Guidance to help you
As a medical student, you are not just one of the doctors of tomorrow, you are the face of today's health services. And with this comes unparalleled rewards and responsibilities, both in your clinical life and in your personal life.
With so much to learn as a student, it's easy to put off thinking about professional standards. But the sooner you get to grips with them, the sooner you can establish positive habits that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your career.
Browse our student guidance, videos and case studies to get to know the values expected of you as a medical student and a future doctor.
Achieving good medical practice
Training to be a good doctor starts now at medical school. During your studies, you'll learn the importance of professionalism and the principles and values set out in our core guidance for doctors, Good medical practice, and the explanatory guidance that supports it.
Achieving good medical practice shows how these principles apply to you as a medical student. It deals with questions like how to be professional in clinical placements, dos and don'ts for social media, how to handle unconscious bias, and how to behave outside of medical school.
Understanding how our guidance applies now and later in your career will help you to be a good student and, in the future, a good doctor.
We've produced tools to help you use the guidance, including:
- our myth busters and questions about professionalism, including student fitness to practise procedures
- a video by medical school teachers explaining why they think the guidance and professionalism are important
- winning competition entries from other students about Achieving good medical practice
- fictional case studies of students going through professionalism procedures.
You'll receive a copy of Achieving good medical practice at the beginning of your course.
Ask for help if you are struggling
Everyone makes mistakes, gets ill or finds it hard to cope sometimes. Honesty is one of the fundamental qualities of medical professionalism. Being open about any problems you face will always be better than ignoring them or lying about them. The vast majority of issues can be dealt with and won't stop you becoming a doctor. Medical schools are there to support you so seek help if you're struggling or worried about something.
What happens if things go wrong?
Getting to know our guidance Achieving good medical practice can help you understand what is expected of you as a medical student, and what would be considered unprofessional.
Each year, about one per cent of medical students go through professionalism or student fitness to practise procedures with their medical school. Most cases are related to unprofessional behaviour or 'misconduct', for example sharing patient information on social media, not being honest about missing teaching sessions, or plagiarising work. Despite what you might expect, this is a supportive process that usually results in the medical school putting support measures in place, or issuing the student with a warning.
When you come to register with us, you will be asked to declare any past fitness to practise issues openly and honestly. We have a duty to look into all issues declared, but the overwhelming majority of medical students who declare a fitness to practise issue go on to join the register.
A note on declaring criminal matters
When you apply for registration with us at the end of your degree, we’ll ask you about any criminal matters - for example if you’ve received a fixed penalty notice, caution or conviction you may need to declare it to us. The law is different across the United Kingdom so whether you need to declare something to your medical school depends on the country where you’re studying. Find out more about what you should declare when applying for registration and what you should share with your medical school.