Rachael, Clinical Development Fellow
This is Rachael, a junior doctor from Fife who is now working in NHS Lothian. Here, she tells us about her experience of getting into medicine.
Hi, my name is Rachael. I am a doctor working in Edinburgh, and graduated from Edinburgh Medical School in 2013.
I went to a state school in Kirkcaldy which is in the east of Scotland and completed my highers and advanced highers. I was the only person applying for medicine from my year at school, so it took some digging on the internet and university prospectus’ to work out how to apply.
I had a hard time finding any work experience but I asked the school for help and they managed to organise for me to go into a GP practice. One of my family friends was in medicine and between her and my GP I got another couple of weeks in a hospital.
Although experience in hospitals is good, the best thing I did was probably volunteering in a hospice. They are always looking for volunteers so I just went in and asked if I could help.
I wanted to get experience outside of medicine too, so I taught gymnastics at my local club and volunteered as a classroom assistant. This really helped me learn how to talk to people of different age and teach effectively. All these extra skills helped with my application.
I went to the open days for medicine at Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities. These were useful as they helped me get a feel for the city and the university, and the structure of the course that they offered. Each medical school does thing their own way and it is important to find out what would suit you.
I had family and school teachers read over my personal statement to check for mistakes and to make sure it was as well written as it could be. If you are a bit frightened of the interviews then I found it really helpful to practice interview questions with anyone who would listen! Make sure you know why you are applying for medicine and why you want to go to that particular university.
I enjoyed my time as a medical student, and also got the opportunity to take a year out to complete a second degree in Medical Biology. Applying for medicine needs some perseverance but it is a rewarding career.