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Money and Medical School: How to Make Ends Meet.

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

Medical school has the potential to be some of the best years of your life. But money can be a big dark cloud looming over that experience for most people.

Whatever your background, living within a budget whilst at university is important, so much so that it warrants a blog post of its own so today we will focus on your income: the cash flow.

There is plenty of information on the Loans and Grants available to students online, most importantly official websites such as Student Finance England. Unfortunately, it is not easy to comfortably make ends meet on these alone.

Before I go in to some ideas for earning some dollar, I want to highlight something. I have listed options that I feel allow you to make money efficiently. Medical School is great but can be quite challenging both physically, mentally and emotionally. Ideally, you want to find a job that is not going to significantly detract from your ability to study, take care of yourself and have fun. That is why you’re at uni after all! Without sounding like your mum: pace yourself!

For that reason, I have deliberately not included waiter/waitressing, bar or club work in the list. That is no shade on them, they just happen to be jobs that involve low wages, late hours and are physically and emotionally draining.

Enough with the chat, without further ado and in no particular order, let me introduce the list:

1) Healthcare Assistant (HCA)/ Nursing Assistant (NA)

There is a good reason that working as an HCA/ NA is a popular option amongst med students.

It is a job that pays above the minimum wage with a good enhancement for out of hours, weekends and bank holiday work.

Not only that, but it’s also a really great way to translate all the (sometimes) boring barrage of information thrown at you in pre-clinical lectures, in to something that means something.

After all, gobbledegook words like “rituximab”, “pregabalin” and “clopidogrel” are a heck of a lot easier to remember when you are helping dish them out on a daily basis.

It’s also a great way to get various clinical skills signed off for your course. Earn money whilst getting course work done? Win Win!

Also worth noting, that any role within the NHS will count towards your ‘continuing years of service’ which means a) more NHS pension and (potentially) an earlier retirement age and b) you are entitled to more days of annual leave at an earlier point post qualifying.

2) Medical Notes Summariser

A less well known option but equally as beneficial as doing HCA work.

A notes summariser is essentially someone who works in a GP practice going through the Paper Medical Notes of new patients, highlighting the important bits and then putting the key info onto the practice computer system.

Interesting work, pays well (I used to earn £8.50 an hour), often shorter shifts so easy to fit in around lectures on a week day plus physically much easier as there is a comfy chair and supply of coffee guaranteed.

To find roles, have a snoop on the NHS website, University careers websites or even approach practices directly via emailing the Practice Manager.