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Work experience

Minimum work experience requirements

  • All applicants must have completed a minimum of two weeks' (70 hours') work experience across the last three years (4 years for 2021 entry due to COVID 19 - from 15/10/16 to 15/10/20) in a healthcare setting.
  • Your work experience must include experience of the healthcare environment, ideally of the NHS, and of direct hands-on care of people/patients (not friends or family members) with healthcare needs.
  • You must demonstrate at least two relevant experiences. Shadowing is an acceptable experience. However, as there is little benefit of repeated periods of direct observation of healthcare, shadowing can only count for a maximum of 20 hours against the minimum requirement of 70 hours. Your other work experiences must be roles with direct hands-on care of people/patients with healthcare needs.
  • Your experiences (a minimum of two) must demonstrate different aspects of the caring environment and/or be different roles. No single experience can count for more than 50 hours against the total minimum requirement of 70 hours. For example, you might have completed 1200 hours as a healthcare assistant, but this can only count as a maximum of 50 hours against your minimum 70 hours requirement.

  • The requirement for 70 hours' experience over three years is a minimum. There is no maximum. 70 hours is equivalent to two weeks' full-time employment and is necessary to ensure that you are exposed to a broad range of situations whereby you gain a realistic understanding of working in the medical profession. Please note that you should not view the work experience requirement as a box-ticking exercise, rather an opportunity to investigate and experience the challenges and rewards of directly caring for people and a career in healthcare. This will enable you to make an informed decision about a medical career. Some applicants find that after doing this they do not want a medical career.

  • Acceptable experiences cannot normally be a part of your degree, Master's or PhD, and cannot be part of your current job if this job does not involve the hands-on care of patients/people with healthcare needs. We accept a range of healthcare related jobs that provide you with direct experience of hands-on care of people/patients (e.g. nurse, health care assistant, physiotherapist, physician’s assistant).

Acceptable work experience

We strongly encourage you to attain a variety of work experiences, as this will provide a better insight and understanding of the demands and requirements of a medical career. In general, if an experience has not provided you with insight into the roles and demands placed on doctors, the NHS and care environment or of patients with a wide range of healthcare needs, it is most likely not acceptable.

The types of experience that we value include voluntary work in a nursing home, care home, hospice or hospital volunteer, as well as employment in professional healthcare roles and official community-based healthcare.

We fully support the principles in the Medical Schools Council's guidelines on work experience (2017 update) and Selecting for Excellence Report. The BMA have also published guidance on Work Experience Advice for students. It is recommended that you read these for further information about what we expect and why.

Person-focused work experience exposes you to the expected values of the NHS (including working together for patients, respect and dignity, commitment to quality of care). Your work experience should provide you with the following:

  • Experience of providing personal hands-on care to individuals (excluding close friends or family)
    Your experience should provide evidence that you understand and empathise with how it feels to be a patient. It will also allow you to develop an understanding of the roles of the other professionals who make up the healthcare team. We believe that caring for a relative or close friend, whilst valuable in itself, draws upon a different set of values and insights.
  • Discovering what it means to be a member of the medical profession
    We expect all applicants to have completed a period of work experience that involves hands on-contact with patients as well as an opportunity to shadow doctors and other health care professionals. This is to ensure that an applicant has a realistic understanding of what patients, health professionals and peers expect of them as a student and then as a doctor, as well as an enhanced understanding of the challenges they will face during training and working in the medical profession. This should also help applicants to identify how their qualities suit them to this work as well as identifying areas to be enhanced.
  • Experience of a healthcare environment, ideally that of today’s NHS
    This includes shadowing of doctors and other healthcare professionals. The most important aspect of the experience is not the length of time you spend doing it, but the extent to which you gain insight into what is expected of doctors in today’s NHS and how your strengths and weaknesses relate to this.
  • A named contact at your place of work experience
    You will be asked to provide references to evidence your work experience which you will need to bring with you should you be invited to attend our selection centre. We recommend that you ask for references at the time of your placements. References should include details of your role, how what you did met our criteria and the total number of hours you completed. Please do not send references to our Admissions Team.
  • Experience of working in a team providing care to patients or people with health care needs

    Team working is a core part of the Warwick MBChB and of being a doctor in today’s NHS. We expect applicants to have experienced and reflected on the benefits and challenges of working in teams. The insight required to do this is best gained by practical (immersive) work experience within a health care team.

  • See the table for examples of acceptable and unacceptable experiences (updated for 2021 entry)
Acceptable Experiences
Unacceptable Experiences

You must have worked (paid or voluntary) as a caregiver providing direct hands-on care* of people/patients with healthcare needs; this can be within the community if via an official organisation. You must also have experience (paid or voluntary) of the healthcare environment, ideally of the NHS in primary and secondary care environments. Examples include:

  • Working as a care-giver to people with healthcare needs, this can be within the community if via an official organisation e.g. care home, home assistance to an unwell patient, care giver to disabled patients/pupils
  • Employed in the allied health professions with direct patient contact and care giving e.g. nurse, physiotherapist, paramedic etc.

  • Health care assistant (e.g. hospital, hospice, care home)

  • Physician’s Assistant/Associate

  • Shadowing** doctor/healthcare professional

* The term care specifically refers to the act of carrying out tasks that directly assist/benefit people/patients with their healthcare needs. It does not include the provision of peripheral activities such as teaching/instructing/tutoring/ coaching.

** Only 20 hours shadowing experience will be accepted.

If your primary work experience is within Pharmacy then you must have a second experience outside of Pharmacy which also demonstrates hands-on-care.

An experience that does not provide direct hands-on care of people/patients with healthcare needs or of the healthcare environment. Being a first aider or member of a first aid associations e.g. St John Ambulance is no longer acceptable since we are unable to verify the actual quantity of hands-on care provided within the role vs. the time an applicant has been registered as first aider or the time simply attending events without having to provide care.

  • Care-giving that is not specific to the healthcare needs of an individual, e.g. childminding/sports coach/befriending
  • Non-caring role within a healthcare organisation e.g. receptionist/medical secretary/hospital porter
  • Clinical researcher/lab worker/researcher/clinical trials
  • All forms of teaching e.g. Tutor / instructor / personal trainer / trainer / life coach / nursery nurse / teacher / lecturer
  • Marshalling / stewarding at events
  • Charity work e.g. fundraiser, shop-based
  • Call centre operative (including 111 and 999)
Due to the number of enquiries we receive, we are unable to provide a comprehensive review service on whether your work experience would be acceptable to us. If you are still unsure whether your work experience will meet our criteria please review our Work Experience FAQs. If your work experience does not directly involve hands on care of people/patients in a healthcare environment, then it is most likely not acceptable.

Telling us about your work experience

At the point of application, all applicants will be provided with a link to a separate online survey, where you will be required to provide us with details of your work experience placements, including a named contact who can confirm what you did and for how long. You will be required to upload verification of your work experience placements via the online portal. This must include written evidence of the number of hours, dates and your role. All work experience verification must be on the official letter headed paper of the organisation that you worked for. We therefore strongly recommend that you ask for references at the time of your placements, or soon after. A template letter for this can be found here .

Work experience and the Selection Centre

At Selection Centre you will be asked to reflect on your work experience, drawing out what you have learned about your own abilities and what is required of someone aiming to be a doctor. When attending Selection Centre candidates will be required to bring with them original copies of the verification of work experience placements previously provided. Please do not send work placement references to our Admissions Team. If you do not provide this evidence on the day that you are required to attend the Selection Centre your application may be withdrawn.