Working P/T and studying medicine?

(61 Posts)
Monica53 Mon 17-Feb-20 22:46:10

Our Dd in first year of medicine - bumpy first year ! with various things and being 6hr drive away from home - however summer holidays are looming and myself and her dad are dropping hints that she needs to get some sort of paid work as for 3/4 months we can’t support her and also for when she’s back at Uni trying a few hrs paid work for experience also to help her finances as her words I can’t afford to be a student 😳🥴. I’ve known and heard of med students working and studying so it is doable?

OP’s posts: |
mumsneedwine Mon 17-Feb-20 22:51:03

Mine worked as an HCA at a care home for 3/4 months over summer. Earned a lot and gained valuable skills. V easily done in early years.

SirTobyBelch Mon 17-Feb-20 23:21:05

Many medical students have part-time jobs during term-time, too. It depends on how well organised she is: she needs to be able to keep up her medical school work at the same time. If she ends up having to repeat a year it will cost her more than she'll gain from the job.

Needmoresleep Mon 17-Feb-20 23:29:56

DD who is a third year medic says some work in term time, but that it is tough. It's a five year course so first year clinical, and they are on 6 month placements. There is no real summer vacation, and working days are long, and can be physically and emotionally demanding. She also has to read up on stuff during the evening or at weekends and will have summer exams.

There should be no problem working the first couple of summers, though medics finished last and started back about three weeks before their non medic peers. So more like 2 months rather than 3/4.

In terms of term time jobs during the first couple of years, part may depend on how much academic headroom she has. Some seem to need to work very hard, others not so much. She should check to see whether the University offers bursaries. She should also keep a diary of what she spends and consider how she could save. Coffee in a thermos, cook from scratch and have friends round rather than go out, search charity shops for suitable placement clothes, coach rather than train, review mobile contract etc.

Online tutoring is one way for med students to make money without too much commitment, though HCA work is also common.

mumsneedwine Tue 18-Feb-20 08:55:28

Problem for my DD of working in term time, besides the work load, is the unpredictable timetable. It changes every week. And lots of talks and society things that give medical opportunities are in the evenings.
She finished exams last year in early June and went back v late Sept so a good chunk
of time to work.

Needmoresleep Tue 18-Feb-20 09:26:16

It may depend on course. DDs is only five years so they had three weeks teaching after their summer exams and started placements at the beginning of September. At the start of her second year they had a three week module before the start of the autumn term, sioagain an early September start.

The warning was meant for OP. Not all medics get 3/4 months, and most get very little after the first couple of years.

mumsneedwine Tue 18-Feb-20 10:36:31

I do agree !!! All courses are so different. DD does 5 years too and this will be her last summer as Notts cram another degree in so they are at Uni next year. But she will have had 2 lovely long summers (as long as she passes her exams otherwise she'll be back in August 🥴).


Swingofthings Tue 18-Feb-20 17:28:58

DD works both during term time and when back home. She works at the local football ground, during the games. Many students do so, including a number of medicine students. The big advantage is that they work whichever days they wish, so don't have to work during the holidays or during exam weeks. It works well.

She also works in a nursing home when she is back home. She worked there for two years before going to Uni, so they know her well. They are always short of staff so although never promised shifts, she usually ends up being called quite a lot. Last summer, she worked 40h + weeks and was able to save quite a lot.

Needmoresleep Tue 18-Feb-20 17:42:36

DD seems to have drawn a short straw. Two shortish holidays and then next summer, a negative holiday. Her intercalation degree, if she gets a place, lasts a full academic year, starting with a summer school in August. Her course ends at the end of July but she has to then write some sort of paper/dissertation around the final three week placement. Ergo she is going to end up essentially with course commitments from two institutions at the same time, and no break.

I have no idea why she has so many extra weeks. She seems to have to work quite hard, and was completely shattered after the 16 week autumn term.

Perhaps the answer is to go to a city with a couple of large football grounds....

I think the answer for OP is that it might be possible but it can be tricky. DD could probably manage some term time work if she put her mind to it, but it does get harder in clinical years and she would have to stop playing sport for the University which is the way she switches off.

justdeckingthehalls1 Tue 18-Feb-20 19:33:23

I worked every holiday and during term time when doing my medical degree.

It wasn't particularly easy, but was definitely doable. Part of the difficulty was being surrounded by so many privately educated students whose parents bank rolled them entirely. There is a lot of privilege and entitlement at med school, and the contrast could be quite galling.

I did nursing home work, hospital bank shifts and pub shifts.

The pay off was that once we qualified, I was a million times better equipped to handle it than my peers. Many had never really experienced the world of work (being a med student really doesn't prepare you for being a doctor in a practical sense) and had quite poor skills in terms of surviving the working world.

Decorhate Tue 18-Feb-20 21:59:36

Dd has worked most holidays - shop, cafe & barwork. Enough to keep her in pocket money & to supplement her loan. She doesn’t do a lot of work in termtime. Mainly as a helper on open days. Next summer is the first one she won’t have much time off.

Dr0007 Tue 18-Feb-20 22:17:37

What @justdeckingthehalls1 said.

I worked both term time and hoidays. I did office temping/waitressing/nursing home. It was extremely tiring and had to be super organised as the timetables can be so unpredictable and subject to last min rescheduling.So many bank rolled by parents, however, I don't think this was the worst thing in the world. They had time to socialise and build really strong bonds with their peers which is very important too - and something I probably missed out on. It's great learning soft skills, but there has to be a happy medium.

HoppingPavlova Wed 19-Feb-20 10:57:00

Speaking from experience but over 30 years ago now, most of us worked in nursing homes. Night shift was most common and you would sleep at the desk and alternate awake time with the staff member rostered on unless there was an issue that required both of you to be up and about. Doubt you’d be able to get away with it these days?

Also allowed lots of quiet undisturbed time to get uni work done as most residents slept through the night and to be honest those that didn’t were generally given pharmacological assistance to do so. Occasionally, someone would have issues that needed tending during the night and the odd one would pass away, expected or unexpected. So you couldn’t guarantee having a sleep in the shift or getting your uni work done but we were able to do so more often than not. Probably have some time stamped checks you have to do nowhmm?

alreadytaken Thu 20-Feb-20 16:11:28

The last year can be financially quite difficult because the size of the loan is reduced, they have to fund an elective and they dont get paid immediately they start work. Also if they have non medic friends they have money to do more. So if possible they should work in the early years, leaving the overdraft for when they really need it.

It is a lot more difficult to work in the later years when they have shorter holidays although most of my child's friends who didnt work in the early years tended to find work then. I guess BOMAD got exhausted.

Tutoring is lucrative if they can get it. The NHS have bank staff, the work is better paid than most student jobs and the experience is useful. Apply well in advance so all the checks are completed before the summer. There used to be jobs on advice lines, with the Blood transfusion service, health care assistants, even admin work - check what is available now.

Event work is flexible and some do that.

Decorhate Thu 20-Feb-20 16:44:46

@alreadytaken The other expense at the end of final year is possibly a car, depending on their F1 allocation

Monica53 Thu 20-Feb-20 17:21:46

All replies are so appreciated! I’m so frustrated with our Dd, neither looking for work or getting involved with uni work for open days etc and they were ambassador for their sixth form college. Think they believe money grows on trees!! Have sent them link for NHS bank work? Also not even looking for work for summer! So will have very little money also little experience of ‘life’ so frustrating

OP’s posts: |
mumsneedwine Thu 20-Feb-20 17:40:49

Depending when exams are they could try and become an open day helper at Uni. Or is there a local theme park or place where busier in the summer. HCA work was amazing for DD as she worked with dementia patients and carried out all their care. 13 hour shifts and hard work, but helped this year when studying dementia as she knew a lot of the drugs and symptoms.

Decorhate Thu 20-Feb-20 19:25:15

@Monica53 There is plenty of time to sort out a summer job (unless you live somewhere remote...) Pubs & restaurants wont be hiring yet as they won’t know what gaps they need to fill. I think dd emailed various local establishments around May. Other places that start advertising around Easter are uniform shops & shoe shops.

alreadytaken Fri 21-Feb-20 10:03:02

Plenty of time to get any old summer job - but the NHS application process takes months.She might see the advantage of doing something medicine related.

The problem with medicine is that there are spoilt rich kids and your child will think it is unfair that they are made to work. Learning that life is unfair and you need to get over it is a valuable life lesson. They are very privileged to have a good home and parents who support them and this is just another example of your child testing the boundaries as all children do.

Tell them your boundaries, show them this thread saying they need more money later and you will not be able to give it/ you need to save what you have for then. Maybe point her to some of the student room threads where students say how little they live on/ how they wish someone would support them.

They can check out the psychology department at university, they may pay students to participate in experiments.

If this year has been bumpy they may have some motivational issues/ it may not be wise to try to do anything in term time but they need to work some of the holidays.

I'd also agree with the comment about adapting to their first F1 job better if they have worked previously - and yes they will want a car, whether it is strictly necessary or not.

Decorhate Fri 21-Feb-20 10:08:55

@alreadytaken Yes it took dd a few years to realise that many of her classmates are from very wealthy families - they go on multiple foreign holidays over the summer and never get jobs. I’m assume they have very generous allowances. Tbh, regardless of our income I would not expect her to be lolling about all summer while dh & I are working to support her!

Needmoresleep Fri 21-Feb-20 11:24:20

Decorhate, off topic a little, but wonder whether this varies by Med school and to some extent reflects the admissions process. The large majority from DDs independent school went on to BMAT med schools, I assume because BMAT is relatively easier if you are taking four or five STEM A levels and have access to good preparation. At the time DDs med school required neither UKCAT nor BMAT and had relatively low grade requirements and a wide reach for its contextual offers. So a huge number of applicants (in her year it was 17 applicants per place) and no relative advantage for those from the independent sector.

The end result is that Londoners are thin on the ground, and she is the only one she knows from a big name private school, and indeed the first for a decade from her school to gain a place.

Her discovery is that others don't seem to understand the London concept of property rich, cash poor.... and probably won't unless they choose to practice in London. So friends, one or two of whom have sneakily looked up the value of our (three bed terrace) house on Zoopla, question why DD does not have more money to splash around. She is equally surprised at how much money some have to spend, often it seems when the parents cannot really afford to give their DC that much. She knew some fabulously rich kids growing up, but the ones she was friendly with tended to underplay it, battered old mobile phones etc, and hang out with the more ordinary kids, work hard at school and then adopt a similar profile at University.

Which does not mean that there were not kids who turned up to school with (two) brand new iPhones having paid someone queue overnight to buy the latest model, and mad stuff like that. Which actually was thought incredibly naff, and did not win friends. Equally DD has been surprised at kids who turned up with brand new and expensive cars as a reward for getting into medical school, despite the parents not, at least in central London terms, being that well off.

Hence my comment about frugality being as important as earning. There are plenty of kids who are spending more than they need to, and probably more than their parents can afford. DD took a gap year and those savings are still paying for bigger items such as laptops and phones. Having a bit more money is useful as it allows you to attend conferences, medic balls etc, but DD has achieved that by being careful with her money. DD is lucky in that coming from London makes it easier for her to opt for a specific intercalation near home and not available at her University, again something others might want to save for. But the money is spent buying takeaways, then time off rather than a part time job is probably preferable.

We expect the final year(s) to be harder financially, so reason to keep the BOMAD solvent till then.

I have been surprised by the different terms lengths. I knew Oxbridge terms were short but had not realised how big a variation there is. OP should note that a proportion of first years will need to resit in the summer. In terms of jobs, in her second year DD lived in the last student house in a nice residential street, with affluent families. I suggested that she put notes through the doors of those with small children advertising evening babysitting. She was too shy, but it would have been a convenient way to have earned money and be able to study at the same time.

Decorhate Fri 21-Feb-20 13:45:21

@Needmoresleep It’s an interesting question. Though I don’t know any medic students apart from dd and her friends so can’t really give much insight. I think that it is fair to say that most universities deemed to be the “best” have a high proportion of privately educated students. And dd has found that a huge percentage of the students she has encountered at her northern uni are from the SE. The ones living the trust fund lifestyle seem to have parents who are expats in the Middle East or are high earners in an area with lower property prices.

mumsneedwine Fri 21-Feb-20 14:05:46

Mine's worked since she was 16 so is used to earning her own money. She has found it strange that some of her medic friends have never had a paying job, but some do seem to have rich parents and she doesn't so has had to work if wanted a car and a bit of spare cash. But I think having to earn her own money has given her so many skills, especially dealing with patients (customer service skills are very transferable!).
See if any of your local care homes need HCAs as the work is hard but invaluable experience.

Needmoresleep Fri 21-Feb-20 14:29:19

I don't see why it is assumed that rich kids never have paying jobs. nor that somehow children from better off backgrounds lack transferable skills, simply by virtue of their parents having, say greater equity, albeit in a smaller house. Specifically, from observation, it is very common for DC of very successful London parents to have built impressive Linked In profiles before they start applying for graduate jobs, and indeed the assumption that they use their University summers constructively seems stronger than with many of DDs University peers.

The medical school DD attends used to demand significant work experience, so yes when she was 16 spent her summer working in a care home, then a gap year, and plenty of volunteering which she has carried on with.

I think DD would agree with Decorate's assessment that the ones living the trust fund lifestyle seem to have parents who are expats in the Middle East or are high earners in an area with lower property prices. The ready availability of money, and the way it seems to be used to signal some form of success/superiority, has surprised her as well. Whilst she finds it upsetting that some students seem to think they are entitled to a similar lifestyle when it is pretty obvious that their parents are struggling to provide the top ups.

None of DDs friends seem to be from the SE. Lots from the North, Belfast, Wales and the South West, some from the Midlands, and East Anglia. She says that the new intake, following a switch to relying heavily on UKCAT for admissions, looks quite different though she does not know them well. Presumably though the medical school is relying on linked schools, foundation years (which apparently produces some very good med students) and contextual offers to keep a good balance.

mumsneedwine Fri 21-Feb-20 14:35:15

Not sure I said any of that 😳. Some poor kids have not had jobs either. And some people have amazing skills without a job. It's got nothing to do with wealth. Just that some people have to work, some choose too and some are very very lucky in that bank of mum and dad can subsidise them. We were talking about the benefits of jobs so I mentioned them. Never said anyone couldn't have them without working.

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