HOW TO BECOME A DOCTOR
The medical doctor has long been regarded as one of society’s most revered members. Indigenous nations’ traditional healers were valued for their expertise in the healing arts. The doctor in Nigeria is called upon not merely to treat patients, but also to provide advice and assistance. This is one of the reasons why Medicine is one of the most sought-after courses in UTME tests year after year. But what exactly does it mean to be a doctor?
What does it take to become a medical doctor in Nigeria?
It takes a long time to become a doctor. Following secondary school, you will attend medical school for six years, one year as an intern, and another year as a Youth Corper. From the time you start university until the time you start practising medicine, it’s been eight years. If you want to be a specialist, you’ll need to complete another 4-7 years of resident training at a teaching hospital. This means that starting from your first year of university, you’ll require between 12 and 17 years of study to become a speciality doctor.
Being a doctor necessitates a particular level of intelligence. Organization and solid study habits, on the other hand, can be the difference between a good student who succeeds in medical school and a bright student who does not.
There are three pillars to a successful (and not financially rewarding!) career in medicine:
- General enthusiasm for studying.
- A genuine intellectual interest in medicine, in particular.
- A tremendous willingness to lend a hand to others.
Being intelligent and performing well in the sciences are undoubtedly crucial qualities for a successful physician. However, they are not the only requirements; you must also be able to communicate effectively with others. As a doctor, you have the potential to assist people. A good physician must have a desire to help people and a desire to enjoy helping others. This isn’t something you can learn.
You have a lot of options in medicine. What other profession allows you to choose between delivering babies (obstetricians), caring for children (paediatricians), treating women (gynaecologists), dealing with emergencies (traumatologists), removing a hernia or appendix (surgeons), assisting people with behavioural issues (psychiatrists), or preventing diseases (community medicine)? Even better, as a specialist, you can teach others about your medical specialization while continuing to practice your own. Alternatively, you can research in any field that interests you, with the potential to make a significant contribution to the prevention or treatment of disease. Medicine even has its own Nobel Prize.
Subjects you should take seriously in secondary school.
Prospective medical students must pass the West African School Certificate, Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination, or any equivalent test, such as the National Examination Council (NECO), with at least Credit level passes in the five topics listed above.
They must next choose from the following options:
1. Pass the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination to gain admission to the University preliminary (premedical) year, or
2. Pass the Advanced Level General Certificate (GCE’A’ Level) to gain exemption from the JAMB and the University preliminary year. Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or its equivalent test.
Subject to the co-ordinating regulations of the JAMB, it shall be the right of the Medical School to select candidates for final admission to their institutions from among eligible candidates who possess these minimum requirements. You need to score a high mark in your UTME examination.
In theory, you should score at least 200 on the UTME to be considered for admission to most colleges; however, in fact, you may need to score 250 or above to be considered for medicine. After that, you must pass the University of your choice’s Post UTME Screening Examinations with flying colours.
Finally, several universities have instituted pre-degree programs through which candidates can qualify to read medicine by completing a one-year university-sponsored curriculum similar to the HSC.
What Universities Are You Considering?
Nigerian universities are divided into three categories based on who owns them: Federal Universities, State-Owned Universities, and Private Universities. According to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), there are 32 medical schools in Nigeria (MDCN is a federal Government parastatal that oversees the practice of Medicine, Dentistry and Alternative Medicine in Nigeria) (MDCN is a federal Government parastatal that regulates the practice of Medicine, Dentistry and Alternative Medicine in Nigeria). Twenty-five of them is completely accredited to teach medical students, while the remaining seven are just partially accredited. Table 1 shows the list of Nigerian medical schools that are fully accredited, while Table 2 shows the list of medical schools that are partially accredited:
Nigeria has fully accredited medical schools
- Lagos State University’s College of Medicine is located in Ikeja, Lagos State.
- The University of Calabar, College of Medical Sciences, Cross River State
- College of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Kwara State.
- The University of Ibadan, College of Medicine, Oyo State
- Usman Dan Fodiyo University’s College of Health Sciences is located in Sokoto, Sokoto State.
- University of Port Harcourt’s College of Health Sciences
- Obafemi Awolowo University’s College of Health Sciences is located in Ile Ife, Osun State.
- The University of Lagos, College of Medicine, Idi Araba, Lagos
- Abia State University’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences is located in Uturu, Abia State.
- Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, College of Health Sciences
- Ambrose Alli University’s College of Medicine is located in Ekpoma.
- The University of Jos, Faculty of Medical Sciences
- Bayero University, Kano State, Faculty of Medicine
- Olabisi Onabanjo (previously Ogun State) University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State.
- Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Sagamu, Olabisi Onabanjo (formerly Ogun State) University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State.
- Madonna University Elele, Rivers State, College of Medicine, Imo State University, Owerri College of Health Science
- The University of Benin, College of Medical Sciences, Benin City, Edo State
- Oba Okunade College of Health Sciences Igbinedion University Okada, Benin -City, Edo State.
- College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus. Enugu.
- College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi.
- Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
- The University of Maiduguri, College of Medical Sciences.
- Delta State University, College of Health Sciences, Abraka.
- College of Medicine, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu
- The University of Uyo, College Of Health Sciences, Akwa Ibom
- College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State.
Nigerian Medical Schools That Are Only Partially Accredited
- Bigham University Karu, Nasarawa, College of Health Sciences
- Niger Delta University’s College of Health Sciences is located on Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa.
- Benue State University, Makurdi, College of Health Sciences
- Ekiti State University’s College of Medicine, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
- Bowen University Iwo Jima, College of Health Sciences.
- Afe Babalola University’s College of Health Sciences, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.
A Medical Student’s Life In College
You’ll be at university for at least six years. Because of the enormous amount of labour you’ll have to do, these six years are likely to be the most difficult of your life.
The first year in college
Your first year at university will not be spent at the Medical School, but rather in the Faculty of Science, where you will study primarily Physics, Chemistry, and Zoology, with a few other (minor) subjects thrown in for good measure. Unlike most other courses, where a passing grade of 40% is required, you must earn at least 50% in all subjects to advance to the second year.
Years of Preclinical Research (Second and First semester of the third year)
The following three semesters will most likely be the most difficult of your life. I’m not kidding. Every day, including some Saturdays, you will be in the classroom or laboratory for at least 10-12 hours. After that, you must read for another 6-8 hours to avoid falling behind in your studies.
The following are examples of preclinical subjects:
- Anatomy is the study of the human body’s gross and microscopic structure. In the practical sessions, you will dissect cadavers.
2. Physiology is the study of the normal functions of the human body and its various sections.
3. Biochemistry is the study of the chemical and physical processes that take place inside the human body.
4. Medical genetics is the study of human heredity and the diversity in inherited traits.
5. Community Medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses (Also called Preventive and Social Medicine).
You will take your first Medical School Examination at the end of this period. Before moving on to the next level, you must pass all of your subjects. The passing grade is 50%.
Years in the Clinic
This is where we’ll be for the next three and a half years. When you reach this stage in most medical schools, you will be transferred to the Teaching Hospital, where you will be able to stay in dormitories. You will not have the same nine months of schooling and two to three months of vacation time as typical undergraduates. You won’t be able to take frequent vacations because you’ll be in school for virtually the entire year. The patients become your subjects, and the hospital becomes your laboratory. You will learn the science of medicine in class and the art of medicine in the wards and clinics. You will transform from a student to a doctor during this period.
You’ll learn how to gather information from patients and combine it with other information to make diagnoses. You will transform into a new person, one who is sensitive, caring, empathic, responsible, and inquisitive.
The subjects you’ll be studying at this point are split into two categories. There are two types of clinical sciences: basic clinical sciences and clinical sciences. In most medical schools, the two are done concurrently, however, the basic clinical sciences are completed in the fourth year. Basic Medical Sciences includes the following subjects:
The branch of medicine concerned with the uses, effects, and mechanisms of action of medications is known as pharmacology.
Pathology is the branch of medicine that investigates the causes, nature, and consequences of diseases.
The following specialities make up pathology:
The branch of medicine that deals with illnesses of the blood and blood-forming organs are known as haematology.
Medical microbiology is the study of microbes and their effects on humans.
Chemical pathology is a branch of pathology that focuses on the analysis of bodily fluids. It’s what’s known as Biochemical Pathology, which is the pathological side of medical biochemistry. Medical Biochemistry research has gone awry.
Anatomical Pathology is a medical speciality that deals with disease diagnosis using gross, microscopic, chemical, immunologic, and molecular examinations of organs, tissues, and complete bodies (autopsy). It is Anatomy’s diseased aspect. Anatomy is being studied incorrectly.
Clinical Sciences are considered by many to be the most important aspect of medical school. Years are spent studying how to care for patients on a hands-on basis. Ward Coats are worn, and you participate in Ward Rounds and Clinics with Consultants, Resident Doctors, and House Officers (also called Interns). You assist in the treatment of actual patients with real issues. These are the years of clerkship. These are the years during which you will truly learn how to “become a doctor.” This is where you learn to apply what you’ve learned in the Basic Medical and Basic Clinical topics to real-life situations with living people.
Clinical Sciences includes the following topics:
- Paediatrics: is a discipline of medicine that deals with children and their illnesses.
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology: These are essentially two separate subjects: Obstetrics, which is concerned with childbirth and the care of women who have given birth, and Gynaecology, which is concerned with women’s functions and disorders, particularly those affecting the reproductive system.
- Community Medicine: This is the discipline of medicine that deals with disease and injury prevention.
- Surgery: Surgery is a discipline of medicine that uses surgical methods to treat disease or injury.
- Medicine: Medicine is concerned with the non-surgical prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.
You will sit for the final Professional Medical School Examination at the end of this session, which will qualify you to become a Medical Doctor and change your status forever. You will no longer be addressed as Mr., Miss, Ms., or Mrs.; instead, you will be referred to as a Dr The MDCN will grant you a Provisional License to practice medicine as an Intern in Nigeria for a year. You must, however, complete one more stage before you can practice without supervision.
Before you can be fully registered, you must complete a twelve-month internship in a hospital that has been certified by the MDCN for internship training. You will receive your certificate of full registration after completing your internship, allowing you to completely practice medicine in Nigeria. You must complete this internship within twenty-four months of graduation, otherwise, you will be forced to appear for and pass MDCN’s assessment exam before being officially registered.
Many individuals consider medicine to be a “calling,” similar to the priesthood. To some extent, this is undoubtedly correct. To become a doctor, you must have a strong desire. A burning desire to help others, be challenged and learn new things throughout your life. You will give up your time and energy to care for your patients, frequently neglecting your family and yourself in the process. The majority of doctors will tell you that they could not imagine doing anything else. Being a doctor isn’t only what they do; it’s who they are. They need to help others, just like they need to breathe or feed. Once you’ve decided to become a doctor, you must devote your entire life to it.