It would be nice to walk into an interview and just have to talk about yourself and the things you’ve done with your life – but the truth is, you’re going to need to actually prepare and learn things. We would argue that the more you know the better – the more you know, the less likely you’ll waffle and talk about irrelevant things just to fill the silence. You’ll be in a better position to give a solid and concise answer if you’ve been through a topic beforehand, even just briefly – for example, if you were asked about the relatively recent Junior Doctor Contract* debacle, would you be able to talk about it confidently and give solid points?
* If you’re reading this when the junior doctor contract debacle is ancient history, insert another relevant example above 🙂
Here are some of the topics and areas you should know well before interview-day:
- Medical Ethics: Know the general principles, common scenarios, topics of debate and dilemmas.
- Professionalism and Duties: Have a good grip of the ways a doctor should behave in a clinical setting – although you’re not expected to know guidelines off by heart, you should be able make decisions that are in line with guidance.
- The National Health Service (NHS): Have an understanding of its development, key principles, reforms, structure, regulatory bodies, problems and role in society.
- Personal Statement: Make sure you’re able to speak about any sentence or word you’ve written in a good amount of detail and be able to back it up.
- Current affairs: Have a general awareness of what’s been happening in health news, and have one or two articles learnt in detail to facilitate any potential discussions during the interview. Know a mix of both bio-scientific news and the more political topics.
- Famous diseases: You don’t need much in the way of actual medical knowledge, but it’s useful to be vaguely familiar with famous diseases like cancer, heart disease, dementia etc.
- General piece of scientific writing: it’s useful to have one or two books or articles – things you’ve maybe read in the Student BMJ perhaps – that you can use to show your interests in medicine extend to the scientific realm. Also, consider reading an interesting book on the history of medicine to give you a broader and deeper understanding of medicine as a field.