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Work experience

Minimum work experience requirements

    • All applicants for 2023 entry must have completed a minimum of 70 hours of work experience across the last four years (from 16/10/18 to 15/10/22) 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 patients/people (not friends or family members), where you are directly addressing others’ healthcare needs.
    • You must demonstrate at least two relevant, but different experiences. No single experience can count for more than 50 hours against the total minimum requirement of 70 hours.
    • Shadowing is an acceptable experience but can only count for a maximum of 20 hours. Your other work experiences must be roles with direct hands-on care of people/patients with healthcare needs.
    • The requirement for 70 hours' experience over four 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 and gain a realistic understanding of working in the medical profession.
    • 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 their work experience that they do not want a medical career.
    • Acceptable experiences cannot normally be a part of your degree, Masters or PhD, although we accept clinical placements undertaken for healthcare professions degrees including nursing, midwifery, dentistry, physiotherapy, paramedic science/practice, optometry and radiography for up to 50 hours.
    • Acceptable experiences 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 assistant).
    • Work experience requirements may change for subsequent application cycles.

Acceptable work experience

Your work experience should take place in a healthcare setting, and you should be meeting the healthcare needs of others (or observing these being met in the case of shadowing). In general, if an experience has not provided you with insight into the roles and demands placed on doctors/healthcare professionals, 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, hands-on work in a nursing home, care home, hospice or hospital, as well as employment in professional healthcare roles and official community-based healthcare.

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. If, after reading the information on this page, you are unsure whether your work experience will meet our criteria please review our Work Experience FAQs.

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, and 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 want to ensure that you have 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 you will face during training and working in the medical profession. This should also help you identify how your qualities suit you to this work as well as identifying areas for improvement.
  • Experience of working in a team providing care to patients or people with healthcare 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 healthcare team.
  • 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 upload references to confirm your work experience to our online portal shortly after the UCAS application deadline. We recommend that you ask for references at the time of your placements: Further details can be found under the table below. Please do not send references to our Admissions Team.
  • See the table below for examples of acceptable and unacceptable experiences (updated for 2023 entry).
Acceptable Experiences
  • 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.
  • Work as an allied health professional with direct patient contact e.g. nurse, physiotherapist, paramedic, physician assistant/associate.
  • Healthcare assistant (e.g. hospital, hospice, care home).
  • Provision of activities delivered as therapy for a health condition (including mental health conditions).
  • Shadowing** doctor/healthcare professional.

** Only 20 hours of 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.

COVID-19 Updates

For the 2022-2023 admissions cycle we will accept additional work experiences with start dates from 1st February 2020, as detailed in this document.

Unacceptable Experiences
  • An experience that does not provide direct hands-on care of patients/people with healthcare needs and/or does not take place in a formal healthcare environment.
  • Privately-arranged personal care.
  • Time spent training for a role in healthcare.
  • Being a first aider or member of a first aid association such as St John Ambulance - unless you are able to verify the actual quantity of hands-on care provided within the role vs. the time you were registered as first aider or the time simply attending events without having to provide care.
  • Care-giving that is not specific to meeting 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/meeter & greeter.
  • Activities coordinator at a care home.
  • Serving meals.
  • Clinical researcher/lab worker.
  • Attending conferences.
  • All forms of teaching e.g. Tutor / instructor / personal trainer / trainer / life coach / nursery nurse / teacher / lecturer.
  • Private counselling.
  • Marshalling / stewarding at events (including at COVID-19 testing and vaccination centres).
  • Charity work e.g. fundraiser, shop-based.
  • Pharmacy roles where you are involved with shelf-filling/till duties rather than the provision of healthcare.
  • 999 Call centre operative.

Telling us about your work experience

At the point of application, you will be provided with a link to a separate online survey, where you will be required to provide us with details of up to five work experience placements, including a named contact who can confirm what you did and for how long. You should include all relevant and acceptable experiences, not just the minimum required to meet our criteria, as we are interested in the breadth of your experience. You will then be required to upload verification references of your work experience placements via a separate online portal. The link to the portal will be provided once you have submitted your application; your referee can also upload your reference directly to this portal if they prefer. Your references must include written evidence of the number of hours, dates and details of your role. All work experience references must be in PDF format on the official letter headed paper of the organisation that you worked for; we will not accept references from a private individual or relative. We therefore strongly recommend that you ask for references at the time of your placements, or soon after. See a template letter for this

The deadlines for these activities will be:

Work experience survey: 31st October 2022

Uploading verification evidence: 13th November 2022

Any applicant not meeting these deadlines will have their application rejected. We are unable to guarantee that references received by email and/or post will be considered so please make sure they are uploaded to our online portal.

Work experience and the Selection Centre

At the Selection Centre (Multiple Mini Interview) you will be asked to reflect on the work experience you declared to us in the online survey (and provided references for), drawing out what you have learned about your own strengths and areas for development and what is required of someone aiming to be a doctor. Acknowledging that you have areas for development is NOT a weakness.