Skip to content
Medical student at James Alexander Medical Practice, Hull

Work experience

If you're applying to study Medicine with us, you may be wondering what kind of work experience we are looking for – so we have prepared this guide to help.


What experience we require

We advise applicants to have a range of relevant work experiences in health or social care settings or in areas that provide person facing interactions.

Clinical work experience is not an essential criteria for applying to our Medicine programmes. However, gaining work experience of caring or service provision or observing or working alongside healthcare or social care staff can be beneficial to a Medicine application and interview process. These work experiences can be paid or voluntary and occur across a variety of settings including hospitality, education, charity sector, general practices, hospitals, hospices, pharmacies, community voluntary organisations and care homes.

Work experience will allow you to demonstrate that you have a realistic understanding of Medicine, including the challenges of a medical career, the importance of teamwork and will help you to better understand some of the values, attitudes and behaviours essential to becoming a doctor.

Your work experience will also help you to demonstrate in your application and interview that you understand, and are committed to, teamwork and the social context of healthcare.

You should also explore both the positive and negative aspects of a medical career through talking to doctors and other healthcare professionals in different settings.

Work experience: A student's perspective

By Sarah Mahmood, Year 3 Medicine student

"My main priority whilst doing work experience was to think about whether I would be able to do this in the future and whether this is definitely the career path I want to take.

"Also, think about the qualities the doctor possesses and whether you have any of these qualities and how you have demonstrated them in the past. I learnt about the realities of medicine and the qualities the doctor possessed, for example: empathy, leadership and teamwork skills.

"An important aspect that I learnt was that each patient was different, highlighting the importance of patient-centred care, ensuring you tailor your practice to each patient's individual needs.

"Work experience alongside volunteering confirmed that Medicine was definitely the career I wanted to go into."

Sarah's experience and tips
Sarah Mahmood

Why do work experience?

Reflect on your experience

You may find it useful to record your experiences and your subsequent learning in a reflective diary.

You can download and, if you can, print the Royal College of General Practitioner’s reflective diary to reflect on any of your experiences and complete complementary activities.

The diary has been designed to be used as a guide during any ‘relevant experience’ including:

  • Primary care work experience at a GP practice
  • Secondary care work experience in a hospital setting
  • Completing the interactive video platform Observe GP
  • Voluntary work in a care home
  • Suitable paid employment
  • Informal conversations with healthcare professionals
  • Reading relevant literature or listening to relevant podcasts

You might also wish to personally reflect on how your experiences align to the NHS Constitution.

Where to start

How to get work experience

To get clinical work experience, you might find it useful to contact places in your area which relate to healthcare and prepare a short CV, saying that you are willing to volunteer.

Any volunteering or paid work that you undertake outside of healthcare settings will also be relevant in order to develop skills we are looking for in future doctors. Work related experience which requires you to have interactions with members of the public is always particularly useful.

We understand that current pressures on the NHS and safeguarding requirements may prevent you in accessing 'in-person' clinical work experience. The Medical Schools Council provides guidance about work experience.

We would also recommend taking part in the following online experiences: