Work experience within the NHS
Without a doubt, the best thing that you can do, in terms of preparing for a career with the NHS, is to get some on the job work experience. You could also undertake voluntary work, if you liked, in an area of health and social care and gain essential skills and experience that way.
Work experience, and voluntary work, will show you whether or not you are actually cut out for a career in medicine, and whether or not you would still like to pursue your chosen path after having a real world ‘taster’. These experiences can also show you what medical schools, and indeed employers, are looking for when making course or job applications.
You should speak to your school’s careers teacher about possible connections between the school and local NHS employers, and see if they offer work experience placements.
Making it pay to gain the experience that you need
For many people, work experience or voluntary work may not be a realistic option because of the need to generate an income. For school leavers there are vacancies with the NHS, that allow for ‘on the job’ training:
● Domestic and catering services
There may also be cadet programmes with some NHS trusts, aimed at trainee healthcare assistants, nursing support staff and more.
With all of these positions, you will be able to train and develop existing skills whilst you work, and earn a living. To learn more about this you can visit NHS Jobs at the website.
So, what does work experience with the NHS actually involve?
This is going to depend entirely on the type of work experience placement that you do. For instance, If you take a placement in healthcare then you might end shadowing, or following, a doctor or physiotherapist around the wards as they go about their daily duties, tasks and while they are treating patients.
Alternatively, if you work in administration then you could go and see how the payroll system works in the office.
Whichever way you go, medical or more administrative, you are going to be supervised at all times, so you will never be left standing in the corner looking lost - nor will you just be watching others, as you will be given tasks to perform and a certain amount of responsibility.
The point of the exercise is to get out of the experience as much as possible, and that means putting in as much as you can too. Nothing ever worth having ever came without effort, determination and healthy amount of self motivation.
Working with the NHS is an excellent way of gaining the experience that medical schools are going to be looking for, and as the best healthcare system in the world it is also perhaps the best place to begin a very rewarding career - whichever career path you may decide to take.