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Taking a year out

Would it work for you?

  • By: Rebecca Ghani
  • Published: 09 October 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e6254
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e6254

A year off in your educational calendar conjures up images of carefree travel; of working abroad; of taking time out for yourself and doing that thing you’ve always wanted to. People usually do this between key stages of education—post A level or post degree—and it’s generally acknowledged to be “a good thing.”

But what about taking a year out in the middle of a medical degree? How does this work, and why would students weave this into their educational tapestry?

Tom Fardon, consultant chest physician at NHS Tayside and Systems in Practice Convenor at University of Dundee medical school explains: “The commonest reason for taking a year out, in my experience, has been childbirth.

“We have a number of students who are mature students—our mature intake is about 10%—and we have about 55% female, 45% male split. That means we do have a significant number of young women each year

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