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Why is online medical work experience great?

Why is online medical work experience great?

Holly Melvin
4th Year Medical Student at The University of Manchester, Instagram account: @that.girl.medic
January 7, 2022

Online medical work experience

Work experience is a key part of your application to study medicine at universities; you need to have it and then reflect well on it for your personal statement and during an interview. 

Organising work experience in a medical setting during a pandemic can be a complete nightmare. Online medical work experience can provide the perfect solution to avoid the logistical nightmares of in-person work experience and still allow you to get the most of your experience whilst you’re there. 

It doesn’t matter if you only do online medical work experience for one or two days. If you can ask the right questions and reflect well on what happens, you will have more than enough to talk about at the interview and in your personal statement.

In this article, I will discuss online medical work experience, the benefits of online work experience, why it is important, and if medical schools count online medical work experience in the same way they count in-person medical work experience. Hopefully, this article will help you to weigh up whether to arrange online or in-person work experience and help you to get as much out of it as you can.

Online Medical Work Experience Advantages

  • Much easier to arrange
  • More patient contact
  • Easily accessible with a medical condition
  • Remote location is not a problem
  • The comfort of your own home
  • Insight into the medical profession

Benefits of online medical work experience

There are many benefits to organising online medical work experience, and in this section, I will cover a couple. This is not an exhaustive list, and I am sure you will be able to think up more yourself. It’s important that you are aware of all the benefits so you can weigh up your decision and decide if online work experience is the best type of work experience for you. 

Much easier to arrange

This is definitely no secret. Online medical work experience is much easier to arrange than in-person placements. You just need to choose a course and attend it. That’s it. For this reason, I believe online work experience is really for everyone because who doesn’t need more medical work experience? 

More patient contact

During an online medical work experience placement, you will likely get more patient interaction than you would in a hospital or a GP surgery. During an in-person placement, you usually follow a very busy doctor that has no time for you, let alone supervise your patient contact. Because of this, you may end up not getting any insight or space to ask any questions. However, doctors that teach online work experience courses are there for you and dedicate their time to you.

A&E Live

Live online A&E medical work experience course for students aged 15+

Ward Round Live

Virtual hospital work experience course for students aged 15+

GP Live

Live online GP work experience course for students aged 15+

Easily accessible with a medical condition

If you are clinically vulnerable or unable to receive the vaccination or live with someone who is clinically vulnerable/immunosuppressed, then online work experience may be the best option. It means you can still get a good idea of what the medical world is like without exposing yourself or your loved one to unnecessary risk.

If you live in a remote location

Perhaps you live somewhere quite remote and far away from hospitals. By doing online work experience, you will still be able to gain all the necessary insight and reflections you need, without the hassle of having to organise transport, somewhere to stay etc.

The comfort of your own home

You can do it from the comfort of your home! By doing online work experience, you can do it wherever you feel most comfortable and relaxed, which will help you to get the most out of your work experience. You can have a notepad/word document open next to your screen of experience and write down your thoughts and reflections in real-time, which will make it easier when it comes to writing your personal statement and preparing for your interviews.

Insight into the medical profession

Online work experience will still allow you to access important aspects of the medical profession, which you need to reflect on for your personal statement and interviews (such as Interactions with patients, interactions between different health care professionals in a multidisciplinary team (MDT), insight into the challenges of medicine and help with questions that may come up in your medical school interviews such as “why medicine / why do you want to become a doctor”)

Why is medical work experience important?

Medical schools want you to have work experience for a variety of reasons. It shows that you are motivated and committed to the profession and willing to go the extra mile and take matters into your own hands, which are important attributes to have as a medical student and as a doctor. It shows a level of hard work and dedication which is necessary for you to succeed. 

Medical work experience is also important because it helps you make sure that you actually want to do medicine. 

Watching 24 hours in A&E or being a patient in your local GP surgery may have made you interested in medicine. Still, until you have work experience in a medical setting and see things first-hand for yourself, it can be difficult to know if this is a profession you will be passionate about and willing to commit a great number of years of your life to study for and working in. 

Online and In-Person medical work experience

As a general rule of thumb, at the moment, UK medical schools understand and recognise the additional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents when organising work experience. As such, they are accepting online work experience as an alternative. 

The most important thing of all is not where the work experience is or how long it was, but what you have managed to take away from it. Make sure you put the time and effort into writing insightful and engaging reflections on your experience, as medical schools care much more about this than about how your medical work experience was arranged. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, online work experience is a really good alternative to in-person work experience and has many benefits, so it is an option you should seriously consider. As with all work experience, the most important thing is to reflect, reflect, reflect!

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