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what requirements must I have inorder to qualify for Medicine (becoming a doctor)

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John’s Answer

Some basic steps for becoming a Physician or Surgeon

Physicians and surgeons may work in a medical specialty, such as cardiology, dermatology, pathology, or radiology.
Physicians and surgeons typically need a bachelor’s degree as well as a degree from a medical school, which takes an additional 4 years to complete. Depending on their specialty, they also need 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.

Education
In addition to requiring a bachelor’s degree, physicians and surgeons typically need either a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. No specific undergraduate major is required to enter an M.D. or D.O. program, but applicants to medical school usually have studied subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Students also may take undergraduate courses in the humanities and social sciences and may choose to work or volunteer at a hospital or clinic to gain experience in a healthcare setting.

Medical schools are highly competitive. Applicants usually must submit transcripts, scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and letters of recommendation. Medical schools also consider an applicant’s personality, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. Most schools require applicants to interview with members of the admissions committee.

Some medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 to 8 years.

Students spend most of their first 2 years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, and in the laws governing medicine. They also gain practical skills: learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.

During their last 2 years of medical school, students work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and clinics. They gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses through clerkships, or rotations, in a variety of areas, including internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery.

Training
After medical school, almost all graduates enter a residency program in their specialty of interest. A residency usually takes place in a hospital and varies in duration, typically lasting from 3 to 7 years, depending on the specialty.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states require physicians and surgeons to be licensed; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty.

All physicians and surgeons also must pass a standardized national licensure exam. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). For specific state information about licensing, contact your state’s medical board.

Certification is not required for physicians and surgeons; however, it may increase their employment opportunities. M.D.s and D.O.s seeking board certification in a specialty may spend up to 7 years in residency training; the length of time varies with the specialty. To become board certified, candidates must complete a residency program and pass a specialty certification exam from a medical certifying board. Examples of certifying boards include the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Board of Surgery (ABS).

Important Qualities
Communication skills. Physicians and surgeons need to convey information effectively to their patients and to other healthcare workers. They also must be able to dictate or write reports that clearly describe a patient’s medical condition or procedure outcome.

Compassion. Patients who are sick or injured may be in extreme pain or distress. Physicians and surgeons must treat patients and their families with understanding.

Detail oriented. To ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment, including medication, physicians and surgeons must be precise in monitoring them and recording information related to their care.

Dexterity. Physicians and surgeons must be agile and sure handed, especially when working with extremely sharp medical instruments.

Leadership skills. Physicians and surgeons must coordinate with a team of other healthcare workers to manage patient care or direct medical procedures.

Organizational skills. Good recordkeeping and other administrative skills are critical for physicians and surgeons in both medical and business settings.

Patience. Physicians and surgeons must remain calm and tolerant when working with patients who need special attention, such as those who fear or ignore medical treatment.

Physical stamina. Physicians and surgeons may spend many hours on their feet, including walking between patient visits or procedures. Surgeons may spend a great deal of time bending over patients during surgery.

Problem-solving skills. Physicians and surgeons need to evaluate patients’ symptoms to determine appropriate treatment. In some situations, such as emergencies, they may need to analyze and resolve crises quickly.
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Jack’s Answer

Becoming a physician is a lengthy process, but can be achieved if you are dedicated to and committed to it. The first and most important step is your college education. And standardized test scores (MCAT).

While many schools offer specific pre-med programs, this is not required for acceptance to medical school. Any major/minors are acceptable; however, medical schools each require a list of prerequisite courses which can be found on their website and are school specific. Most share common features that will be covered in degrees such as biology, biochemistry, etc. depending on your school, but it is possible to study something else and simply take those courses too.

Aside from your college classes, there are a few more things that can help your acceptance into medical school, such as a great MCAT score, research experience, volunteer hours, extracurriculars, good letters of recommendation from professors, and overall life experiences. These are very important and can make up for a lacking college gpa to some degree.

The MCAT (medical college admission test) is the biggest non-gpa related factor. It is an intense exam that should be taken towards the end of your college career or post-graduation. While you can take it sooner, it is helpful to wait until you have finished taking all of the necessary courses which pertain to it. The list of topics for the mcat can be found on the AAMC website, and is similar to the list of prerequisite courses for most schools, but not exactly the same.

Medical schools also love to see leadership, such as being the president of an organization or captain of a sports team. The application is very lengthy and in-depth, so try to really show them who you are and what you have to offer, whatever your story may be.

While the process to become a medical doctor is long and difficult, it is highly rewarding and should be pursued with the appropriate level of dedication and patience. Not everyone gets in right out of college, so be patient and stick to it if that is what you want to do, and you never know, you might just do it.

Jack recommends the following next steps:

College graduation
Research
Volunteering
Leadership
MCAT
0
Updated Translate

Jack’s Answer

Becoming a physician is a lengthy process, but can be achieved if you are dedicated to and committed to it. The first and most important step is your college education. And standardized test scores (MCAT).

While many schools offer specific pre-med programs, this is not required for acceptance to medical school. Any major/minors are acceptable; however, medical schools each require a list of prerequisite courses which can be found on their website and are school specific. Most share common features that will be covered in degrees such as biology, biochemistry, etc. depending on your school, but it is possible to study something else and simply take those courses too.

Aside from your college classes, there are a few more things that can help your acceptance into medical school, such as a great MCAT score, research experience, volunteer hours, extracurriculars, good letters of recommendation from professors, and overall life experiences. These are very important and can make up for a lacking college gpa to some degree.

The MCAT (medical college admission test) is the biggest non-gpa related factor. It is an intense exam that should be taken towards the end of your college career or post-graduation. While you can take it sooner, it is helpful to wait until you have finished taking all of the necessary courses which pertain to it. The list of topics for the mcat can be found on the AAMC website, and is similar to the list of prerequisite courses for most schools, but not exactly the same.

Medical schools also love to see leadership, such as being the president of an organization or captain of a sports team. The application is very lengthy and in-depth, so try to really show them who you are and what you have to offer, whatever your story may be.

While the process to become a medical doctor is long and difficult, it is highly rewarding and should be pursued with the appropriate level of dedication and patience. Not everyone gets in right out of college, so be patient and stick to it if that is what you want to do, and you never know, you might just do it.

Jack recommends the following next steps:

College graduation
Research
Volunteering
Leadership
MCAT
0
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Mary Jane’s Answer

Hi, Emihle. I think it's important to note that the previous answers posted here are specifically talking about medical school in the USA. In many other countries, a medical degree is essentially a Bachelor's degree while in the US, a medical degree is completed only after a Bachelor's degree in some other field. If you are hoping to study for a medical degree and practice in South Africa, it is important that you research and understand the process for that country. Most likely, you are going to need very good grades in math and science courses in order to be admitted to medical school, regardless of the country in which you study.

If you are hoping to train and practice in the US, it's important to know that it is extremely difficult to be admitted to US medical schools as an international student. Around 40% of US students get into US medical schools versus around 2% of international students. Some people come into the US after completing a medical school by applying for US residencies (additional training beyond med school), but those are also very competitive. It's not impossible, but it's a very challenging course for even the very best and brightest students.
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