Support for school and college students applying for healthcare degrees

Pharmacy students in a lab

Before applying for a healthcare degree programme it is very important to gain a realistic insight into the profession that you wish to pursue to ensure that you are aware of the specific rewards and challenges that each profession presents and to assess whether you feel you have the skills and values which match those of your chosen profession.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are living in uncertain times and the opportunity to gain work experience or participate in volunteering in a healthcare setting may be very difficult for some time. In the absence of face-to-face experiences, it is important that you use other means to gain an understanding of the work and challenges faced by healthcare staff. If you are applying in 2021, you can find further specific guidance here. In addition, we have put together the following resources to get you started.

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Gaining an insight into healthcare professions

How to make the most of these resources 

In order to gain the most from these resources you must actively engage with them. Reflecting on the resources you have engaged with will help you learn from them and apply them to your understanding of different healthcare careers. Reflection is an important skill used in all healthcare professions to learn from experiences and to develop practice. 

General resources

Skills4Uni

Skills4Uni is a free, on-line study skills module developed by the University of Birmingham. Section 7 will help you reflect on and evaluate the resources you are looking at.

Keep a reflective diary

Keeping a reflective diary will help you use the resources you are accessing to understand what skills and values you require for your chosen healthcare profession and will encourage you to think of examples from your own experiences that show you have or you are developing these characteristics. We’ve put together this reflective diary (323kb PDF) template to help you.

Use social media

Social media can be a really easy and accessible way to stay in touch with relevant news and information about healthcare professions and the health service. Follow our Twitter (@uob_mdsoutreach) and Instagram (@uob_mdsoutreach) accounts and we’ll post information about resources we think are particularly useful. When you access any resources check to see whether they have social media streams to help you keep up-to-date.

Support from our Careers Network

One of our fantastic Careers Consultants at the University of Birmingham has written this blog to help you make sense of the resources you are accessing to gain an insight into healthcare careers. Our blog also contains many other articles which will contain useful information for you.

General resources which provide an insight into healthcare professions and working in the NHS

The following websites provide a wealth of information about a huge variety of healthcare and healthcare-related careers. Use the descriptions, career profiles, videos and many other resources to help you understand the different roles and their own particular rewards and challenges. Don’t forget to use your reflective diary (323kb PDF) to make the most of the resources.

Health careers

The NHS Healthcare Careers website providing information comprehensive information about working in the NHS.

Prospects - Healthcare

Guidance on healthcare careers from the graduate careers website. The website also contains guidance on applying to university.

National Careers Service

Comprehensive information about all healthcare careers from the government’s careers service.

Working in the National Health Services

It is important to have an understanding about the way the NHS works, the values it requires of its staff and the challenges it faces. You will need to do some research and reflection to develop your understanding and to identify the skills and values you have already and those you need to develop.

Working in health

This section of the Health Careers website provides a variety of resources to help you understand working in the NHS. 

Values of the NHS Constitution

This section of the Health Careers website provides information about the values of the NHS constitution and how they apply to everyday work in the NHS. Use the e-tool to test whether you share the NHS values. 

The Kings Fund

The Kings Fund is an independent charitable organisation working to improve health and care in England. This website will help you keep up-to-date with developments and news about healthcare. 

What is happening now in science and healthcare?

Listening to podcasts and reading news articles can be a really good way to find out more about developments in science and healthcare. They can also help you develop your own ideas and opinions, as long as you take time to reflect on what you are listening to or reading. Why not talk to your friends or family about what you have learnt? This is a great way to prepare for university interviews. 

Podcasts

BBC Sounds Podcasts on the following topics are a good place to start but have a search around the internet and you will find podcasts which are of particular interest to you. Don’t forget to use the reflective diary (323kb PDF) to make a record of what you have listened to. 

Newspapers and websites

Keeping up with the news and reading opinion pieces in newspapers can help you understand the developments in healthcare, what it is like working in the NHS and with reflection can help you develop your own ideas. Here are a few suggestions but have a search around the internet for websites and blogs which particularly interest you.