When it comes to studying medicine, people do so due to a lot of reasons. It could be as a result of personal calling, financial gain, career opportunities, prestige, and respect, or any other reason. Studying medicine is not an easy decision because it is long term commitment that comes with a lot of sacrifices.
To know if that medicine is the right program for you, you have to get the right information about medicine in order to guide your decisions. The following might help, anyway:
- Talk to practicing medical professionals, friends, and family.
- Meet your school’s career counselor and talk to him/her about it.
- Conduct some online research.
- Watch fascinating videos and documentaries in the area of medicine.
- Keep up to date with news on medical activities.
- Attend career events and open days. Prepare some questions you would want to be answered too.
- Think about what really matters the most to you. This will help you to know if you can cope with all the challenges involved in studying medicine and ultimately practicing it as a career.
WATCH! – 25 things You Didn’t Know About Studying Medicine
What You Need to Know as a Medical Student
Knowing what the program you are going for should be one of the best decisions to take. There have been quite a number of myths about this great profession that need to be debunked. Some myths like ‘it’s all about work and no play’ are not all so true. Medicine is an interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding career. You will have fun as much as you want. However, do not let other activities take your focus off your reason for being on campus.
The following are some of the things you need to know as a medical student:
- What you learnt is for life. You are not just going to study for examination alone, some of the things you learn as a medical student are going to be applicable throughout your career life.
- You are going to work hard. There are more contact hours for medical students than other students, with practicals and lectures that are time-consuming. There are weeks you are going to work all through and there are some you may not need to do much. You will also have a considerable amount of pressure during examinations because passing the exams is a must and not an option. Don’t panic, you will still have time for other areas of your life like sports and other activities. All you need is proper time management and you are good to go.
- You will be up-to-date with the latest medical research. Studying medicine will bring you to the forefront of current scientific researches. The latest advances in medicine may not be found in textbooks, but your lecturers who are actively involved in the field are going to feed you with them as part of the teaching process.
- Studying medicine requires longer years. It is very much like a marathon and not a sprint. You will spend 5 – 6 years studying and each new year means spending a long time in school than holidaying. Luckily, the holidays come around quickly and you may not notice how much you’ve spent studying.
- You need to organize your activities. One of the challenges of being in school is organizing your work and activities in order not to clash with one another. You have to be the one keeping up with the calendar. Sometimes you will have fun, while others, you might be exhausted from activities and work. Having some kind of system that guides your activities will help you to allocate adequate time for each activity.
Skills Required for the Field
There are a number of qualities that make a good medical student in preparation for becoming a doctor. You need to possess the following traits:
- Academic excellence
- Team work
- Leadership potential
- Management of stress
- Strong communication skills
- Ability to learn quickly and adjust easily
- Problem-solving skills
- Creative thinking
- People skills
- Strong scientific abilities
Career Options Available to You
There are numerous career options available to you as a medical graduate. In case you do not want to be a doctor, you can consider some of the following career options.
- Public health worker
- Medical teacher
- Clinical forensic medical examiner
- Medical researcher
- Sports and exercise medicine
- Medical sales representative
- Medical legal advisor
- Occupational physician
- Transplant coordinator
- Crowd doctor, and so on.
The following reasons could justify why people study medicine and why you should do so too:
- There will be diverse career opportunities open to you.
After graduating as a medical practitioner, you will be faced with a broad range of job opportunities in the field of medicine. You are spoilt for a choice of jobs when you are done with school. This opportunity is rare.
There are opportunities available in hospitals, clinics, research institutions, and other health departments in other career fields. Whatever you wish to become in the healthcare sector, just know that you have about six years to decide that.
- You will help to alleviate people’s pain and suffering.
Have you ever visited hospitals and seen how agonizing some people’s situations are? Have you ever been a patient yourself? Then, you can understand that those difficult moments were very devastating to patients who feel desperate to be cured and live.
A great medic combines his empathy and people’s skills here to make a difference. It makes a difference when you are honest with them as well as encourage and give them hope to live. You will be deeply touched when your patient opens up to you. Those moments will usher you into the realm of seeing your profession from the human point of view and also see reasons to help more people. Nothing makes a medical professional feel fulfilled then this. Knowing that you are part of the reason people live has been some of the turning points in some people’s lives which prompted them to study medicine.
- Medicine is a profession that is in high demand globally.
Medicine is one profession that is needed everywhere, irrespective of the area the person majored in. Many other academic disciplines do not have this advantage. Doctors are needed by the world more than medical schools are producing. The most interesting thing about the demand for doctors is that even countries like the UK and the US are also in need of them. This does not change the fact that middle-income countries in Africa and Asia are the major countries in need of these professionals. When you check most of these European countries that restricted employment to only their nationals, you will discover that medicine is not always on the list. This is to tell you that healthcare professionals are in high demand.
- Medicine avails you of the opportunity to become multilingual.
As an English speaker, all you need to do is to learn one or more foreign languages. This will avail you of the opportunity to be open to more jobs in a wider range of countries, instead of dwelling in only English-speaking countries. For international students, especially, those who study in a country whose official language is not English, studying the official language of your country of residence is usually compulsory for medical students. This is why you must check if English is enough for you to graduate and practice in that country. If it is not so, then, you need to acquire an extra language.
- Medical professionals earn high salaries.
Choosing medicine is one decision that will be more enjoyable when seeking employment. In a country where young people still find it difficult to gain employment, medical graduates do not fall into that category. They won’t just be gainfully employed, their salaries are usually above average.
What is more intriguing in all this is the fact that doctors earn high salaries. Some countries fear to owe their doctors because once they do so, the doctors would find no difficulty in landing better-paying jobs. Some even travel abroad to seek better offers with a better standard of living.
Furthermore, in developed countries, doctors are never underpaid. Their average salaries are usually above $150 000 per annum. With experience and more qualifications comes an increase in salaries. It is always very good to acquire more advanced degrees as they open more doors to high income paying jobs or even a better raise in your current place of employment.
But then, be ready for more stress and sleepless nights. You may not get to have much time with family members and loved ones. That’s where the real job lies.
- Reputation and status
When it comes to medicine, people always accord special respect to ‘Doctors’. As such, doctors and other medical professionals are considered respected members of society. This also earns them a kind of trust from people because they are seen as symbols of services and responsibilities towards society. When they stand to speak to people, much attention is paid to them, particularly on matters regarding community health and well-being.
- You will get the opportunity to be involved in some medical research.
It is exciting to research the human body. There is so many uncountable information about the human organs, tissues, and systems and the unique ways they function. Studying medicine is not relegated to theories and practical skills alone, you can choose to do some research on almost all issues of life – both the living and non-living things. You will spend quality time in laboratories, where you can examine cells, conduct experiments on them, and discover new and improved ways to tackle human health and wellness.
New discoveries keep springing up daily and what’s even more interesting is that better and advanced approaches to the improvement of health are also discovered. You will be able to understand how diseases are spread and develop a better cure and proactive measures for that. Medical research helps you to discover something where others searched and found nothing or could not understand the subject at that time. One of the situations is COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak has led to other discoveries about human bodies.
- You will have opportunities to travel world round.
As a globally recognized profession, medicine is valued anywhere in the world. You will find fascinating career opportunities abroad. Because there are global needs for doctors, you could decide to pick up any country of your choice and build your career there. For a better chance to practice, however, you might need to obtain a license in such a country of your choice. Not forgetting that being multilingual will avail you of better options.
- You will never stop learning.
Learning is one of the exciting things about medicine. Though a challenging career, if you are naturally curious about life, you might find satisfaction in medicine because there is always something new to learn in this field. You will need your critical thinking and problem-solving skills to attend to patients in your area of specialty. If as a student you enjoyed science subjects, coupled with intellectual skills, you might find a stimulating career by following the path of medicine.
- You will get to meet lots of people.
If sitting behind a computer or working in a secluded environment is your nightmare, then, medicine might be exactly the right career for just you. You will get to meet different kinds of people with different kinds of symptoms and ailments. No two days are exactly the same as each day ushers you with new experiences.
It is not too late to decide if studying medicine is for you. You will get to enjoy more when you begin the journey in the midst of other intelligent students. Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy a fascinating trip into the world of medicine. Succes awaits you at the other side.