Juggling a Part-Time Job & Studying Medicine

This is a guest post written by Daisy a second-year medical student.

As I’m power walking through town and scoffing my sandwich in a desperate attempt to make it clinical skills after working a six-hour shift I wonder why I’m doing this. Then in communication skills, we cover talking about embarrassing subjects with patients. I volunteer and at the end of my consultation, the tutor mentions how I was very sensitive and it came naturally to me. However, I knew that it was the fact I’ve been working as a healthcare assistant for two years, which has involved many a conversation about body fluids and genitalia.

I have been working as a HCA for a year part-time whilst studying Medicine full time. I had previous experience after a gap year working as a HCA so when I saw an advert on Facebook about joining an agency I was interested. This offers me flexibility in when I work and allows me to further develop my communication skills. I find it very beneficial to have ongoing patient exposure as we only have placements fortnightly during our first two years. I also now have the opportunity to work with disabled young people a group I had no previous experience with. This has definitely caused me to develop a wide range of communication skills.

Balancing a job and Medicine is something many people think isn’t possible, but it can be. Here are my top tips for those of you wanting to make it work:

  1. Planner/Calendar

Having somewhere to write down shifts, lectures and social events is key. Make sure they’re all written in one place so you never become double booked.

  1. An understanding employer

Having an employer that appreciates how hard you’re working at uni and understands how stressful it can be is great. My employer knows that when I have exams I will book fewer shifts and they are okay with that. You should never prioritise your job over your grades!

  1. Knowing when to take a break

Something I’m guilty of is not taking a break. I try and schedule a few hours off one evening for some alone time to watch TV or read a book, anything that gives me a chance to wind down. This is super important for mental health and wellbeing whether you’re working part-time or studying.

  1. If it isn’t working, knowing when to stop

Medicine is an intense degree which requires a lot of hard work and balancing it alongside societies, nights out and working can be hard. If it’s too much then that’s okay. I don’t know many other medics with part-time jobs but it works for me currently. I’m not sure when I get to third year whether it will still be possible, but for now, it works.

Daisy has just started her second year at the University of Exeter. Outside of Medicine, she enjoys cooking, travelling and touch rugby. She is also attempting to run a studygram @sunshineandstethoscopes

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