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What can I do to be a surgeon without having to start from the scratch?

Hi, I'm Testimony, I'm in my second year studying physiology but I want to be a surgeon. Do I have to start from the scratch or is there a way I can transit after I'm done with physiology?

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Ibijoke’s Answer

Hi Testimony,

It's great to hear about your ambition to become a surgeon! Since you're currently in your second year studying physiology, you have a couple of options to consider.

Switch to Medicine Now:

Since you're still in the early years of your studies, the most straightforward path would be to transfer to a Medicine program. Depending on the university you're attending, this might mean starting from the first year of Medicine. It's important to contact the admissions office or the department of Medicine at your university to understand the specific requirements and the process for transferring.
Complete Your Physiology Degree:

Another option is to complete your current degree in Physiology and then apply for Medicine. Some universities may allow graduates from related fields like Physiology to enter Medicine through a graduate entry program, which might shorten the duration of the medical degree. However, this is less common in Nigeria, so you would need to verify if such programs exist at your desired medical schools.

Seek Guidance:

Talk to academic advisors and career counselors at your current institution. They can provide detailed information about the transfer process, eligibility criteria, and any potential credits you might be able to carry over to a Medicine program.
Consider University Policies:

Each university has different policies regarding transfers and entry into Medicine from other programs. Some might allow you to carry forward certain credits from your Physiology coursework, which can potentially reduce the time you spend in medical school.
Acting sooner rather than later will give you a clearer idea of the requirements and help you make a timely decision. Best of luck on your journey to becoming a surgeon!

Best regards
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Testimony
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Testimony,

To become a surgeon without starting from scratch after completing your physiology degree, you have several options:

Apply for a Master’s Degree in Surgery: Many universities offer Master’s degrees in Surgery or related fields that can help you build upon your undergraduate education and gain the necessary surgical knowledge and experience. These programs typically take 2-3 years to complete and include both classroom instruction and clinical rotations.

Apply for a Postgraduate Training Program: After completing your undergraduate degree, you can apply for a postgraduate training program, also known as a residency, in surgery. This is the most common pathway to becoming a surgeon and typically takes 5-7 years to complete, depending on the specialty. During this time, you will receive extensive clinical training and supervision from experienced surgeons.

Get Certified as a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner: Another option is to pursue certification as a Physician Assistant (PA) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) and then specialize in surgery. This route typically takes less time than completing a surgical residency but still requires significant education and training. PAs and NPs work under the supervision of surgeons and can assist them in the operating room.

Volunteer or Observe in a Hospital Setting: Gaining experience through volunteering or observing surgeons at work can also help you determine if surgery is the right career path for you and provide valuable connections for future opportunities. You may be able to observe surgeries, assist with patient care, or even shadow a surgeon during their rounds.

Networking: Building relationships with surgeons and other medical professionals can help open doors to opportunities that may not be widely advertised or accessible through traditional channels. Attend medical conferences, join professional organizations, and engage with your professors and classmates to expand your network.

Authoritative References Used:

American College of Surgeons: https://www.facs.org/
Association of American Medical Colleges: https://www.aamc.org/
National Resident Matching Program: https://www.nrmp.org/

God Bless You, Richly, JC.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Testimony
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MUHAMMAD’s Answer

Hi Testimony,

It's fantastic that you have a clear career goal in mind! Transitioning from a degree in physiology to becoming a surgeon is definitely possible, and you don't necessarily have to start from scratch. Here’s a general pathway you can consider:

1. **Complete Your Physiology Degree**: Focus on doing well in your current studies. A strong academic record will be beneficial when applying for medical school.

2. **Apply to Medical School**: After earning your degree in physiology, you will need to apply to medical school. Most medical schools require the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or an equivalent entrance exam, so you’ll need to prepare for that.

3. **Medical School**: Medical school typically lasts four years. The first two years usually focus on foundational medical sciences, while the last two involve clinical rotations in various specialties, including surgery.

4. **Residency**: After medical school, you will enter a residency program in general surgery. Residency programs typically last around five to seven years, depending on the country and specific program.

5. **Fellowship (Optional)**: If you want to specialize further (e.g., in neurosurgery, cardiac surgery), you may need to complete an additional fellowship after your residency, which can take one to three years.

**Steps to Prepare Now:**
- **Gain Relevant Experience**: Volunteer or work in healthcare settings to gain relevant experience and insights into the medical field.
- **Network and Seek Mentors**: Connect with medical professionals, especially surgeons, who can provide guidance and mentorship.
- **Research Medical Schools**: Look into the prerequisites and requirements of medical schools you’re interested in to ensure you’re on track.

This pathway requires dedication and hard work, but your background in physiology will provide a solid foundation for medical studies. Keep your goal in sight and take it one step at a time. If you have any more questions or need further guidance, feel free to ask!

Best of luck on your journey to becoming a surgeon!

Kind regards,
Psychologist Muhammad Shakeel
Thank you comment icon I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Testimony
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Karissa’s Answer

You need to transfer Fall semester into a pre-med program. Others will tell you that medical schools like a variety of applicants but the truth is you will most likely have to take a 5th year if you continue down the path you are on. Try and take a Chemistry or Physics course this summer.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Testimony
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Waseem’s Answer

Hi
Your have to attend the medical followed by residency training in surgery and fellowship in the required surgical speciality.
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Midwest’s Answer

Testimony, congratulations on this career decision!

You do not have to stop studying physiology - it will likely be very useful to you in your future career as a surgeon. It will be important, however, to align your remaining studies with your goals. Typically, medical school prerequisite courses are not negotiable as requirements for application to medical school. The most important step will be meeting with a guidance counselor or academic advisor who can help you lay out exactly what will be required for you to apply and be admitted to medical school.

These prerequisite courses could be completed in conjunction with your physiology studies, during summers in between academic years, or during a postgraduate year after you receive your physiology degree. By defining this pathway now, that will help you decide what it will look like to continue with physiology versus adapting your remaining curriculum between now and medical school.

Another consideration depending on where you intend to apply to medical school is medical school entrance exams such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) which is used by medical schools in the United States, Canada, and 19 other countries. The timing and required preparation for these exams may also impact your desired structure of curriculum,

Regardless, medical schools will be most concerned about you doing well, even more so than your specific major. While they do require that you take the prerequisite courses, there are a multitude of pathways you may take to arrive at your end goal of attending medical school then becoming a surgeon!

During medical school, you will have plenty of time to determine what type of surgeon you want to become and take the necessary steps to pursue that pathway of training.

Midwest recommends the following next steps:

Meet with guidance counselor or academic advisor to plan out remaining undergraduate curriculum
Sign up for medical school entrance exam
Shadow surgeons from areas that appeal to you
Focus on doing well in school, in all your classes
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking your time in answering this! Testimony
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