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Career Options in Medicine & Medical Sciences: Student

Wondering what you can do to help your career in medicine, medical sciences or research to get started whilst you’re studying? A spoonful of common sense helps the careers advice go down…

Undergraduate opportunities in medicine, medical sciences & research

- Internships (UK and overseas)

- University societies

- Volunteering

The demand for exceptional medical professionals who can pioneer the discovery and development of the latest medical technologies and treatments, and those who deliver these treatments and support to people with illnesses, means that there are a large number of internships available for students studying relevant degrees in the medicine, medical sciences and research sector.

We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that internships are going to make your CV look even juicier. The more practical experience you can gain in a medical area, particularly if it relates to a career path you want to follow when you graduate, can really be invaluable. Your university may advertise placements such as medical internships or internships in nursing, dentistry, physical therapy, radiography, midwifery or pharmacy. You can find these opportunities offered by a number of private organisations or charities too. 

Whilst at university, it’s a cracking idea to utilise the support network around you too, in order to help you gather up know-how on how to enter your career path of choice. If you haven’t joined the society that’s relevant to the area of medicine or medical sciences you’d like to follow, then get on and do it! Alongside the social jollies, there will also be the opportunity to attend events geared towards graduates wishing to enter medical professions.

Volunteering schemes and even peer mentoring at your university will help you to develop and demonstrate people skills that are essential to many areas within medicine and health care. Sensitivity, empathy and reason are all vital, as many roles within nursing, medical treatment, dentistry, counselling and pharmacy require the ability to communicate personal, and at times very difficult information well with people from all different backgrounds.

Top tips

There are some internship opportunities, such as those offered by organisations who arrange placements for you overseas, that you may have to pay for. Don’t be disheartened by this; you can explore your funding options through your university in the form of scholarships and bursaries, and external bodies such as research councils. There is a chance that if you are a high-performing student and you can make a good case for your internship wishes, you could receive some financial support to undertake these opportunities.

Deadlines to consider

Leave yourself a decent amount of time to arrange internships for the summer holidays if that’s what you’d like to do – especially if it will involve applying for funding and essential things like Visas. Research your options early on in the academic year. If you can get the ball rolling before the Christmas break then all the better to avoid clashes with your exams.

If you want to apply for postgraduate study, then research your options in the summer before your final year begins, or in the first few weeks back, as it’s like you will also have to consider funding applications as well. Applications for postgraduate study and research have to be very well thought out; it’s not something you should be bashing out on a whirlwind all-nighter!