Factors to consider when thinking about a career in the Healthcare sector:
Graduate entry medicine & nursing
Graduate entry medicine – courses last four years as opposed to the ‘traditional’ route embarked on by school leavers which last for a minimum of five years. Competition for places is particularly fierce – many Medical schools report well over 1,000 applications for only 50 places. Graduates can also apply for the standard five year medical courses – applicants should consider the cost involved in embarking on a medical degree, as this can be considerable.
Graduate entry nursing – nursing is becoming an increasingly popular career choice for graduates from all degree disciplines. Not only is it a career in itself with all sorts of development opportunities and career progression, but it can sometimes be used as a springboard for other career areas e.g. counselling, genetic counselling, midwifery etc. Courses last approximately two years. Graduates can also apply for the standard three year undergraduate courses.
Gaining work experience is a key part of preparing to apply for medical courses. It can be used to demonstrate evidence of skills, particularly those essential to a doctor, such as dealing with people and working in teams. It is an opportunity to show you have a real understanding of the NHS and the role of a doctor and have looked beyond the stereotypes portrayed in the media.
It can be difficult to get work shadowing with GPs or hospital doctors because of issues of confidentiality. Medical schools are aware of this and consequently, this is not a prerequisite of being accepted onto any course.
Useful work experience might include:
Essentially, you need to prove to selectors that you have had exposure to working with THE PATIENT, that this exposure has given you an insight both into the needs of the patient and the skills needed to work as a doctor or nurse and that you have reflected on your experience and realise why this has been valuable.
These can include:
In preparing for GAMSAT or the other tests that individual institutions may require you to take, do look at some practice questions in books and on websites.
During the test, follow the instructions and work steadily. There are three sections, two multiple choice and one written paper. There are no deductions for wrong answers and all questions have the same value. The writing test will be marked on thought and content, organisation and expression and will be assessed by several independent assessors.
Non-Science graduates may need to read relevant science books in preparation.
Interviews will usually consist of a panel, which will often include a current medical student. Warwick sends a supplementary form before the interview. King’s give a further questionnaire and then do not ask about those questions. An Ethical issue will be discussed. The panel will be looking for motivation, personality, an understanding of medical careers/issues and communication skills. Last year, Nottingham introduced a Speed Interview process – think speed dating, but getting a place on a course instead. This is increasingly becoming known as MMI – Multiple Medical Interviews. Feedback from this suggests that it is a difficult process. It’s important to always research the interview style of each institution – different organisations try different methods each year in an attempt to make the interview process as effective, as focussed and as informed as possible.
Interviews can vary between institution – from very casual affairs where you would be asked to talk about yourself and your motivations to quite structured sessions where preparation on skills and motivations would be essential. Typical questions (all have been asked at interviews for Cardiff University and University of Glamorgan courses) can include:
Some interviews may include an essay question and a maths test – you will be told about this when you are invited to interview. An example essay question for Cardiff University is “Why do you want to do this particular branch of nursing?” The emphasis is on the structure of the essay as well as the content.