Medicine Work Experience: A&E (Accident & Emergency)

Tamsin Dyer

Tamsin Dyer

Senior Writer at Medic Mind

When you’re applying to medical school A&E work experience is a great way to boost your application. If you have ever had to take a trip to A&E you’ll know how busy emergency A&E departments are, and busy means they’re a great place to learn! Many students love the past paced environment that A&E offers as a learning experience, with doctors teaching them about the wide range of presentations, the equipment, test results and how they reach their diagnosis. 

When undertaking A&E work experience you might get to spend time in any of the the different areas of A&E: majors, minors, or resus. Each area is divided by clinical need through a process called triaging. Each will give you slightly different patients, with the most serious cases being seen in resus and majors, and less seriously ill patients being seen in minors. 

A&E Work Experience image
Spending time shadowing doctors in A&E is a great way to get medical work experience

How can I get the most out of my A&E work experience?

Be prepared

Make sure you’re prepared for your A&E work experience by having read about common emergency presentations. This isn’t essential, but will help prepare you for the types of cases you will see. Think about some common tests or scans that are done and think about how they might be used. Then when you see a patient in real life you can think about what the doctor might be testing for.

Ask questions

Most doctors with students shadowing them are very good at explaining what they are doing as they are going along talking to and treating patients. But do ask questions, this is the best way to learn and also explore if this career is for you. 

Reflective diary

We recommend this for all work experience as it will help you reflect on what you have seen and learnt from your time. This is also particularly relevant for A&E work experience where you may see traumatic scenes. Therefore, it is important that you process what you have seen. This will also assist you in writing your personal statement and when preparing for interviews in remembering what you saw and learnt. 

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