Get creative with your career exploration during Lockdown
Are you in a catch-22 situation planning to study a healthcare degree but cannot obtain experience? Or are you considering a Psychology degree and looking to evidence an understanding of human behaviour?
You can’t control the current situation but here are some ideas you can take control of, and they may just help you with your personal statement.
There are many free learning opportunities available online such as The NHS Explained which gives a comprehensive overview of the NHS structure and the different services within it. Fancy learning about human development and lifespan theories? Try an Introduction to Developmental Psychology. Both courses, and many others, are available on FutureLearn. There are other free courses available through the Open University. You can also research virtual university taster days or access free online lectures from Gresham College like Infections of the Abdominal Organs and The History of the Eye for example. If psychology is more your thing, try Wired to get wound up – just use the site search facility or click Medical Science to see what else is on offer. If considering a degree such as Speech and Language Therapy, get a head start and learn about phonetics (the sounds of language) on the BBC too. You can also watch documentaries for further insight into Allied Health Professions such as The Wow Show.
Another way of gaining insight is via online events. The Virtual Health Careers Conference as well as BAME in the Healthcare Industry and Mental Health and Covid-19, are all free on Eventbrite – the latter is useful for both healthcare and psychology alike but do seek out others if you’ve missed these events. The Bethlem Museum of the Mind currently has two exhibitions online – Food, Mental Health and Wellbeing and Seeking Asylum: Places of Refuge for the Mind. If you’re looking for something more biology-based, try Zooniverse, a website where you can assist professional researchers online by answering questions or undertaking tasks related to different projects. A current opportunity available is Etch a Cell where volunteers identify “mitochondria” in specific images, which will develop your research skills. Have a look at other projects too.
Ok, so it’s hard to visit workplaces at the moment so try a virtual tour instead. You can explore the former home (now The Freud Museum) of the famous neurologist Sigmund Freud, including his famous therapy couch! For Midwifery, take tours of the North Tees Hospital and St George’s Hospital maternity units. The latter is more informative with accompanying video clips covering topics like antenatal care. For Children’s Nursing, take a virtual tour of Great Ormond Street Hospital and for Therapeutic Radiography (amongst others), access a tour via 360 Films – watching this one with a virtual reality headset is recommended, but not essential! These tours will give you insight into clinical environments, so make a note of what you learn during the process so that you can evidence it in your personal statement.
Opportunities requiring more effort to access
Admissions tutors for healthcare courses will look for your understanding of the NHS Constitution values in your personal statement, particularly examples of your own commitment to the quality of care. If you’ve not had work experience yet and are finding it hard to evidence your own examples of caring for someone, seek advice from someone at your school or try finding home-based volunteering opportunities instead. Be My Eyes requires volunteers aged 17 and over to help with visual assistance. An app is downloaded onto a smartphone and volunteers receive calls for assistance from people who are blind or have low vision. This is beneficial for any healthcare degree, especially Optometry!
For volunteering in your local area, try the Team London website where opportunities include becoming a Speak Buddy helping small groups of people improve their language skills online. Covid Mutual Aid or the Nextdoor website are also helpful for local volunteering – for safekeeping, get a parent or guardian to write a post of enquiry on your behalf. Ask your own elderly neighbours if they need help too or search for opportunities through Vinspired and Do-it. If positions are advertised for those aged 18 plus, (which happens a lot!) ask if there is anything else you can do instead.
Interviewing a professional
Another way of gaining information to add to a personal statement is to speak to a nurse, midwife, radiographer or another healthcare professional you aspire to. Contact hospitals, clinics, primary care trusts, charities and specific regulatory bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council or The Health and Care Professions Council and ask to give a telephone interview. This will give you added insight to include in your personal statement, evidencing knowledge of your chosen course.
Finally, if you live in Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden, Hillingdon, Ealing, Westminster, Richmond-upon-Thames, Harrow, Barnet, Hounslow or Kensington and Chelsea, research and apply for the Nursing or Allied Health Professionals virtual work experience through Springpod. (Taking place on 20th to 31st July). Click here for details on how and when to apply. Get in there quick!
For some healthcare degree courses, clinical visits and accompanying witness testimonies are compulsory but currently difficult to obtain, so if by the autumn term, you have not been able to arrange one or secure any opportunities evidencing your commitment to care, don’t worry, just get in contact with your chosen universities and seek their advice.
For additional ideas to consider, read the Enhance Your Personal Statement in Lockdown post also.
For further advice on your personal statement, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|*Always be cautious and check any online forum or employer with your teacher or people at home first, as your safety is paramount!|