So you have decided that you want to pursue a career in medicine? Congratulations on making the first step – obtaining work experience or shadowing within a general practice surgery. Medical Schools can award extra points to applicants who have some work experience this does not necessarily have to be in a GP surgery but could be in a nursing home or hospice or indeed any type of voluntary work. We have designed this booklet for school pupils who like you have been accepted or are seriously thinking about applying to medical school. It contains some useful contact details, university information and also guidance on work observation, on ethics and confidentiality and how you should conduct yourself during your observation.
Becoming a Doctor
It is up to each university to satisfy themselves that each entrant has the academic attainment and attitudinal abilities necessary to benefit from the course.
Medicine is a rewarding career path; however, being a Doctor involves a lifetime of learning, both formally and informally. Doctors have to update their knowledge and skills throughout their careers. In terms of the training period at present, it can take up to 12 years to progress within structured training – from studying medicine at undergraduate level to being appointed as a Senior Doctor (hospital Consultant); GP status may be obtained in 10 years.
In general you are expected to be polite and courteous to all staff and patients alike, much as you would be expected to do at school. You will also have some additional responsibilities while on your placement.
It is your responsibility to ensure that:
- You understand that patient confidentiality must be maintained at all times.
- You take care of yourself and others.
- You respect the privacy and dignity of all patients.
- You co-operate fully with any member of practice staff.
- You do not interfere with anything provided for your safety.
You are expected to behave as a responsible adult at all times. You should be aware that inappropriate behaviour may result in you being asked to leave at any point during your placement.
It is important that you look smart for the duration of your placement. Use common sense when deciding what to wear. The following information is given as guidance but if you are unsure it is important that you discuss this with your practice contact before arriving at work.
- Trainers or flat shoes.
- Shirt or jumper or smart sweatshirt.
- Smart trousers in good repair. Female observers may wear a knee length skirt which is not too tight.
- Jeans are not allowed.