Are you thinking of a career in medicine? If you’re looking to break into a professional medical career, you’ll know that it can be a very competitive field. We’ve streamlined the main information on how to get into the medical profession, whether you want to practice as a GP, train as a surgeon, or become qualified in any other professional healthcare career. Here are our top tips on breaking into the medical profession.
Get the relevant qualifications
Depending on what job you’re considering in the medical sector, there will be specific qualifications that will be essential for you to have acquired. If you want to become a GP in the UK, for instance, you’ll need to complete a five-year degree that’s recognised by the General Medical Council, a two-year foundation course consisting of general training, and three years of specialist training in general practice.
Following completion of your training, you’ll have to register with the General Medical Council and apply for a licence to practise as a GP. Check with your chosen medical school or university for entry requirements and advice.
The scenarios in a real-life hospital or practice are not going to follow those in your textbooks, so it’s important you get as much experience as you can. While most medical professions require a degree of practical experience, it’s always a good idea to go above and beyond to get that little bit extra.
This will not only give you an edge over other trainees competing for the same jobs as you, but it will also help you to become a better practitioner in the long-term. Facing new scenarios will prepare you for similar situations in the future and cause you less stress when they arise again. Don’t forget, however, to document all your relevant experience on your CV and portfolio.
Get the proper protection
As a medical professional, there will be a lot of responsibilities laying on your shoulders. You’ll likely have to make extremely challenging decisions and you’ll have people’s lives in your hands. Unfortunately, even with the best experience and intentions, things can go wrong in the operating theatre. It’s therefore in your best interests that you get good medical indemnity insurance should the worst happen while you’re working.
Part of gaining experience in the medical field is not only working in your chosen environment but asking the advice of senior colleagues and learning from them. Ask them about mistakes they’ve encountered and how to avoid them; ask them about their own career journey; ask them anything and everything to help equip you with the relevant skills and knowledge. Also, don’t shy away from asking difficult questions – it’s all part of the learning process.
As a junior doctor in a hospital, for instance, don’t be afraid to call on the senior consultant if you’re unsure of anything. Even if this is outside the consultant’s working hours, if it’s a life-or-death matter, you really want to be on the safe side. Regularly asking questions also keeps the consultant updated and informed on patients.
Have the right attitude
It’s all very well gaining the relevant qualifications and experience, but being a medical practitioner requires a lot more than that. You need to have the right people skills and the correct attitude. We’re all familiar with the term ‘bedside manner’, and you’ll know that having a good and sympathetic form of that is considered good medical practice.
If you want to practise medicine, you should be compassionate but also able to maintain an air of professionalism. Also, as a medical professional, you’ll have to interpret complex diagnoses and then describe them clearly and simply to patients. It’s therefore important that you’re not only sympathetic, but that you’re able to communicate well on a personal level.
The medical profession can be very competitive. Follow our top tips to help you reach your career goals.