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Work observation (formerly work experience)

What is work observation?

Work observation placements at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust involve a short term commitment, generally one day a week, shadowing a doctor, nurse, therapist, allied healthcare professional or non-clinical member staff. This may include the opportunity to observe clinical care on wards, visit outpatient clinics or attend multidisciplinary meetings.

Work observation can give a unique insight into: the patient journey, how an acute trust works, and provide valuable experience which could improve your chances of gaining entry to a specific university or college course. 

As the British Medical Association states: "work observation is one practical way for students to get information about a medical career. However, students should only take part when they have found out as much as they can from other sources. These include talking to careers advisors and doctors, reading the various guides to medical life and volunteering in a nursing home or hospice." (BMA, 1999)

Who can carry out work observation?

You must be 16–19 years of age to carry out a work observation placement at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. We consider applications  from individuals who live in or attend an educational institute in inner London, however due to high demand for placements, priority will be given to applicants attending schools in the catchment areas of the hospital sites.

Please note that not all departments are able to accept work observation placements and others will have specific criteria which students must fulfil. Observers who wish to carry out a placement within the paediatric departments at both Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital are required to be over 18 years of age. In the first instance, all applicants must write to the work experience email address for consideration of a placement and further information on the application process. Observers are required to be over 17 years of age to be able to enter theatre placements. 

We do not consider applications where the criteria has not been met or the correct procedure for applying has not been followed. Unfortunately we cannot accept overseas applications. All eligible applications are dealt with in strict rotation—as we receive high volumes of applications, particularly in summer, we may not be able to accommodate all requests.

How do you apply for work observation?

Placements are available at both Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital.

If you are looking to find a specific placement with one of our consultants/managers, enquiries should be made in writing to the consultant/manager who, if the request is successful, will contact the Work Observation team for the paperwork to be completed.

We regret that the Work Observation department are not able to arrange placements on behalf of students—however we are happy to guide you through the process once a placement has been arranged and if the applicant fits the set criteria.

Please email workexperience@chelwest.nhs.uk for further information.

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