Why Medicine for Graduates in other Healthcare Professions?
Advice & Insight From Medicine Application Specialists
The common interview question” why do you want to study medicine?” is dreaded by most medical applicants. How do you find something unique to say avoiding cliches and seeming honest and natural? It’s not easy! This frequently used question can be extra challenging for graduate students or those currently working as a different healthcare professional. The difficulty is coming up with unique reasons for why you want to pursue a career in medicine when many of the motivations to work in your current role overlap with those to become a doctor.
Reflect on your work experience
The goal during your interview is to show the admissions tutor that your decision to apply to medicine was informed and well thought through. Aim to use evidence from personal experiences that motivated you to want to study medicine. This makes your answer more comprehensive and reassuring. During work experience placements or at work speak to medical students, junior doctors, and consultants about their individual motivations. Within most multi-disciplinary teams there are individuals who have transitioned to a career in medicine from other health-based careers. They will have interesting insights to share. These conversations give you the opportunity to ask questions about how peoples current roles and responsibilities differed from what they did in the past, giving you ideas of things to say during the interview. It is useful to state that you observed the work of doctors, meaning you can demonstrate an understanding of the challenges and benefits of studying medicine.
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Don’t neglect your strengths
For many individuals, a desire to help vulnerable people is a strong motivation to study medicine. In all caring-based jobs everyone in the team is responsible for providing compassionate, patient centred care to a variety of vulnerable patients. It is useful to frame your past experiences as strengths. The skill and ability to have strong communication skills and work in teams will be transferable. Aim not to neglect this motivation as a reason for studying medicine. Rather explain how you would like to continue in a career where you can utilise your skills.
Consider the roles and responsibilities of doctors
It may seem arrogant and egocentric to suggest that the role of a doctor is “better” than your past role. As the leader of many multidisciplinary teams, doctors are perceived as the most experienced and knowledgeable members of their team. Clearly this is not the case, as nurses and health care assistants spend more time with a patient so may understand their preferences, concerns, and needs more thoroughly. However, many people feel that they possess the characteristics of an effective leader which will allow them to excel when leading and co-ordinating teams. A doctor uses the inputs and contributions of others to make the ultimate decision with a patient using shared decision making. It is acceptable to admit that you strive to have more responsibility and authority.
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Discuss life long learning
To become a doctor as a graduate, you must complete at minimum 4 additional years at university. During this time, you will be academically challenged and learning medical sciences including anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. Having a curiosity to learn and understand more about a patient’s conditions using clinical reasoning is an excellent reason to want to study medicine.
Research your future opportunities
The variety of opportunities within medicine may be more diverse than within your current career. Medical graduates must be creative and willing to find new answers to old problems. Medics must be able to engage with constantly developing research findings. During the pandemic we have observed doctors at the forefront of public health and science-based research projects. A career in medicine allows you to take a senior role in these projects directly applying your scientific aptitude and knowledge. A medicine degree provides several alternative career opportunities which you can express an interest in. Consider how a medical degree may facilitate you to engage with a clinical academic career, work abroad or volunteer using your skills and knowledge. Moreover, within medicine itself there is a real range of roles and specialities available which may be broader than those in your current career. There are 29 different medicine pathways you can specialise in as well as surgery, public health, as a GP and many other potential roles.