Friday, 15 August 2008

Gap Year Plans - HCA interview

An unsuccesful round of medical school applications this year has left me no where closer to becoming a doctor (other than finishing my biochemistry degree), and in addition to that.. i now have to plan my unintentional gap year !!

I've never had the urge to take a gap year before, and admitedly i would rather be off to medical school this september; but seeing as i have no choice, i'm hoping to occupy myself with something challenging, productive, and of course fun!!

Current gap year plans include:
  • working as an HCA (possibly for 6 months)
  • teaching English abroad (Hopefully either in Asia or South America)
  • learning a foreign language
  • a spot of travelling + volunteering!

HCA interview

Since my last post, i've applied and had an interview for work as a HCA, and am now nervously waiting for a reply.

The assesment centre was pretty basic, and involved a 20 minute test on Maths and English. i finished the test in approximately 5 minutes, and spent the remaining 15 minutes observing the woman infront of me cheat. It was rather obvious, and i'm sure the recruitment lady was quite aware of this, but yet she allowed the woman to carry on copying out passages from her notebook to her test paper.

It wasn't a particularly taxing test.. in fact one of the questions simply asked "how many milimetres are there in a litre" and the rest were basic arithmetic. The english section involved writing a paragraph "in no more than 50 words" as to why i wanted to work there; so all in all the assesment centre gave no indications as to what the job involved.. but instead sort of put me off a little, as the job doesn't seem to be very stimulating.

However, as soon as i walked into the hospital for my interview, all my doubts were lifted, and i really hope i get the job now. The interview which was conducted by two nurses taking turns to ask questions, was actually really quite fun, and felt more like a friendly chat; but i couldn't help but notice that one of the nurses was wearing blue socks with coconut written across in silver, and the other nurse was wearing crocs...!!

I'm not too sure if i'll get the job, but it was a nice experience, and will prepare me for the next interview if i am unsuccesful this time.


I've decided to also work as a tutor in my spare time, and have a meeting and lesson with my first tutee in 2 weeks time. I'm quite nervous, as i'm not sure what she wants me to go over, and i'm also quite rusty with my gcse sciences... but i guess this will kick start my revision for the BMAT exam!


Anonymous said...


You seem to have a solid plan with the gap year, and I hope you've got a nice bunch of offers now! I now find myself in a similar situation, with four rejections, and I'm looking to take a gap year and reapply.

Working as a HCA would probably be an ideal way for me to spend a gap year, and incredibly fulfilling! I was wondering how you initially applied for the job, what training/qualifications you required etc., and of course whether you got the job in the end! Any help you could give would be really appreciated!

Good luck

Tofu said...

Hello, (sorry for the late reply)

I really would reccomend the HCA experience, as i think i've learnt and experienced more over the past 6 months, than all my years of voluntary work and work experience combined. (not to discredit either, but i think working as a HCA you get to be a lot more involved in patient care on a day to day basis, and get to observe different health professionals at work, it really is a fantastic learning experience - though honestly there are times i like the job, and times at which i hate it.)

Most applications require a GNVQ level 2 in healthcare - BUT when i rang up and enquired, they all responded saying it wasn't necessary and i can acquire it through the job (though i havn't signed up)... so quite simply no particular skills are required, other than basic maths and english, and a good understanding of what the job involves.

I did initially have a look on the nhs site, but narrowed it down to looking at the vacancies at hospitals within my local area - im glad i did as the working hours are long, and anytime i can save from travel is a bonus!

Good luck with your gap year, i was dreading it to start, but now think its been a good year out !! ^^

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