The medical profession is one of the most essential in modern society, so it stands to reason that medical degrees are lengthy, demanding and altogether among the most challenging and competitive paths to embark upon. Very few other subjects rely so heavily on your confidence in yourself, absolute commitment to the field, and desire to make a difference in real people’s lives.
Those who choose to study medical degrees will need a strong interest in the sciences, along with a passion for helping others – and it’s a combination of these two factors that provides the motivation needed to keep going through the many years of training required to become a fully qualified doctor.
Getting into medical school
Given the prestige associated with the medical professions, and the extremely challenging nature of most medical careers, it’s unsurprising that getting into medical school is extremely competitive. In order to gain a place at a top medical school, it’s necessary to demonstrate exceptional grades in science subjects (especially chemistry and biology), as well as showing evidence of commitment to the field. This will usually mean gaining work experience, perhaps at a local healthcare center, private consultancy or another type of care facility such as an elderly care home.
If you have managed to gain the grades and the work experience necessary to secure a place on a medical course, then the chances are you’re no stranger to hard work. Despite this, you’ll need to be prepared for even more challenges, both during your studies and in the years ahead. This is a profession that can demand a lot both intellectually and emotionally, with an intensive and time-consuming workload.
What to expect from a medical degree
As well as allowing you to specialize in a particular division of medicine, medical degrees also provide students with the practical skills needed for specialized hands-on tasks (from taking a blood sample to complex surgical procedures), and the ‘people skills’ needed for interaction with patients and relatives.
Many top medical schools today consider practical development a key focus of their programs. This means that as well as attending seminars and lectures, you will have the opportunity to observe professional healthcare practitioners, and increasingly to start gaining practical experience yourself.
Finally, it’s important to remember that medical training is structured differently in different countries, and medical qualifications gained in one country are not necessarily recognized in others. So before deciding on a location for your medical studies, make sure you think carefully about where you’d like to go on to work, and the process required to complete your qualification.