Work experience is incredibly useful for finding out if you’re suited to medicine and where your specialty interests may lie. It also shows your commitment to becoming a surgeon and is a valuable part of your medical school application.
Finding clinical work experience
It can be hard to find clinical work experience, so you will need to be flexible about when and where you do it. Ideally, you should do work experience in an area of medicine in which you're interested. If this isn't possible, try other departments in hospitals, clinics or GP surgeries.
Work experience at hospitals
You will need to be at least 16-years-old for a work placement in a hospital. To find out whether your local hospital accepts work experience students, try contacting a work placement coordinator or the medical staffing department (also known as human resources).
If you're lucky enough to find work experience in a hospital setting, download our handout 'Information for Work Experience Students'. It explains how to behave during clinical work experience and when visiting an operating theatre, as well as terms and acronyms you may hear in and around the theatre.
Clinical work experience alternatives
If you can't find a placement shadowing a GP or hospital doctor, try gaining some work experience in a healthcare setting such as a local nursing home, hospice or rehabilitation clinic - doing paid or voluntary work.
If you can’t find a formal work experience placement, try volunteering at a hospital after school or at the weekend for non-clinical activities. Also consider volunteering at care homes or day care centres (in London, you might like to have a look at Keeping in Touch).
You might also want to consider getting involved with the St John's Ambulance, the Red Cross, or other similar organisations. Consider using the national volunteering database – do-it.org – to search for an opportunity that works for you.