Work Experience at Imperial College London School of Medicine in the context of COVID-19
This page is aimed at answering your questions regarding work experience and how to get relevant information about healthcare during a global pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the experience have to be medically related?
No definitely not. We look for “future medics” who have participated fully in school or college life. They have made the most of the opportunities available and can reflect on experiences of society beyond their immediate environment and can demonstrate they understand what it is like to work in a responsible, caring role (engaging with a wide range of people, displaying some of skills and attributes essential to be a successful doctor, including teamwork, leadership, good communication skills, resilience, commitment and empathy)
Is gaining online experience as useful as in-person experience?
The clinical environment is changing rapidly and with the increase of online clinics and appointments being conducted remotely, gaining online experience can be as useful as in person experience. Providing the online work experience gives you a useful insight into what a future career as a healthcare professional can involve, it can be just as useful as in person work experience. We are looking at your understanding of the profession and of caring roles more generally and there are a number of virtual experiences that can give you a very good idea of this.
What alternatives can I explore if I can’t undertake clinical work experience?
- Observe GP is a suitable element of relevant experience supported by the Medical School Council.
- Online resources and experiences are useful to gain an insight into the medical profession.
- Brighton and Sussex medical school offer an outreach BSMS Virtual work experience.
What is different about gaining work experience in the context of COVID-19?
It has been more difficult for many to gain work experience in healthcare settings due to COVID-19. Hospitals and surgeries have stopped opportunities for clinical observation and there have been less opportunities for volunteering. You may need to look at alternative resources to gain insight into clinical work such as online platforms or work in a setting where you have interacted with the general public or evidence of working successfully within a team.
It’s important to remember that all new applicants to medicine at the moment will be in the same situation and that medical schools are aware of this, and will be understanding.
How to make the most of work experience
Keep a reflective diary
- Keeping a reflective diary allows you to reflect on what you have observed and show an understanding of the skills and attributes a career in medicine requires.
- Consider – what did you enjoy about your work experience, what did you find challenging (and why)?; reflect on the way the professionals/ volunteers you were observing communicated with each other and the people they were caring for – what was done well, what could have been improved on?
- How could you use this experience in a future career in medicine? What insights did you gain into caring for other people? What will you find challenging or enjoy about this? How did the professionals show their commitment to the role? How did they deal with challenging aspects of the role? How would you deal with these aspects?
Decide beforehand what you want to get out of it
- Focus on areas that you want to observe or reflect on and ask your supervisor when organising, or at the start of the work experience if there will be opportunities for this
- Think about how you’ll talk about your work experience in your interview and UCAS Personal Statement
- We are less interested in the details of what you have done, than what you have understood about the environment your work experience was in and how this has given you insights into what a career in medicine involves, both the good and the bad.
- We would encourage reflective consideration of your work experience in your UCAS statement, and in your interview.
What our Admissions Staff say about work experience
Professor Kevin Murphy, Admissions Tutor
Relevant work experience is really useful to help students make up their mind if this is the career for them, and well as helping them understand the skills they will need to study medicine and become a doctor.
Professor Shahid A Khan, Director of Admissions
As important, if not more, as what you do, is what you take away from your experience after reflecting. What do you think are the pros and cons of a medical career having experienced what you did? How did the experience affect your choice to apply for Medicine?
Dr Heather Lewis, Admissions Tutor
Work experience is really important to help you understand what working in a responsible, caring profession really involves. It can help you decide whether medicine is the right career for you.