NHS work placements boost university success
NHS Highland has welcomed the first two groups of secondary school pupils for this year’s Doctors at Work programme, writes Katie Carabine.
The programme, which has been running for five years, gives pupils an invaluable insight into their chosen career and an understanding of the realities of working in a hospital.
The programme is going from strength to strength, and with record numbers of applicants, the programme will now be running on five occasions across the year.
Dr Emma Watson, director of medical education for NHS Highland explained that the programme has been a success and has also increased the number of students from Highland being accepted into medical schools.
She said: ‘The programme is a five- day work placement for pupils who are intending to apply for medicine. This year we have 40 students over the five weeks, most of which are from the Highland Council region, but we have also welcomed students from the Western Isles.
‘Those taking part get to experience a variety of clinical settings, including wards, theatres and clinics across a range of specialities including surgical, orthopaedics, diagnostics and medicine.
‘The students also have the opportunity to talk to medical students who are working in the hospital and can give them an insight on what their medical school life will be like.’
Historically, Highland pupils have been at a disadvantage when competing for places in medicine and healthcare careers but this trend is beginning to change as a result of initiatives such as this. Since 2012, 63 per cent of pupils that have taken part in this programme and have then applied for medical school have been successful.
The course has proved popular with students, with comments given including ‘liked the variety that medicine has to offer’; ‘like the academic and research side that medicine offers’ and ‘there is nothing better than seeing a patient getting better and knowing you’ve helped with that.’
Dr Watson added: ‘This programme is open to young people from all backgrounds and we are going to further grow this initiative by identifying bright, caring and compassionate school pupils who for reasons outwith their control may not achieve the traditional requirements for medicine or have the ability for medicine but are from areas which have no tradition of university entrance. We want to encourage and help them to apply to gateway medicine courses.
‘We would like more young people from Highland to consider medicine as a profession.
‘By encouraging young people from this area to enter into medicine we hope students we see taking part in these programmes are the doctors we will see coming back to work in the area.’