What To Expect In Medical School?
Medical school is for those who are determined and conscientious. Students who wish to pursue a career in medicine must first be passionate and ambitious, as attending medical school can be a challenging experience for many. Over the span of their course, students will gain general medical education and the foundation for their later career specialisation. The study of pre-clinical and clinical medicine will teach students the multiple facets of a human body, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Those challenging experiences, however, will only serve to enhance medical students’ knowledge and skills into becoming true medical professionals. Such is in alignment with the notable quote by William Osler: “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”. With that said, here are some of the things to expect while attending medical school.
1. Medicine is not a short course
Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) offers Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme that takes 5 years to complete. The reason behind the long course duration is that medicine is not one subject. Medicine consists of a broad range of topics and specialties that students need a strong grasp of to be fully prepared for medical practice. However, medical students’ learning will not stop upon graduation from the MBBS program. Successful medical practitioners are required to be life-long learners, gaining new knowledge and understanding throughout their careers. Although studying medicine could be difficult, the long journey can be very rewarding and fulfilling.
2. Years 1 and 2
The first two years will primarily consist of classroom teachings as well as clinical and practical skills development. Students can expect to be introduced to various fundamental biological subjects. Students at NUMed will also gain a strong foundation in medical ethics and professionalism by studying actual clinical cases. Touring hospitals, local primary care clinics and learning clinically relevant cases will also help them learn basic clinical skills.
3. Year 3
Year 3 is when students apply their academic and clinical training by participating in clinical rotations for specialised practice, assisting doctors in various surgery and internal medicine practices. Following that, students will undertake clinical placements in mental health, child and adolescent health, reproductive health, and primary care. Year 3 will be concluded with a four-week Student Selected Component (SSC), in which students will select a topic of their choice and work on a supervised clinical placement.
4. Year 4
In the fourth year, students will start off by studying clinical decision making that includes various specialised clinical sciences for 14 weeks. Moreover, students also do Advanced Clinical Experience (ACE) – which requires students to follow a number of patients (patient panel) throughout their healthcare experience. Subsequently, students will proceed with their SSC 2 before progressing to Semester 2. Year 4 will be completed after an eight-week elective in which students will have the opportunity to collaborate in learning with NUMed’s network of partners.
5. Year 5
Year 5 is when students revisit their experiences with mental health, reproductive health, child and adolescent health and primary care in the form of assistantships. In addition, students will also undertake a course in their preparation to practise as House Officer – this focuses on regulatory issues, advanced communication, prescribing and working under pressure. In Semester 2, students will conclude their studies with an eight-week clinical rotation in acute and critical care and further assistantships in medicine, primary care and surgery.
There are no shortcuts to becoming a qualified medical practitioner as the professional medical journey requires persistence and hard work. Throughout their academic careers, medical students are expected to face a series of tests and training. Most importantly, aspiring medical students must determine whether the medical field is a good fit for them and make early preparations before committing to the profession of health and healing.