Student Information

Ways of gaining experience within a Primary Care Setting

Getting some experience is one of the most important things you can do to help find a career in health. Here is a guide of the different ways you can gain experience.

Getting some relevant experience is one of the most important things you can do to help you find a career in health.

  • work experience placements. The placement could be just for a day or two, for a week, or perhaps for a few hours each week. It is worth remembering that while the NHS is tackling COVID-19 that you might find it more difficult to find them. However we have some links to some virtual work experience which medical schools are willing to accept as relevant experience.  Virtual Work Experience
  • volunteering. Volunteers work alongside staff doing worthwhile tasks. Although you’re not paid, any expenses may be reimbursed. You don’t have to volunteer full time. It could be a one-off project or a weekly commitment that you could fit around your work or studies. It could form part of your gap year either in the UK or overseas. You can also sign-up as an NHS volunteer and help us tackle COVID-19 on the GoodSam website. Volunteering in nursing homes and care homes is very rewarding and provides you with a good insight into this sector. 
  • paid part- or full-time work. Any paid experience in the right sort of environment can be valuable, particularly if you receive training. NHS Jobs currently has a list of vacancies specifically to help the NHS tackle COVID-19.
  • a supported internship. Supported internships (such as with Project Choice) provide a mix of work placements and study days at college, usually for people aged between 16 and 24
  • other ways in which you can gain relevant experience can include caring for a friend or relative who is sick or disabled

The greater and more varied the experience you have the better, so you could, for instance, do a placement as well as some volunteering.

Relevant experience

Ideally you should try to gain experience in the area of health that interests you. However, any experience in healthcare can be useful because just being in a health environment can give you an insight into the work.  If you're considering a university course, make sure you find out what sort of experience they're looking for. Contact them or visit their website to ensure you are arranging the type of work experience they are looking for.

Devon Training Hub can help you connect to Primary Care settings in your area to enable you to find a work experience placement. 

Examples of primary care settings include:

  • Healthcare Centre/Practice
  • Dental Surgery
  • Opticians
  • Physiotherapist
  • Residential or Nursing Home

The role could be to support patients or clients directly, or staff in general, or it could be that it is behind the scenes.

The Royal College of General Practitioners and the Medical Council provide lost of useful documents for you to use to get the most out of your placement.

Useful documents available from RCGP Website:

Reflective Work Experience Diary

Top Tips on how to gain a Work Experience Placement

Useful documents available from The Medical Council Website

Work and Voluntary Experience

Statement on the core values and attributes needed to study medicine

Check out this video of a student who carried out her work expereince placement withing a GP surgery