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Are you thinking about studying medicine as a second degree or as a mature student? Here are 3 things to definitely consider!
All over the world, obtaining a medical degree is not cheap! So the wise thing to do would be to count the cost first before you embark on this journey!
Tuition fees? Living costs? Travel costs? Books, resources, etc? Can you really afford to study medicine for 4-5 years?
Medical schools provide a variety of financial support for mature students, there are also many organisations and charities that could provide financial support. The important issue is to be fully aware of the financial responsibility of your decision and how this may have an impact on yourself and those around you. It would be a horrible thing, to leave the medical programme because of insufficient funds.
Be sure a career in medicine is what you truly desire. Healthcare experience before your application is essential, but as well as this, have a real good look at the life of a junior doctor in your country. Is this the kind of working life you want? The hours? Team dynamics? Career trajectory?
(Keep in mind, aspects of professional practise may change by the time you qualify as a doctor.)
Know what you’re getting into.
3. Be open-minded and connected
Sometimes, being a mature student amongst 18 year olds or 20 year olds can bring a sense of failure or insecurity when in fact it is a strength. You have previous experience in higher education, a degree, life experiences, a career etc. Be open to meeting new people, you will soon find out, students are unbothered about the fact that you have done a previous degree or are several years their senior, because in reality everyone is starting at the same level – year 1 of medical school. Also, it may help to connect with other mature or graduate students, a problem shared is a problem halved (most of the time).
If you would like to study medicine as a second degree or as a mature student please leave your questions and comments below. You can also contact us privately with your questions.
If you are currently studying medicine as your second degree, or have ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the debt that goes with it’, please share your experiences below for someone else to be enlightened!
A subtle change in a phrase will change your outcome.
For one to succeed, one must work hard – this is a misunderstanding.
The word hard suggests the anticipated task is difficult, tough or problematic. Although, we may just be playing around with a thesaurus, let’s use the word challenge instead. The word challenge suggests the anticipated task is a trial, test or experiment that hopes to yield success, growth, development and change. Sometimes, a subtle change in a phrase will change your mindset. A subtle change in your mindset will change your actions. A subtle change in your actions will change your outcome.
Try using the word diligent instead, diligent means, showing careful and persistent work or effort.
A subtle change in a phrase will change your outcome.
Share your thoughts with us.
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/
To be told you have to repeat the year to remain in medical school is a scary thing, but having the option to repeat the year is an opportunity that is not provided to all medical students. Medics’ Inn have provided a few pearls of wisdom for our readers, we have gathered some advice from several medical students who repeated a year of medical school. Have a read of Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 1.
Let yourself feel rubbish for a while, your feelings are valid. Repeating the year is a big deal and it is not easy. Let yourself go through the journey. Failure is part of the human experience.
“My family are not supportive…”
It’s difficult to not take it to heart, it’s not right but it’s not your fault. They will come round eventually, but mean while find your support from elsewhere. Don’t bottle it up, there are other people who are genuinely concerned and there are lots of places to get support from.
“Is medicine still right for me?”
Talk to people about your concerns but make sure you frame your own thoughts first, the pros and cons. Intercalating or taking a year out may be beneficial. Give yourself as many options as you can. Have a think about these questions:
- What were the reasons you initially chose to do medicine?
- Could you see yourself working as a doctor several years (or decades) from now?
- What is stopping you from pressing on? Fear?
“I don’t want to be judged by colleagues, lectures, friends, family…”
If you’re being judged, that’s their problem, not yours. You cannot control what other people think about you, but you can control how you respond. Don’t hide away and don’t be scared of making friends in your new year.
“It will just be the same thing, and another year wasted …”
Use your old notes to help you. Try new things, join a new club, etc. It may be scary, but new experiences will tell you who you are as a person and not who you should be. With the right attitude, you will have a new found sense of freedom and there will be open doors of opportunity if you’re looking. You will develop resilience and courage. This experience can stop you from fearing failure.
At the end of your repeated year, ask yourself these questions and really thinking about your answers and what they mean to you. (It might help to write your answers down on a piece of paper)
- How did you feel when you first received this information?
- What was your greatest motivation?
- How have you used your repeated year to better yourself?
- What did you learn about yourself that you did not know?
- What were your greatest fears and how did you overcome these fears (if you have)?
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.
To be told you have to repeat the year to remain in medical school is a scary thing, but having the option to repeat the year is an opportunity that is not provided to all medical students. Medics’ Inn have provided a few pearls of wisdom for our readers, we have gathered some advice from several medical students who repeated a year of medical school. Look out for Repeating The Year – Some Words of Wisdom Part 2.
- Feelings of the following are normal: embarrassment, failure, shock, fear, loneliness, insecurity, pain, inadequacy, etc…
- Stop trying to rationalise why this has happened.
- Accept help, correction, advise from others, other students, teaching fellows, there is no shame in that, nor in repeating itself.
- Don’t become obsessed with the numbers, e.g. things like “rankings” – ranking is surmountable, and you will still get a job, top or bottom decile.
- Don’t be complacent, e.g. complacent with only making one change, or no changes, or just doing what you deem will get you just the 50% or will match the bare-pass you achieved last time!
- Mentally prepare yourself and even practise how you may or may not wish to explain your position, about why you are in this year group, and who you may or may not care to tell, because the most tactless to those with the best intentions may ask at the least convenient times. Not everyone needs to know your business, and similarly you don’t need to be ashamed. Remember that in a year or so, people will no longer care/ know about your detour
- Don’t compare yourself to others ever, whether they have or have not intercalated, know all the answers in teaching, get 100% in every e-biolab or quiz, are years younger than you, are first authors in the Lancet – don’t compare
- If you are ever, for any reason experiencing difficulties (health-related, personal and emotional) beyond the work of revision, during the year – do not miss the opportunity to submit extenuating circumstances before God-forbid, you may find yourself repeating anything!
- Don’t burn-out by setting unrealistic expectations of yourself. Seek help from friends, Faculty, GP, student advice service, if necessary!
Now, answer these questions and really thinking about your answers and what they mean to you. (It might help to write your answers down on a piece of paper)
- What is your greatest motivation in life?
- In the past, what were your greatest fears and how did you overcome them?
- What do you want to achieve in this year you will repeat?
Here are a few top tips for you to consider the next time you have an oral (PowerPoint) presentation!
- Know the FACTS! How long is your presentation? Does this include question time? Where will this presentation take place? Who is your audience?
- Timing, a simple formula: timing (in minutes) +/- 2 = maximum number of slides. E.g. For a presentation lasting 7 minutes, the maximum number of slides = 5 – 9 slides.
- Phrases vs. Sentences. Write phrases on your slides, phrases you will discuss or expand on. There is no point in writing sentence upon sentence for your audience to read. Let them pay attention to what you are saying! Let them hang on your every word!
- Important Pages (examples):
To download these slides click this link: Medics’ Inn Oral Presentation Template
- Labels & clarity! Label all graphs charts, etc. clearly.
- Highlighting & simplicity! If there is a lot of information in a graph/chart, draw your audience to the important parts. E.g. underlined text, text written in red, arrows pointing to the important features. But keep your slides as simple as possible.
- Anticipate Questions! What questions could your audience ask? What research will you need to do to answer these questions with sufficient confidence, evidence and understanding? Although, calm down, at your level no one expects you to be an expert, so an honest answer is always the way forward if stuck – if you don’t know, you don’t know!
- PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Practicing will help you overcome nervousness and give you the confidence boost you need. Being well prepared is a good practise, not just for medical school, but for life!
These are just a few of our top tips! We know there is so much more! So please leave your own tip in the comment box!
Are educational performance measure (EPM) scores validation for all medical student needs? Should we just aim to rank in the top 10-25% of the year? Are the results of clinical and written exams predictor of your effectiveness as a future doctor?
It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of medical school. It’s easy to be consumed by the surmounting pressure to exceed a standard. But the question to ask yourself is: How do you want to be remembered by your patients and colleagues?
Pick 2-3 words that sum up how you would like patients and colleagues to remember you e.g. safe and caring or efficient and honest.
Good educational performance is essential to pass medical school, but a good reputation is essential for life.
How to get a Free Elective!
- Determine & Determination – first, determine this is what you want to do. “I want my elective to be completely funded by external sources!” Then turn this into your goal! Remember goals are SMART (specific, measurable, action, realistic and timed) e.g. By March 1st, I will have raised all the funding I need for my elective.
- Budget – what is the overall cost? Create a budget for your elective. Distinguish between items you’re will to do without and those that are compulsory. For example the cost of flights & a visa are compulsory, while the budget of £20 for a day trip to visit Lekki Conservation Centre, in Lagos is not so high on the priority list.
- Source – Do your research to explore where you can source your funds from. Compose a list and give yourself deadlines to send your application/letter. Doing this as early as possible is best to avoid unexpected delays and disappointment.
- Application – create your letter/complete the necessary application forms .
- Remember – after returning from your elective, remember to hold up your end of the bargain. Is there a report to submit? Are there thank you letters to send?
All the best!