How to Become a Doctor

Hospital doctors use vast amounts of medical knowledge to diagnose and manage disease; they also of course help to prevent it. Work is primarily performed in wards as well as out-patient clinics. Most hospital doctors work for the NHS but there are also many hospital doctors working in the private sector. As well as the treatment of the patients that they are in contact with they act as a point of reference for other healthcare professionals within the hospital such as nurses and pharmacists.

Within this career, there is a wide range of specialties; these include surgery, pediatrics, anesthetics and emergency medicine.

Average Workday Activities

Though the activities undertaken will obviously greatly depend upon the specialty chosen, there are a number of activities that all doctors working in a hostel will undertake regardless of the specialty.

  • monitoring and offering general care to patients on hospital
  • admitting patients that need investigations and treatment
  • examining patients in an attempt to establish their illness
  • performing set procedures through utilizing acquired knowledge
  • documenting treatments to comply with legal requirements.
  • conversing with other doctors as well as non medical professionals
  • promoting a healthy lifestyle
  • mentoring less experienced doctors that work at the same hospital

Education and Experience Requirements

Due to the importance of the work performed by a Doctor, qualification takes a long time and a lot of hard work. In order to become a doctor you need to graduate with a degree in medicine that is recognized by the General Medical Council The first thing that is required is very high A levels. Competition for entry into medical school is always very fierce and even with the highest A level grades some relevant work experience may be required. Personality traits that medical schools are looking for are:

  • a genuine sense of caring about peoples well being.
  • to be accepting of personal responsibility
  • to be able to work independently as well as part of a team.
  • to have a realistic idea of what the work involves and its challenges
  • an ability to communicate clearly and to convey empathy
  • obviously, a high level of intelligence

As well as the difficulty of medical school and the difficulty of actually getting into medical school, there is also the matter of financing it. Many students at medical school find that due to the course hours as well as the excessive course work, there is often not sufficient time to work even on a part time basis. As a result of this, the majority of medical students that graduate do so in heavy debt.

The Road to Becoming a Consultant

Most doctors aim for the level of consultant which has the highest salary as well as the most responsibility. The road to this level is quite long however. After successful completion of a Foundation Program which lasts two years, it is then only after qualifying in a particular specialty can the role of consultant be considered. Upon reaching the level of consultant, the doctor is in charge of his own work and for supervising other doctors. In the UK, Reaching the consultant level is technically possible eight years after graduating from medical school. However for a competitive post, far more experience is usually required.


Considering this mountain of debt, it would obviously be hoped that the salary would be high and the answer that it is, but not straight away, therefore a medical school graduate can expect to be heavily in debt for quite a few years. A junior doctor that is completing the postgraduate foundation training will make a minimum of 22,000 for the first year and 27,500 pounds for the second. During the following specialty training, the typical salary rises to between 29,000 and 44,000 pounds per year.

On average, five years after graduating from medical school, you could be expecting to earn between 35,000 and 50,000 per year. It is important to remember that most doctors will reach consultant level and this is when the expensive medical school years will really pay off with salaries generally being between 75,000 and 100,000 pounds per year.


Being a doctor is by no means a nine to five job. You can expect hours to be long and highly unsocial with weekends, evenings and nights being a frequent occurrence as most doctors work on a rota basis. A recent law will make life easier for junior doctors however as it dictates that such a doctor cannot work more than 48 hours per week. The location and hence the conditions of work will vary according to specialty. For example, some doctors will primarily work in hospital wards while others will be mainly laboratory based. Self employment, freelance work and career breaks all become more and more possible as experience is gained.

Work is available in most cities in the UK but to work in a specific specialty it is not uncommon to have to move to a particular place. It should also be noted that it is a highly demanding job. It is necessary to continue studying long after graduation in order to gain specialist qualifications and both the long and unsocial hours as well as being responsible for people’s lives can take its toll.

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