Pursuing a Career in Medicine
Medicine is one of the most competitive careers in the world, with doctors ranking among the most sought after professional. Conversely, the competition in pursuing a career in medicine is keen as there are specific entry requirement that pre-med students ought to meet to qualify for the few slots available. While joining a medical school is competitive all over the world, securing an opportunity in one in Canada is, as Born and Dhalla found out, turning out to be a nightmare (2011). Therefore, more and more Canadian students are enrolling for medicine courses abroad due to increased competition and the scarcity of slots at home. However, the Canadian doctors who are trained from abroad are said to be facing difficulties in securing placements in Canada. Nonetheless, what are the prospects of pursuing medicine in Canada? This essay looks into the medicine career and its relation with biomedical science major.
Medicine is a career that encompasses diverse health care practices revolving around the maintenance and restoration of health. It involves aspects of diagnoses, treatment and prevention of diseases, all for the purpose of attaining good health. Medicine as broader science is made up of various specialties that enable professional to specialize in specific fields. On the other hand, biomedical science is a course that involves the study of how the human body functions with respect to health and diseases (Institute of Biomedical Science, 2014). Biomedical science enhances the understanding of cells and organ functions under different conditions, an understanding that is fundamental in the developing of treatments. However, a biomedical science study is not a replacement for medicine. Rather, the course may act as a bridge towards pursuing a career in medicine as biomedical science students may choose to pursue a career in medicine. While biomedical student may be better placed to study medicine, it is important to note that the course is not necessarily a pre-requisite for medicine.
For one to venture in a medicine career, there are various educational and non-educational pre-qualification requirements. Firstly, medicine requires an extensive education program which may take from 11 to 16 years (The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, 2014). Although the exact education program may vary across regions, it includes, on average, basic college education, undergraduate medical degree and residency training. The college education takes an average of four years with an emphasis on science subjects or any science related course such as biomedical science. On top of the college education, one also needs fours to 5 years undergraduate medical education in any of the accredited medical institutions or departments. Further, medical graduates enroll in the residency program that may take from three to seven years. Residency programs combine both the learning and working environment as the student will normally be working under the supervision of the educators. At the residence program level, students focus chose their area of specialty which determines the length of the program.
Apart from the educational requirements, practicing medical professionals is expected to obtain licenses from the relevant bodies. In most countries, health professionals acquire a practicing license from the respective accreditation bodies on completion of the undergraduate degree. Moreover, some institutions enlist a practicing license as a pre-qualification when applying for a residence training program. Apart from education and accreditation requirements, the nature of medical career requires one to possess certain traits. For example, one ought to be a good listener, be able to handle challenges, and a person who cares for other people.
While attaining the necessary qualification in the medical profession may appear as a normal career path, it has been proven to be a task in Canada. The education pre-qualification requirements for medical doctors in Canada is similar to other parts of the world, that is, an undergraduate degree is sufficient, but is normally followed by a residence training. However, the capacity of the institutions that trains the would-be doctors in Canada is significantly low than the number of applicants aspiring to join medical school. This is because there are less than 20 institutions accredited by Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) to train medical doctors. Therefore, the medicine programs in Canada are not just expensive but also fiercely competitive. To manage the high number of applicants intending to study medicine, Canadian medical schools have, therefore, set various standards that ought to be met, including a standardized Medical School Admission Test. Further, applicant are subjected to a holistic review of general personality and experience
How should one stand out to qualify for a medicine career in the competitive Canadian environment? In addition to having studied the relevant science subjects in colleges, the would-be doctors may increase their chances of securing admission in Canadian medical schools by generally increasing their knowledge in the field of medicine. For instance, they may consider volunteering in hospitals and health centers to gain experience in the profession. While at colleges, the aspiring doctor should utilize every available opportunity to participate in health-related extra-curricular activities. Finally, aspiring doctors are advised to carry out adequate research ahead of the school admission test so as to appear as an all-round person in the test.
Born, K. and Dhalla, I. (2011). Why are so many Canadians going abroad to study medicine? Healthydebate. Retrieved November 8, 2014 from http://healthydebate.ca/2011/03/topic/politics-of-health-care/why-are-so-many-canadians-going-abroad-to-study-medicine
Institute of Biomedical Science. (2014). Careers in biomedical science. Retrieved November 8, 2014 from https://www.ibms.org/go/biomedical-science/careers-jobs/careers
The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. (2014). Admission Requirements of Canadian Faculties of Medicine (2015). Retrieved November 8, 2014 from https://www.afmc.ca/publications-admission-e.php