For so many centuries, the medical doctor has been one of the most respected members of society. Traditional healers of indigenous tribes were revered for their knowledge of the healing arts. In Nigeria, the doctor is called upon not only treat patients, but is also called upon for advice and guidance as well. This is one of the reasons why year in, and year out, Medicine has been one of the most sought after courses in UTME examinations.
Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Medical Doctor?
Becoming a doctor takes time. After secondary education, you will spend six years in the medical school, one year as an intern and another year as a Youth Corper. That’s eight years from starting university to practicing medicine. If you decide to become a specialist, then you are looking at another 4-9 years of residency training in a teaching hospital. This means that to become a specialist doctor, you need between 12 and 17 years of training, counting from your first year in the university.
It takes a certain amount of intelligence to become a medical doctor. However, organization and good study habits can make the difference between a mediocre student who gets through medical school and a brilliant student who fails to make it.
There are three cornerstones of a successful (this success is not defined by money!) career in medicine:
• A love for learning in general.
• A true intellectual curiosity about medicine in particular.
• A strong desire to help others.
Being smart and doing well in the sciences are obviously important components of being a successful physician. But these are not the only requirement, you must also be able to relate well with people. As a physician you have an opportunity to help others. Wanting to help others and enjoying helping others are necessary attributes of a good physician. This is something that cannot be taught.
In medicine, you have many choices. In what other career can you choose between delivering babies (Obstetricians), taking care of children (Paediatricians), treating women (Gynaecologists), handling emergencies (Traumatologists), removing a hernia or appendix (Surgeons), helping those with behavioural problems (Psychiatrists), or preventing diseases (Community Medicine)? Better yet, as a specialist, you can teach others your medical specialty, while still practicing your profession. Alternately, you can do research in whatever specialty you choose, with the potential to make a real breakthrough in preventing or treating illness. There is even a Nobel Prize for Medicine. You can become the Wole Soyinka of Medicine! In addition, being a physician is honourable and is held in high esteem. It allows you to live just about anywhere, and provides job security.
However, all of this comes at a price. The many years of preparation, the discipline, the awesome responsibility and the long call duty hours can take their toll. Medicine is a unique field and it demands a unique person.
What Subjects Should You Take in Your Senior Secondary School to Qualify for Admission to Read Medicine?
According to the MDCN Website (the Red Book), the following secondary school subjects are required for medical education in Nigeria:
Prospective medical students must pass the West African School Certificate or the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination or any equivalent examination, Such as National Examination Council (NECO), with at least Credit level passes in the above five subjects.
They must then either:
1. Pass the JAME Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination) for admission into the University preliminary (premedical) year or
2. Secure exemption from the JAME and the University Preliminary year by passing the Advanced Level General Certificate (GCE’A’ Level). Higher School Certificate (HSC) or its equivalent examination in: Biology: Chemistry and Physics.
Subject to the co-ordinating regulations of the JAME, 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 are advised to score at least 200 in UTME examinations to be considered for admission into most universities, in practice, to be considered for medicine, you may need to score 250 and above. After that, you will need to pass the Post UTME Screening Examinations of the University of your choice very well too.
Top 10 Nigerian Universities for Studying Medicine
1) University of Ibadan.
2) Obafemi awolowo university.
3) University of Ilorin.
4) Ahmadu bello university Zaria.
5) University of lagos.
6) Lagos state University.
7) University of Nigeria Nsukka.
8) Delta state university Abraka.
9) Niger delta university.
10) Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma.