Grant & Katy – Medical work experience abroad New
As you probably know, if you want to study medicine (or nursing or midwifery) you’ve got to have experience. We hear from two students who decided to take up hospital placements abroad with Gap Medics, gaining valuable work experience whilst finding out about life in another country.
Grant Rutledge, age 19, took part in a medical placement in Iringa, Tanzania and is now studying medicine at Aberdeen University. Katy Ellis, 17, joined the midwifery programme in Morogoro, Tanzania, and is currently studying her A levels. She hopes to go on to become a midwife.
Have you always been interested in pursuing a career in healthcare?
Grant: About three or four years ago I attended an open day and it was at this point that I realised I really needed to start thinking about what I wanted to do after school. The open day gave a lot of insight into what it would be like to be a doctor and it made me feel like it was something I really wanted to achieve. It was from this point that I really knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare.
Katy: When I first applied to Gap Medics, I knew that I was 99.9% sure that I wanted to be a midwife. I decided that my experience in Morogoro would clarify whether I definitely wanted to pursue this particular career or not. After my first few hours on placement I was 100% certain that midwifery was the only career choice for me and working in the hospital gave me the opportunity to fall in love with the idea of being a midwife from the very outset.
How did you find the application process for medical school? Do you have any tips for future students?
Grant: I actually applied to medical school twice, as my first round of applications was unsuccessful. Undeniably it was a disheartening experience but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about reapplying. The second time was easier in a sense, as I knew what they were looking for and what to expect in the interviews. Before reapplying I spent time undergoing several different placement experiences, one of them being a placement in Iringa, Tanzania with Gap Medics and this really added a lot to my application. I would say, out of the whole process the worst bit is waiting to hear whether or not you have been accepted!
I would advise any students thinking of applying for med school to really do their research before they do. Make sure you find and apply for a university that fits you as a person as well as your grades. Getting an offer is the most important step of the whole process, the interviews are essentially not that daunting if you practice and prepare enough.
What was the best thing about your placement with Gap Medics?
Katy: This is possibly the hardest question as every experience I was lucky enough to have in Morogoro was special in its own way, inside and out of the hospital. Within the hospital I would say one of my many favourite experiences was seeing one of the women in labour smile as I went over and held her hand as she gave birth. The doctors in the hospital take a very different approach towards patients compared with back home, so even doing something as small as that and making the patient feel a lot calmer made my day. Another one of my favourite experiences was the first time I saw a baby being born. I wouldn’t know how else to describe the experience other than incredible. I definitely feel like the luckiest person to have the privilege to witness this and I would like to thank Gap Medics for this amazing opportunity!
Can you detail the most eye-opening experiences you had on your hospital placement?
Grant: When shadowing the doctor on the paediatrics ward, I met a 5-year-old child that weighed only 5 kilograms. Seeing a child in such a fragile and vulnerable state was completely eye opening.
Katy: When I first applied to Gap Medics, I knew that I was 99.9% sure that I wanted to be a midwife. I decided that my experience in Morogoro would clarify as whether I definitely wanted to pursue this particular career or not. After my first few hours on placement I was 100% certain that midwifery was the only career choice for me and working in the hospital gave me the opportunity to fall in love with the idea of being a midwife from the very outset.
With thanks to the Gap Medics team for writing this article. To find out more go to gapmedics.co.uk