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About NHS medical careers


On this website we use the following career planning model which is commonly used to help people make informed decisions.

self assessment
career exploration
decision making
plan implementation

Finding out more about yourself and your skills, interests and values relates to Stage 1 of our four-stage career-planning process. On this website we have developed a number of interactive tools that you can use to help you with this stage.

This website also gives you information on how you can make the most of your time at medical school, by exploring different medical careers and broadening your experiences (Stage 2 of our career planning process). 

To help you with stage 2, we have 7 or 8 pages of information on each specialty. On this website we feature over 60 specialties, go to our specialty pages to explore further.

You can access this resource to start this process and if you work through some of the career planning activities on this website you are more likely to feel ready to make those career choices necessary for specialty training when you get to your second foundation year. You can review and revise your answers as you progress through your training.

As a general guide, we recommend that medical students concentrate on Stages 1 and 2. It may be tempting to skip Stages 1 and 2 and go straight to decision making (Stage 3) or even to skip the first three stages and only worry about application forms or interviews (Stage 4 activities) when the time comes that you have to complete them. Being passive about your career and specialty choice, thinking that it simply ‘happens’ over time is a misconception and poor decision making (Stage 3) often rests on inadequate self-assessment or career exploration. Therefore if at medical school you have adequately worked through Stages 1 and 2 you will feel much more prepared when it comes to making the decision about your career path.

If at medical school you feel you have reached the decision making stage i.e. Stage 3 of our career planning model, then at Foundation School you can try to get more experience in the specialty you have chosen. It is still good to be open-minded at this stage, as many foundation trainees who have begun their training thinking they have decided what career route they want to take, do change their minds. The British Medical Association (BMA) has conducted a cohort study of 435 medical graduates from 2006. The second report on this study was published in June 2008 and it states that ‘half of cohort doctors (223/439) said that they had changed their career intentions as a result of their experiences during their foundation year 1 placements’.


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