Welcome to medicine

Well done and congratulations on getting into medicine - I know you'll have worked very hard to get to medical school and you deserve to be proud of yourself.

I'm Colin Melville, Medical Director and Director of Education and Standards at the General Medical Council (GMC). We oversee medical education and training in the UK, and we maintain the medical register of all our doctors - your name will be on this register once you've finished your course.

Medicine is fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a medical student in the 1980s. There is a lot to learn and a lot to do. At different times you may feel excited, challenged, bewildered or confused - sometimes perhaps even wondering if you made the right choice. But in the end it will be worth it. Because you have a privilege in society to work for people's health in a way that no other sector in society does.

Achieving good medical practice

In the UK, we hold doctors in great esteem. So we want you to uphold our professional standards. That means thinking, even now, about what it means to be a doctor and what behaviours and attributes are required of you to maintain that professional status that we hold.

To help you with this, we have guidance called Achieving good medical practice and other materials to support you.

Get support when you need it

I know studying medicine is hard work and can be stressful - up to 25% of medical students at different times feel a huge sense of stress, bordering on mental health problems. So be kind to yourself and think about the balance of how much work, study, downtime and relaxation you have. And if you're experiencing any stress at all, please seek help - your medical school is set up to support you and help you succeed.

There'll be lots of people asking for your time in these first weeks of medical school. But I'd recommend finding a few minutes to thumb through this booklet, which gives some great advice to help you get through your studies and achieve your aim of becoming a doctor.

Enjoy freshers' week, enjoy your studies, enjoy your course. And most of all, welcome to medicine.

Professor Colin Melville

Medical Director and Director of Education and Standards, GMC