Is a career in medicine right for me?
A career in medicine opens the door to a huge range of interesting and rewarding careers from working as a General Practitioner in the community to specialising in one of the many medical fields in hospitals, teaching and research. In this article, we provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not this is the career for you.
Is there much demand for doctors?
Yes, due to a growing and ageing population, overall employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 13 percent faster from 2016 to 2026 than the average for all occupations.
Do you have what it takes to be a medic?
An interest in lifelong learning and providing quality healthcare along with the ability to handle life and death decisions on the spot is essential. Clear communication skills and the capacity to work as a team with colleagues from a wide range of disciplines is also required. Patients may need to disclose private details of their health so you must be able to connect well emotionally with them. A good medic has to plan and organise their time effectively whilst being adaptable and flexible where necessary. Finally, resilience and the willingness to continue working after your shift has finished if necessary are also important.
What does a doctor do?
The role of a doctor typically includes duties such as patient contact, administrative roles, charting, teaching, meetings and community outreach activities. In a typical day, a doctor may see around 20 patients with a huge range of conditions from a simple rash to a life-threatening heart condition. Careful questioning and a sound knowledge of patients’ medical history and lifestyle is required in order to accurately diagnose any conditions they may have and ensure effective treatment.
What skills and training do you need?
To work in medicine, you must have an approved medical degree- this takes five years, (four if this is your second undergraduate degree.) Following this, there are two years of post-graduate foundation training, followed by three to seven years of specialist training. A DBS check is also required.
How do you get into medical school?
To get into medical school is highly competitive, with high grades in four subjects at A level or equivalent required. Three of these must be in science and maths. Many medical schools also
require you to take an exam called UCAT, UKCAT or BMAT. These stand for UK Clinical Aptitude Test or Biomedical Admissions Aptitude Tests. There is also A Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). Thorough preparation for the exam and interview is essential. Relevant work experience and completion of extra-curricular activities which demonstrate your commitment to the role are also important. Further information on all of these aspects may be found in the relevant blogs.
In short, working in medicine is not a career decision to be taken lightly. However, it promises a rewarding career for those who have the skills, attributes and determination to succeed in this highly respected profession.