Virtual Work Experience: What and Why?

Work experience is a big part of the medical school application and it’s important that you do some to ensure you know what a career in medicine is like. Work experience shows commitment and determination, and allows you to gain a deeper awareness and appreciation of what your future career will look like. However, getting work experience is tough, especially getting work experience in a clinical setting following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinical work experience is not a requirement for all medical school applications, but universities do want to see that you have done some relevant work experience. One good way to do this is to do virtual work experience.

What are the benefits of virtual work experience?

  • It can be challenging to find in-person work experience, but completing work experience shows that you have actively tried alternative methods to develop an understanding of the role.
  • You can do it from home, or wherever you feel comfortable
  • If you live in a more remote or rural location, virtual work experience can be a great way to get an insight into medicine without having to travel very far
  • Shows motivation for studying medicine!

Setting goals when doing virtual work experience

When doing any work experience, it’s a good idea to have some goals for what you want to achieve. If you are doing in-person work experience shadowing a doctor, ask questions to learn more about their role in different teams, what their typical day looks like, and what they enjoy most and least about being a doctor. You can reflect on these experiences at interview – after all, you should be able to show that you fully understand what being a doctor in the future means, the structure of the NHS, and how doctors collaborate with other healthcare professionals. If you are doing virtual work experience, then you might be interacting with this a little differently, but you can learn equally as valuable things.

Ultimately, you need to show the interviewers what have you learnt and how has this made you decide that you want to study medicine.  

For any work experience, it’s a good idea to keep a log of reflections so you can review this later: what did you learn, what did you take away from the experience, how has this influenced you? Whatever you learnt from each experience, make sure to write it down!

Virtual Work Experience Opportunities

We’ve curated this list of virtual work experiences for you to try:

The following have not been produced by universities or medical institutions, but still may be useful:

Written by Alessia Kostiw

Hi, my name is Alessia and I’ve just graduated from the University of Leicester. I’m very passionate about widening participation in Medicine and hope to help as many people as I can! In my free time, I enjoy running and baking!