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Five Ways MENA’s Future Doctors can Prepare for Medical School in 2022

by Eddie Rayner

There is no denying that the hard work undertaken by medical professionals throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has inspired many students to enter a career in medicine. But with heightened interest, also comes heightened competition. St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine highlights how our future doctors’ can embark on the journey before they even start medical school.

1. Doctor Shadowing 

One method to improve their knowledge is through doctor shadowing, where a student will ‘shadow’ the work of a practising doctor to introduce themselves into day-to-day life as a medical professional. Not only is this vital for creating a network of contacts that could be useful in the future, but it is also a great way to gain exposure and show medical school admissions teams that the student is dedicated to the field. 

2. Online Webinars

Although life is getting back to normality in this pandemic era, there may not be the opportunity to access doctor shadowing in person at some hospitals or clinics. Instead, students could explore virtual experience opportunities.

Today, there are many online webinars that include doctor shadowing and at St. George’s University (SGU), we hold virtual doctor shadowing sessions for our students as an opportunity to interact with our diverse faculty and alumni and learn about different medical specialities such as anatomy, emergency medicine and psychology.

One method to improve their knowledge is through doctor shadowing

3. Volunteering 

Community service is an achievable way for students to show their commitment to a group of people or service that aligns with the student’s interest in medicine.

There are countless organisations that are dedicated to assisting disadvantaged individuals that students could reach out to. There are nonprofits that serve free meals, source amenities, and deliver supplies to families in need. While most opportunities in this arena fall firmly under the nonmedical category, they’re fantastic ways to get involved in causes that the student is passionate about.

Whether the work experience placements are related to the medical field or not, the time spent is valuable for gaining exposure to real-life situations. Students can empathise and become strong communicators while being more confident to work as part of a team. 

Volunteering activities will go a long way when becoming a doctor later in their life.

Hence why some universities take extra-curricular activities into account along with academic achievements and reference letters from professors.

4. Summer Programmes

Researching summer programmes available locally, which might include time spent with doctors as part of a health professions programme, could also be a great time to obtain experience. They could even reach out to other students who are interested in medicine, to share experiences of local opportunities. 

5. Connecting with Practicing Doctors 

Many of our 19,000 alumni at SGU are volunteering in a programme called ‘Speak to a Graduate’, which connects prospective students to SGU graduates over the phone, video call or email. These connections provide a great chance for aspiring medics to engage directly with a healthcare professional while hearing about their personal experiences with doctor shadowing.

This article has been provided by St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies