- Highly rewarding work helping treat the sick and injured in hospitals
- You'll work long hours and be on-call out of hours
- Entry to medical degrees can be highly competitive so you'll need to prepare well before applying
You'll examine, diagnose and treat patients who have been referred to you by GPs and other health professionals. You may specialise in a particular area such as surgery, medicine, paediatrics, pathology, psychiatry, anaesthesia, obstetrics and gynaecology, or oncology.
Depending on your role you may:
- Lead a team of medical staff
- Manage a department
- Teach and supervise trainee doctors
- Write reports and keep GPs informed about the diagnosis and care of their patients
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, and your working environment might be physically and emotionally demanding. You might need to wear uniform.
You'll spend time in consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency.
To be a hospital doctor, you'll need knowledge of medicine and dentistry, psychology, English language; customer service and thinking and reasoning skills; counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach; thoroughness and attention to detail; and sensitivity and understanding.
To become a hospital doctor you'll need to complete a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC), a 2-year foundation course of general training, 2 to 3 years of core medical training (CMT) or Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS), specialist training - the length of this stage depends on the area of medicine you choose, but will usually take between 4 and 7 years.
It's important to choose science subjects at school to get onto a 5 year degree, but if you don't have qualifications in science, you may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine which includes a one-year pre-medical or foundation year.
If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum 2:1) you could take a 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine. You should also try to gain some experience in a medical setting - some NHS Trusts have excellent work experience or volunteering schemes that you can apply for.
When you apply for a course in medicine, you may be asked to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). They test skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.
You'll need to register with the General Medical Council and pass DBS checks.
With experience, you may go on to lead a team or manage a department. With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior (or consultant) roles. You may also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.