A medical degree is an enormous undertaking; five or six years of hard work plus if you decide to specialize and qualify in a particular area then be prepared for even more years. But apart from being able to prescribe medicine, check temperatures and diagnose common health complaints, there are a whole lot of other transferable skills you take away from a degree in medicine.
1. Team working.
Being a doctor means working with people day in, day out, and that requires the ability to work in a team. This is a fantastic skill to have in any career. It’s not possible, however, without…
2. Communication and empathy.
Being a good communicator is vital if you’re planning on being a doctor, and it’s important to work on your empathy so you can give patients the best possible level of care kindly and efficiently. These are valuable traits in any line of work and so even if you don’t go on to become a doctor, having these important soft skills will stand you in good stead.
Being organized is a top priority if you go on to a medical career, but it helps if you can be organized whatever you do. You’ll find that improving your organizational skills improves almost all aspects of your life – both professional and personal.
Your planning skills will come to the fore here – but you’ll also learn great lessons in reviewing literature and writing reports, which make lots of jobs easier. Combined with communication, research can make problem-solving much easier.
5. Taking initiative.
If there’s one thing you learn when you go into the medical profession, it’s to expect the unexpected on a daily basis. While we said in point 3 that planning is important, sometimes despite your best efforts, complications will arise.
This can be very daunting, but it’s something you will get used to, and ultimately, it will mean you become very good at dealing with challenging situations. Tackling problems head-on and coming up with quick solutions are traits that are expected from doctors – and highly prized in other professions, too.
A degree in medicine requires a great deal of grit and determination, as well as belief in yourself and your abilities. Completing medical training is a fantastic achievement and one you could proudly take with you into another career path as certain proof of your determination to succeed.
Liaising with doctors, nurses, fellow medical students, hospital staff and patients is a vital part of being a trainee doctor. It requires confidence, and you’ve got to be prepared to put yourself out there; when you’re used to dealing with life and death, networking in the rest of the world is a doddle.
There are lots of transferable skills that come from studying medicine at degree level, so it’s worth exploring, even if you’re not 100% sure a career in it is right for you. If you’re still making your mind up, a Cambridge summer school could help.
A Cambridge summer school by Immerse Education in medicine offers a two-week long taste of a medical degree in the beautiful, historic setting of the University of Cambridge.
You’ll be challenged on a daily basis, given an introduction to first-year university medical topics, and be primed for taking the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) and the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), which is really helpful if you do subsequently decide to apply to study medicine at university. What’s more, you’ll gain some of the transferable skills on this list just by attending the Immerse Education course!
Research is prioritized, and you’ll get the opportunity to simulate a patient-doctor interaction, which will really give you an idea of what it’s like to be in the white coat. Stethoscopes at the ready!