Why get hospital work experience?


How Important Is Medical Work Experience?

Gaining work experience is important for potential medical students as it demonstrates that you have awareness of what working in the health service is really like.  As well as demonstrating your enthusiasm for your career choice, they are key skills which universities will be looking for in your UCAS form.

It will also give you a good opportunity to develop your communication skills and experience working with a huge range of people from all sorts of different backgrounds. 

The placement should help you to:

  • Support your university application
  • Help you decide whether you a career in healthcare is right for you
  • Gain a realistic awareness of the everyday realities of life in the health service
  • Acquire knowledge about your own abilities and limitations

Support your University Application

University Interview Material

Interviews relating to healthcare are all about demonstrating just how much you want to enter the profession, and how determined you are to succeed. At this stage it's less about your academic achievements but more about your motivations for studying medicine and demonstrating this with your experiences of being in a clinical environment. 

University Personal Statements

Many students use hospital shadowing projects as the perfect material to use in their personal statements and applications for medicine, nursing, midwifery and dentistry. It demonstrates that you are so passionate about a career in healthcare that you chose to volunteer your free time working in a hospital, and learning about healthcare is the best way to show any university how serious you are about the profession. 

International Work Experience

It goes without saying that there are numerous benefits to gaining work experience, as this provides scope for your continued growth and development. Becoming involved in experience in another country can be even more valuable, as it demonstrates you have courage and make bold decisions. You will find yourself out of your normal comfort zone and become exposed to different ways of working and cultures.

Skills you’ll learn from work experience abroad:

Problem-solving skills

As well as learning about the local culture, including the language, customs and traditions, you will meet with people from all over the world. Working with diverse people is a key soft skill in the modern business world.

Multicultural engagement

When faced with a problem abroad, an individual must use their own initiative and employ problem-solving skills on their own. This requires flexibility and creativity, key skills admissions tutors look for in a candidate.


Students who make the most of opportunities to study in a new place strengthen their ability to adapt. They work out how to settle in, acclimatize and adjust to their new environment. 

Global awareness

Learning about the art, cuisine and history of another culture develops your understanding of others; something vital to working and succeeding in the global business world

How Else Can You Use Your Work Experience?

Your work experience is not just useful for university applications – you will find throughout your career there are plenty of ways your time on placement can help you. 

  • Curriculum Vitae - you will be able to speak about your medical shadowing on your CV, particularly if you are applying for a health related part-time job such as medical scribing or a lab assistant.
  • Showcase your skills - even if you’re applying for a job that seems unrelated to healthcare, you may find that your placement has helped you develop skills such as teamwork, analytical thinking and empathy that could contribute to your success.