The University of Sheffield
The Medical School

Relevant Work Experience

A good Personal Statement will include information on your relevant work experience. Medical Schools expect applicants to have a range of work experience for two reasons. Firstly, this demonstrates that you have a realistic insight to the profession – you are after all committing to a lifetime career when you apply to study Medicine. It is important that you have an understanding of the complex nature of a doctor's role, as well as being aware of the highs and lows of the profession.

Work experience is also important in enabling you to develop (and to demonstrate that you have) the relevant skills and qualities that are essential to becoming a good doctor. A few examples are listed below.

• Communication skills
• A sense of service to the community
• A sense of responsibility
• Self-insight
• Enthusiasm
• Perseverance
• Ability to overcome setbacks
• Ability to work independently
• Experience of working with diverse groups

We recognise that it is not always possible for students to obtain work placements in a medical environment given the limited availability of volunteer placements in hospitals and similar clinical settings. However, in addition to shadowing a GP or other medical practitioner, there are many other areas related to medicine in which you can gain experience. Some examples of these are listed below.

• Paid or voluntary work experience in a residential care home, hospice or similar.
• Working in a youth centre or working with young children.
• Participating in community volunteering schemes.
• Working with a diverse range of people (whether on a paid or voluntary basis).

Participatory work experience (not simply observing, but a 'hands on' role) is extremely valuable. Many applicants arrange to undertake paid or voluntary work as a Healthcare Assistant. Whatever work experience you have, it is important that you reflect effectively on this in your Personal Statement.

Your Personal Statement should communicate not only what meaningful activities you have undertaken, but also what you have learned from these experiences. e.g. how they have changed reinforced your views. Discussing a highlight or poor experience is welcomed. We are not looking for a rota of the duties your job or project involved! Your Personal Statement should highlight how this insight to healthcare will enable you to become a good medical practitioner in the future.