Career Advice & Networking

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Deciding on a medical career is of immense importance because it will have a huge impact on your future life. At medical school exposure to many of the different specialties is limited or even non- existent, making it difficult to make an informed career choice. Few doctors and medical students ever receive formal careers advice. Career decisions have recently been made even more challenging by the changes brought about with Modernising Medical Careers (MMC).

How can MWF help?

Throughout the year many of our 14 Local Associations hold meetings at which more senior members talk about their lives and careers. As an MWF member you will be invited to attend. The MWF mentoring scheme may also be helpful for deciding on a career speciality as you will be able to discuss the pros and cons of a chosen speciality with your mentor (see mentoring tab for details). Our national and local meetings provide opportunities for networking with other MWF members. MWF student members are kept informed of up and coming careers fairs and courses via our e-newsletter and can discuss career options with other members. To take advantage of these benefits, click here and become a member!

Top Tips 

Make up your mind what you want to do and know you are capable of doing and don't allow people to tell you that you can't do it because you are a woman.

I have never forgotten being told by the senior obstetric consultant at the London Hospital in his Harley Street rooms when I sought his advice about progressing my career in O&G [obstetrics and gynaecology] having had four children in 8 years, lived in 4 countries in 3 continents and worked throughout that 'there was no place for married women in O&G.' It gave me great pleasure when 7 years later, having been to another country in a fourth continent, I was appointed as the first woman consultant at the London and met him at the Xmas party

Prof Wendy Savage, past president, MWF  

Go from failure to failure with enthusiasm. Working with other professional examiners I learned that most women put in their application to be an examiner once. If they were turned down they felt so demoralised that they did not apply again. For men, the average number of applications was three—they had no hang-ups about re-applying

Dr Anita Holdcroft, co-chair, Medical Academic Staff Committee, BMA

Sources of Information

  • BMJ Careers for the largest choice of high quality vacancies for job seeking doctors 
  • Medicalcareers.nhs.uk  - This is the source for medical students for information on careers. It really is worth a look so click on the link!
  • Sci 59 online career tool - This is an Open University resource to help Foundation Year doctors and medical students see how their skill, attitudes, preferences and aspirations map against 59 specialties. BMA members can access it for free via the BMA web-site www.bma.org.uk Otherwise you may need to obtain an access code from your medical school
  • BMA website careers section 
  • "So you want to be a brain surgeon?" by Simon Eccles & Stephen Sanders Oxford University Press ISBN: 978-0-19-923196-6. This book looks at many career options as well as career routes and specialty overviews. It also looks at the organisation of medical careers post MMC and has a section on Women in Medicine
  • NHS careers website
  • Royal College of Pathologists website has some information for medical students on pursuing a career in pathology.
  • Women Doctors and Clinical Leadership Report  by Dr Penny Newman
  • The Royal Society of Medicine, Wimpole St. London. An annual careers fair for medical students is usually held on a Friday evening in early November.
  • Look out for Open Days and Careers Events which are regularly put on for medical students by the various royal colleges (check their individual websites for details).
Medical Women's Federation
Tavistock House North,
Tavistock Square, London,
WC1H 9HX
admin@medicalwomensfederation.co.uk
Tel: 020 7387 7765

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