One of the best ways of ensuring that those who apply for medical school have a realistic idea of what is required of a doctor is for them to gain some experience of medicine before hand, though other forms of general experience with the public, such as working in a shop, are also relevant. Work observation guidelines is designed to help those in trusts and practices responsible for helping students get first hand experience of the working life of a doctor.
Many trusts now organise formal work observation schemes for potential applicants, which provide opportunities for all, and not just those with medical connections. The press reaction to the sixth former who assisted at an appendicectomy illustrates one way in which things can go wrong; doctors supervising students must take personal responsibility for ensuring they understand the issues and maintain the highest standards of confidentiality. BMA Career Progress of Doctors Committee. Work observation guidelines.London, BMA, 1999