Medicine is similar to other professions is many ways, but it is also different from other professions in many more ways. The hustle of medical school is like no other undergraduate course. As well as studying for a degree, you have begun your training for the career. Your career starts now.
You have now adopted a culture where juggling numerous extracurricular activities is the norm; you turn down more social events than you’d like; your term/semester begins with, is interrupted by or end with 1-3 assessments or exams! The list goes on. Only other medical students/student doctors understand this way of life. Although your family and friends are very proud of you, there is an air of disappointment. Even though you try to explain the structure of your course, the emotional demands, the time constraints, your goals and aspiration, “they just don’t get it”.
But remember you are not alone on this journey, there are hundreds of students just like you in the country, and there are thousands of students around the world in your position (some worse off). Stay true to your convictions and try to maintain a healthy balance of things. Know your priorities. Remember, medical school is but for a season; how you handle medical school is an indicator of how you will handle life as a doctor.
I really enjoyed the experience of working in a clinical environment. I was excited because it felt unreal, I’d fought hard to get into medical school and I was potentially standing in the environment I would be working in in the near future. It gave me that extra encouragement from time to time when I doubted if being a doctor is the right profession for me. A lot of the time it did make me upset, I spoke to a lot of people who suffered with chronic illnesses and the description of their physical and emotional pain made me feel down. A lot of what I thought about medicine came from the media; there are also times when the doctor has to tell family members of their recent loss. Speaking to someone who describes their chronic pain really hits home how emotionally draining this profession will be and medical school can be. In a way it has taken me from childhood to adulthood, my faith also. There is so much pain and suffering in the world, it reinforces my belief that God really has a plan.
Photo Credit: PhotoPin
Year 1 Student Doctor
You may find that throughout medical school, you may live in more than 10 different locations over your 4-6 years of medical study. This may be because the location of each medical speciality placement vary and require students to move around. Or, it could just be part of the university or college experience, as your friendship groups change, so does your home! This can sometimes be a daunting, overwhelming, lonely or simply annoying experience. Other than the practical issues of landlords, deposits, contracts and finances, here are a few suggestions to make your experience more pleasurable:
- When possible, have a look at what the accommodation of the coming year anticipates. Be aware of the location (town/city), travelling options and costs, onsite facilities, duration of accommodation stay, local attractions (restaurants, supermarkets/food stores, museums, etc). Knowing what to expect can help!
- Bring along 2-3 personal items that can transform a bland, impersonal, lonely room to your personal resting place, i.e. photographs, posters, cds/dvds, dumbbells, cushion, bedroom gown/house coat, etc
- New places often bring an unfamiliar scent, which are not always pleasant! Candles are a great tool for candle lovers, otherwise a plug-in air freshener will do. For those interested in candles, Yankee Candles are amazing but with a student budget, these may be too costly – so why not make your own!? Here is a link to a DIY candle tutorial you may find helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U29HxuJQie0
- Remember it’s a phase. The hustle of medical school is just a phase, and this includes the hassle of moving from accommodation to accommodation. Also use this opportunity to get to know your new neighbours and environment!
Writing an application letter to send to your short-list of hospitals and institutions for your elective is one hurdle that Medics’ Inn will help you LEAP over! Click to download Medics’ Inn Sample Elective Application Letter to get a head start!
Name: Adepero Ajayi
Hospital: Lagoon Hospital, Apapa, Nigeria
Elective Period: March 2015
Specialities: General Medicine & Surgery, Emergency Medicine/Paediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Duration: 4 weeks
We started our rotation from Medicine > Surgery > Pediatrics/Emergency medicine > Obstetrics & Gynecology.
I would like to share about the hospital environment before I talk about the practice, if I take specific interest in discussing some issues and they seem normal to you, it is because in my school things are not particularly done that way and I appreciated that it was done with such seriousness in another practice.
The hospital environment was welcoming, everyone was practically happy to see you, always greeting regardless of who you are.
For medicine posting, we joined the ward-rounds and attended clinics, took vitals and answered a million and one questions. Many Nigerians are hypertensive and diabetic, we should watch it! I didn’t like the consultant we were assigned, so my first week wasn’t pleasant and I contemplated stopping but thanks to Ba’ami who encouraged me to continue and asked me to stop if my second posting was like that.
I resumed for the second week with fingers crossed, I’m glad I didn’t stop. They carried out at least ten procedures daily and the surgeons were excited to impact knowledge. We observed right hemicolectomy, several colonoscopy, osteotomy, hernioraphy, spinal fixture, gastroscopy, hysterectomy, endoscopy, knee replacement etc. It was sad we missed the open-heart surgeries done before we started the posting.
Everyone was very cautious of infection control, zero tolerance for any wrong act. Procedures were well explained to patients before it was done; patients were assured if they were anxious in the sweetest way ever. Everything needed for the surgery was inside the theatre, no need to run anywhere in search of what wasn’t lost in case of any emergencies.
The manner in which the patients were addressed was also something that thrilled me, such courtesy and manner of approach. At this point, anyone might want to say, “It’s because it’s a private hospital.” I beg to differ, the federal and state hospitals are meant to be better, if a private owned organization can offer that what is the excuse of the government. It is possible and that I know as two of my colleagues shared their experience in other hospitals in Africa.
The emergency room was well managed and organized, everyone alert for an emergency case. We clerked and managed patients at ER. Something that thrilled me beyond measure was the maintenance system of the hospital, which is the major reason for the dilapidating state in our hospitals. Any complaints were addressed immediately no matter how negligible it was. The cleaners were always cleaning and the toilets were always clean, ensuring toilet rolls were available.
The kitchen was another interesting part of our stay, there was no monopoly of food type and I must say kudos to the chef, my heart was at ease knowing whatever I was eating was well prepared and perfectly healthy for me. The quality of food was very good, Sike and Nonso can testify to that. The chef was also friendly; he made us food sometimes on demand.
Here I was commending the staff of Lagoon Hospital Apapa, then I attended the clinical seminar on Ethics and I was blown away with the fact that they were not relenting on the standard already created but striving for more. How beautiful! I’m used to grand rounds were patient cases are discussed but never one in which the vision, principles and values of the hospital are engraved in the heart of the staff. iCARE an acronym for Integrity, Compassionate, Attentiveness, Respect and Excellence represents the values of the organization which every member of staff must uphold at every point.
The use of electronic medical report (EMR) system was fantastic, absurd we still use case-notes, what happens if they got burnt, huh? The EMR has patients record from whenever they registered. Tests are done and results gotten as soon as possible, minimal stress on patients and doctors with the use of intercom. This makes patient care faster and more efficient.
The doctors are very friendly and they took us tutorials. Another part of the experience I enjoyed was when they ask Sike and I for our names,
“I am Ajayi.”
“What about you?”
“I am Ajayi.” Epic moment! The drama that follow is usually amusing, they give the look of ‘you guys must be joking’ we give the look of ‘we bad like that’. Lol
I was happy I met Dr Dayo, Oni, Henry, Onabanjo, Anniebuna; and Dr Bukola who saved me the day I had diarrhea, I wish you all the best.
Obstetrics and Gynecology posting was good, here we met another Ajayi. We joined during the consultations at the clinic, examined patients, observed several caesarian sections, hysterectomy etc . There is something about Ajayis and O&G.
Doctor Ajayi was so pleasant; he was my best consultant there. Dr Akinniranye was such a peace loving man, teaching with such gentleness in the intensive care unit and high dependency unit, Dr Onakoya was very interesting too, I wouldn’t forget Blount’s disease for a long time that’s if I’ll ever forget. I haven’t had my neurosurgery posting yet but Dr Ojo was willing to explain the procedure of spinal fixture to us in his usual gentle manner. Dr Jimi Coker is a man of excellence, Sike said she will rather call him Prof, so Prof Jimi Coker, this man touched my being with the way he took his job and addressed everyone under him, surgeon extraordinaire. Although we meet Dr Abudu on the last day of our rotation, explaining how he was going to do the knee replacement to us was enlightening, one of us had the opportunity to watch because of infection control, and he wanted as few people in the theatre as possible.
Two other things I noticed, the bed cover was changed for each patient in the clinic and you sanitize your hand after every contact with patients, even if all you did was give an instrument used for a patient. Hand sanitizers were all over the walkway.
I’m grateful for this opportunity as I have honed my clinical skills and have a broader view of medicine as a profession, special thanks to God for journey mercies this past few week especially when the bus we boarded collided with a trailer on the bridge. For meeting this amazing people, I’m honoured.
Have a look at Adepero Ajayi’s full post on: https://perryztot.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/my-electives-experience/
The traditional format of medical school in the UK, is quite similar to medical school in Nigeria.
On average, a medical degree requires 6 years of undergraduate study of Medicine. First year is in the Faculty of Science, students study the basic sciences i.e. Biology, Physics and Chemistry. In second and third year, students go on to learn anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. The remaining 3 years are spent in the clinical environment at a Teaching Hospital for students to be taught General Surgery, Pathology, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, etc…
Most often, there are 4 important written exams, these are commonly referred to as MB exams. One occurs at the end of the second year, one after the fourth year, one after the fifth year and the last exam after the sixth year.
This is a simplified overview of undergraduate medical education in Nigeria, variations are expected between medical schools.
Please comment below with your suggestions and questions, or contact us directly.
It can be difficult to know which teaching hospitals and medical schools to consider for your medical elective. Always conduct a thorough search into your institution in Nigeria and confirm with your medical school your chosen location meets their requirements.
Here are some suggestions of where to start when organising you elective in Nigeria.
“The Medical and Dental professions in Nigeria are regulated by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap 221 (now Cap M8) Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990 which sets up the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria with the following mandates:
- Regulation of training in Medicine, Dentistry and Alternative Medicine in Nigeria
- Regulation of Medical, Dental and Alternative Medicine practice in Nigeria.
- Determination of the knowledge and skills of these professionals.
- Regulation and control of Laboratory Medicine in Nigeria.”
Cited March 2015
Fully Accredited Nigerian Medical Schools
- College of Health Sciences, Abia State University Uturu, Abia State
- College of Health Sciences, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom
- College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Nnewi, Anambra State
- College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Borno State
- College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, Cross – Rivers State
- College of Health Sciences, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State
- College of Health Sciences, Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, Ebonyi State
- College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin-City, Edo State
- College of Health Sciences, Igbinedion University Okada, Edo State
- College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo State
- College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu State
- College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi- Araba, Lagos State
- College of Medicine, Lagos State University Ikeja, Lagos State
- Obafemi Awolowo College of Health Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye, Ogun Sate.
- College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State.
- College of Medicine, Enugu State University of Science & Technology, Enugu, Enugu State
- College of Medicine, Imo State University Owerri, Imo State
- Faculty of Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State.
- Faculty of Medicine, Bayero University Kano, Kano State
- College of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Kwara State
- College of Health Sciences, Bingham University Karu, Nasarawa State
- College of Health Sciences, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State
- College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Osun State
- College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodio University Sokoto, Sokoto State
- College of Health Sciences, Madonna University Elele, Rivers State
- College of Health Sciences, University of Port- Harcourt, Rivers State
- College of Health Sciences, Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State
- College of Health Sciences, Anambra State University, Uli Anambra State
- Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Plateau State
- College of Health Sciences, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State
- College of Health Sciences, Babcock University, Ilisham-Remo, Ogun State
- College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo State
Approved Nigerian Teaching Hospitals
- Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba
- University of Uyo Teaching Hospital
- Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi
- University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital
- University of Calabar Teaching Hospital
- Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki
- University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City
- University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
- Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano
- Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria
- University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin
- Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba
- Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja
- Olabisi Onabanjo (Ogun State) University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu
- LAUTECH teaching Hospital, Osogbo
- OAU Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife
- University College Hospital, Ibadan
- Jos University Teaching Hospital
- University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital
- Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto
- Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara
- University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada
- Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri
- Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi