital, and I have had no relapses since.
It would just make me feel like a fraud if I didn't mention it in my PS, or interview.
I don't have personal experience of medical school apps.
But you could refer to it more obliquely as your family having had direct personal experience of mental health services and your reflections on this... Ie what was valued about these specific health professionals? You then cna broaden it out and deepen it when discussing at interview.
Just my two penneth!
Can you talk about your experiences without disclosing the nature of the illness. Just say "time as an in-patient allowed me to think about....."?
I would do this, one because there may be stigma although there shouldn't be and two because it shows you are able to talk professionally about the experience without disclosing confidential information.
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