Medicine Personal Statement skills

Advice & Insight From Personal Statement Specialists

A good personal statement frequently refers to the core competencies you have and need to possess when entering medical schools. When applying to study medicine you are not only signing up for 5 years of academic study, but you are committing to joining a trusted profession. Admissions tutors need to ensure that their offers are given to students who have the skills and attributes needed to study and practice medicine.  They are looking to recruit students who already have traits and skills which can be developed to transform these academic individuals into effective clinicians.

The skills to mention in your personal statement

You need a clear idea of what the core competencies of an aspiring physician are. Write a skills list. The best way to approach listing the skills needed by medical students is to look at the statement produced by the Medical School Councils – “Statement on core values and attributes needed to study medicine”. This document has been produced to outline some of the skills that admissions tutors are looking for in potential students.

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Understanding how different skills are used/ needed by doctors

Understanding why these skills are relevant for doctors is also useful. One approach is to consider personal observations of these skills. In addition, the General Medical Council release several guidelines which outline the skills and behaviours expected by doctors registered under the GMC. For example, one of the four domains described in the document is communication, partnership, and teamwork. This section clearly outlines the integrity of these skills when practicing medicine.

Linking your experiences to your skills in your personal statement

For each experience you want to reflect on what skill you developed and why this will be relevant for a career in medicine. In order to do this, it might be useful to brainstorm both a skills list and an experience checklist:

  • Your work experience placements
    • What skills did you see doctors using and if/how did this change your perception of medicine?
    • On work experience placements how did you develop skills needed to be a doctor. Any work experience placement will involve interactions with a wide variety of people meaning you are likely to have improved your communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Voluntary placements/ paid work:
    • Volunteering or working in a caring or service role is a great way to develop the skills of a doctor. For each experience list all the skills you used/ developed. Talking about what skills you learnt not only shows you are insightful but show your potential to become an excellent doctor.
  • Extracurricular activity:
    • Activities such as Duke of Edinburgh, ASDAN, National Citizen Service, Crest Award schemes and young enterprise are great ways to develop transferable skills. What skills have you gained when partaking sport and music groups?
  • Super curricular activities
    • Remember not all skills are interpersonal – there are several skills which you may have developed to help you adapt to the academic demands on the career. What skills are needed for independent study and research?

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Approaches to writing about your skills in your Personal Statement

  • A pitfall when writing your personal statement can be to not focus on the positives. Admissions tutors want to know what skills you have rather than those you don’t have.
  • Use writing about your skills as an opportunity to show insightfulness and reflectiveness. Are there any skills you lacked and have subsequently developed – how have you gone about doing this?
  • Writing about your skills in categories can make your personal statement flow more smoothly – Consider the following categories:
    • Interpersonal skills: Communication, teamwork, empathy, consciousness, ability to take responsibility for actions.
      • Being emotionally competent underpins success as a physician consider what skills you have that aid this.
    • Skills to cope with the demands of the career: Resilience, personal organisation, dealing with uncertainty, insightful into your health and wellness.
    • Individual skills: Insightful, time management, prioritization, concentration, organization, motivation, dependable, flexible
    • Skills for academic success: Problem solving, academic ability.

Medicine Personal Statement skills

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