Attempting To Broaden My Experience (and earn some extra money)

I’ve been meaning to join my Trust’s bank for months, and this week I’ve finally got round to it. For those who are unfamiliar with temporary staffing in the NHS, staff who want to do extra shifts can join their Trust’s ‘staffbank’ which is large directory of staff who can sign up to cover shifts unfilled throughout the Trust’s hospitals.

I thought that with potentially a med school interview or two on the horizon it would do me good to be able to talk about the role of medical professionals outside of A&E.

I did my first shift today and it was in the Labour ward! I was really excited before I arrived; I thought that I would be able to help out with the cannulation (not of the newborns, just the mothers!) and observations of mother and child, and work closely with the midwives and doctors and pick up knowledge of a speciality very far removed from my A&E experience.

My day was actually incredibly dull and disappointing. The healthcare assistant role on the Labour ward isn’t actually a health or a care role. You’re a cleaner; you mop bloody floors and change bloody sheets after mum and baby have vacated rooms. And that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with being a cleaner, but that wasn’t the role I’d signed up to do. It was mind-numbing and frankly pretty disgusting (which in itself is often a natural part of the HCA role, but when there’s no patient interaction with it, you don’t get that fulfilled feeling inside). When I was coming to the end of my eight hour shift, they asked me if I’d stay on and do a 12.5 hour shift instead – I politely declined. It is a very necessary job, but not one that I would recommend for anyone who is looking to assist with health or care. I’ve cancelled my shift there tomorrow.

I’ve signed up to work a shift in a Cardiac Catheter Lab next week which should be really exciting! Pretty much every patient they see there has had an myocardial infarction of some sort I think, I’m going to give them a ring before I go though because I want to understand what the role entails before I go – I don’t want it to be another experience like today was.

After tax, I probably made £50-60 today, which is worth having, but I could have made it somewhere else where I was actually making a direct difference to the patient experience. I will try not to make this mistake again.


UKCAT Deciles

Today the UKCAT deciles were released and while I know I’m not going to make the grad courses, it’s given me a lot of hope for the 5 year ones 🙂

My 687.5 is apparently in the top 20%! So, I now think I might make an interview at Durham, but we’ll see!

An interview at Durham would actually be preferable compared to Glasgow. An offer from Glasgow would be contingent on me completing my MSc possibly at a high grade, whereas Durham would most likely be an unconditional offer as I already have a 2:1!

Day of reckoning

This morning was UKCAT morning; it was five years coming and it finally arrived. I ended up getting a pretty average 687.5, I think this probably rules me out of Warwick, but I’ll still put an application in there because it looks really nice. The plan now is to apply to two five year courses, Durham and Glasgow. Durham traditionally has a pretty high UKCAT requirement, so that’s probably not going to happen.

But, I possibly have a very good chance with Glasgow – they require a science degree from graduates, but the admissions tutor on the phone said she thought they’d accept my MSc as a science degree; rather than than a first, undergraduate, degree. The only other possible issue there is the classification of the MSc – I’m not expecting it to be too hard to pass it, but if they require a Merit overall, that will be a bit difficult.image

It’s all getting a bit real

I’ve just got home from a UKCAT course and everything is creeping up on me a bit!

My exam is in under six weeks now, and that’s pretty terrifying, but what’s even more terrifying is that I’ve changed tack a bit; instead of doing three UKCAT grad courses and one undergrad course, a friend has convinced me to do the GAMSAT as well :O; I’ll be applying to two UKCAT and two GAMSAT courses. As someone who doesn’t have a very sciencey background it will require a lot of work, but my eyes have been opened to how many more opportunities you have with the GAMSAT.

So, the new list is Warwick, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Swansea. Not applying to the KCL grad course seems like a sensible idea because it’s so ridiculously competitive, so so so competitive. And not applying for a five year course makes more sense as well; who has £36k lying around?!

Of course only time will tell, but I found that UKCAT course really useful today. I now have a systematic approach and the tools to get a high score. How the test goes on the day is a very different matter.

Exciting News!

So, alongside my MSc I will be working as a Healthcare Assistant at a paediatric a&e! I’m very excited and I can’t wait to start, but the paperwork is taking ages.

This job is great for numerous reasons. I’ll actually really enjoy this job rather than just counting down the days before I apply for medicine. I think, though, it will be very challenging when there are big-sick kids…I’ll let you know how I deal it when there are emotionally demanding days.

When it comes to hca jobs, most involve tasks like looking after elderly toileting but with paeds a&e often the parents will be around to help out with that; similarly horrible things like pressure sores won’t be an issue because of the fast turnaround of patients.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Offer Received

Finally! I have my offer, so I should be able to look through all the material soon.



I interviewed for a healthcare assistant position last week, and they said that although I couldn’t have the advertised job due to being unavailable one day a week because of my MSc they think they’ll be able to find me a job on a different ward!