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Confused.... Someone pls help me!

Discussion in 'Australasia and Oceania' started by bleary, May 11, 2007.

  1. bleary

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    Hi people,

    I joined this forum like most people for the main reason of asking help and advice from experts out there! I am a Singaporean and is being offered a place at UNSW med, however I am not sure if I should go for the course or simply do a post-grad med after completion of a 3 yr basic degree.

    i did my maths and realised that both routes would take me the same duration as I already wasted one yr this yr compared to my peers who have ended army earlier than me. Hence, in either way i would take around 7 yrs to become a doctor be it through the undergrad route or the post-grad route. Anybody has any 2 cent worth of advice to share with me?
     
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  3. mak530

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    I personally think you are better doing an undergraduate degree and then graduate medicine. This way, you are exposed to SO many different topics. For example, I never thought I would become a doctor. I studied nutrition and exercise rehabilation in my undergrad and completed an honours year. I now am older, much more vocationally aware, and know that this is what I want to do. If I had applied to medicine at UNSW straight from school, I probably would have been accepted (I got the marks to get in), but I'm so happy I took some time to work it all out. Now, if I really decide I don't like medicine, I have another degree to fall back on, and due to obtaining honours, can do a PhD no problems. Do what you think is right, but like you said, accepting medicine straight up, or leaving it for a few years, will not take any extra time out of your life - both paths take the same amount of time.
     
  4. nathanesque

    nathanesque Viva voce

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    Hi Bleary...

    I'm currently a 4th yr at UNSW medicine and from sgp too. If you need more advice please email me.

    My opinion is that if you don't want to waste time you should accept your offer now...if you do an undergraduate degree first...you do not have a confirmed place to do postgrad med because you have to take other horrid tests (GAMSAT/MCAT etc.) and do well if you are entering a recognized uni...you also have a choice to obtain an honors degree whilst studying med at UNSW within 6 years.

    Hope to hear from you soon!



     
  5. Ezekiel20

    Ezekiel20 Resident

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    I agree with both points of view expressed above.

    As for me, I did a BMedSc at USyd first, and during those times have considered a career in engineering and architecture to name a few. I'm not sure if I would have coped in the 6yr undergrad programmes, as I would have felt my life was already decided when I was 17. I explored many different possibilities and decided medicine was best for me, and as a result I have no regrets about my career choice.

    On the other hand, if you know that medicine is what you want, take the offer. You will have moments when you feel like you should have done something else, but you'll never know if it's right for you until you're in it.

    Good luck
     
  6. Ezekiel20

    Ezekiel20 Resident

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    Judging by the rest of your post, I think you mean the opposite.
     
  7. driedcaribou

    driedcaribou Senior Member
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    Graduate 'entry' medicine is what graduate medicine is. Not graduate from medicine.
     
  8. Ezekiel20

    Ezekiel20 Resident

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    Oops I've misread the first line as "you are better off doing an undergraduate degree than graduate medicine", when it actually said "undergraduate degree and then graduate medicine". My apologies.

    BTW I know what graduate medicine is - I am doing one right now.
     
  9. driedcaribou

    driedcaribou Senior Member
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    No need to apologize :) - I know you know what graduate medicine is - I was just clarifying what he wrote. I should have written the following instead to eliminate confusion: 'Graduate 'entry' medicine is what (he meant to refer to by saying) graduate medicine is'.


    Anyways, to the original poster: Life isn't a race - you don't 'waste' a year doing more study. You waste a year if you spent it in an opium den. But I suppose that would be up to philosophical interpretation.

    Medicine as a career is very, very different to what the general public imagines it to be. You're going to be spending the a very large part of your life studying. You're not going to be able to open up your own practice once you finish medical school. And once you finish your qualifications, you have to look for a job. It's a never ending struggle.

    That being said, it's a fascinating career and a privilege to be in medical care as a doctor.

    Don't rush things and enjoy yourself.
     
  10. mak530

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    Sorry about the confusion with my post. BTW, I'm a 'she' not a 'he'.

    I really think that doing graduate medicine is the way to go. I know medicine might seem like what you want to do right now, but it's a big decision. I fully support doing an undergradute science degree. That way, you have a fall back career and also, if you decide medicine is the way to go, you have a head start in passing the GAMSAT. Also, if you pick your subjects wisely (ie. do physiology, biochem, pharmacology etc) you will possibly find the first couple of years of med school easier. (also by doing a science degree, you open up doors to do post graduate vet, dentisty, physio, pharmacy, a PhD/research...heaps of things; you wont be 'stuck' in the one field)

    If you plan to complete an undergrad course in Australia I would recommend you look at other uni's as well as UNSW. For example, UOWollongong has a 3rd year course where you get to do cadaver disections. I don't think to many other uni's offer this.

    However if you do stick with the UNSW offer, they do have an amazing rural medicine stream. You can work the final 3 years in the country; I have a friend doing this in a large rural town - Wagga Wagga - and he is really enjoying it - you get to do much more 'hands on' work as compared to what you can do in a city hospital.

    The fact that you are unsure of what to do says to me that you might need some time to think your options over. See if you can defer your place for a year, and dedicate some time to decide what you want to do AND if you like Australia. It's a much different country to Singapore.

    However on a postive note: super thumbs up for getting an offer! That's a pretty big achievement!
     
  11. driedcaribou

    driedcaribou Senior Member
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    Apologies for being sexist!

    I find it funny when that happens.... it's all borne out of a shortage of help so you get more responsibility... but does that mean that rural medicine is irresponsible or that urban medicine has poor teaching?
     
  12. bleary

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    Hi people....

    Thank you so much for all the responses! Haha.. I cant or to be more correct, I cant afford to spend an extra yr in studying as unlike some of you who are not conscripted into the army, my country has taken two yrs of my youth and I am already 21 this yr. Yup so I simply hope for the fastest, yet safest way out.

    I do have another question for those who did or are doing post grad. med. now. Do you have to do a basic degree in the sciences to be qualified to do a post grad med. say in Aust, may be in Uni syd? And do I need to prepare for those entry tests like GMAT and etc.? Lastly, is it very competitive to get a place in grad. medical schools?

    Thank you everyone!
     
  13. JoeNamaMD

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    UNSW is an excellent program, and it is starting to become more difficult to get into Australian medical schools, the more established programs are becoming more competitive. If you got a place here, take it, because if you apply again three years later you might not get in here. A lot of Australians are going overseas because there are not enough places in Medicine here, many people I know are going to Europe, particularly Ireland and the UK, a few to Germany because schools in these countries have more places. On a side note, European medical schools are some of the finest in the world, I would say they are superior to Australian schools in terms of research(Almost all medications and medical devices in Australia are imported from Europe or the USA) but this is due to the European Union having 500 million people. Some of the best schools outside North America are located in France, Germany, and Britain. Of course in countries like Germany you will have to understand German fluently.
     
  14. Ezekiel20

    Ezekiel20 Resident

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    I am sure there are some Australian students going abroad to Ireland, UK and other European countries to study medicine, but to suggest that this is becoming common practice is simply false.

    Entry into graduate medicine in Australia, even the well-established ones, is hardly competitive when compared to North America. Pre-med students in Australia (if there is such a thing) do not build up a list of volunteer activities, or try desperately to get into 'summer research', or any of those things.

    A proportion of students do courses designed to increase performance in the GAMSAT and the interview, but the vast majority of students do not take such courses. I mean, just look at how many GAMSAT prep books you can find in Australian bookstores (zero). Now compare this to how many MCAT prep books there are in the US, and this pretty much demonstrates the difference in competitiveness of med school entry in the US vs Australia.
     
  15. mak530

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    I would also disagree with the comment about 'research'. While more research could be implemented, many of our uni's have noble prize winners, so to say research is not up to scratch...however, it may be easier to do research in European countries (not England however) due to a less stringent following of the Helsinki Declaration.

    To the OP, you said your looking for the fasted way in. Well, the only differece between UG and PG medicine is the one extra year. But like you said, your are 21, not 17 like a traditional straigght-from-year-12 type, so you have the advantage of having a bit of time to make sure you are making the right decision.

    What you may be better off doing is approaching other trained doctors and asking them what they think you are better off doing. And when I say better off, I mean in the long term (that is, how to better prepare yourself with becoming a trained doctor, not how to become a doctor quicker).

    Good luck with whatever decision you make!
     
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  17. aussie princess

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    As far as i know (and please someone correct me if there is an exception) but to do post grad (graduate) med in Aust you only need to have finished an undergrad bachelors degree that was 3yrs or more in length. Regardless of its content. So no it doesn't need to be a degree in the basic sciences, it can be in art history if thats what you have. By the same token it may be adventageous for the first small section of the med course to have some science knowledge, and you do need some basic sciences for the GAMSAT
     
  18. bleary

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    Hi ppl

    I read from other forum that upon graduation one still has to work as intern for two yrs before getting the licence to practise as a doctor and in order to be qualified as a GP, one has to undergo training for four yrs. Is that true?
    Is this the case too for international students who wish to serve their housemanship (is it = to intern? cos in Spore we call it houseman) and subsequently work in Australia?
     
  19. Ezekiel20

    Ezekiel20 Resident

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    Internship is 1 year, during which you have 'conditional registration'. Upon completion of the intern year, you are registered as a medical practitioner in your state via the state medical board.

    To reduce the hassle and stress associated with moving hospitals at the end of internship, IMET (the organisation that deals with intern allocation, among other things) has decided to introduce a system where you stay at the allocated hospital for 2 years. The vast majority of interns do at least 1 or 2 years of residency (RMO, or resident medical officer) so that they can embark on specialist college training programs of their choice (eg to be a physician, surgeon, pathologist, radiologist etc).

    You can 'practice as a doctor' after your internship, but that doesn't mean that you can just open up your own practice. Unlike some countries (including the US?) where you are called a 'general practitioner' upon registration, a 'general practitioner' in Australia is a qualified member (or 'fellow') of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, a position that takes (if I remember correctly) 3 years of supervised training and completion of various exams, on top of your internship (and in many cases residency).

    Some people choose not to go into specialist college training after internship or residency, and such people are called 'career medical officers', and are often seen working as RMOs in the private sector. I know a doctor who is doing this (now in his 40s), and he chose this path so he could do part-time Christian ministerial work.

    Hope this helps.
     
  20. bleary

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    Thank you very much Ezekiel that was indeed enlightening!

    But I still have a few more questions. Does it mean that you can do your specialist training during your residency or have to wait after one to 2 yrs of residency? Another thing is that is it very difficult for foreigners to secure a place for intern, esp in places like sydney or Mel? Lastly, how is the welfare, remuneration and benefits for interns and doctors in Australia like?
     
  21. driedcaribou

    driedcaribou Senior Member
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    General practitioners largely do not exist anymore in North America after the inception of Family Medicine as a specialty. In fact - no new general practitioners are being trained in Canada. The term is obsolete.

    In NSW, although your contract with a hospital is for 2 years, you can still change where you want to work for PGY-2 if there is an opening available elsewhere. The new system is supposed to stop the hassles of re-applying and scrambling for a job after your internship.

    You can pretty much work anywhere you can find a job if you are a permanent resident of Australia.

    You are generally required to work in a rural area more because that is what your visa specifies or because that is the only position that will sponsor you.

    Pretty much all of your questions can be answered here:
    http://www.health.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/work-Registering-and-qualifying
    I strongly suggest visiting each of the colleges websites for specific information. I do not know which year you are in right now - everything seems to be changing quite frequently so you will need to keep up to date with things.
     
  22. bleary

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    Hi dreidcarbo

    I mentioned previously that I am from Spore, currently still deciding whether I should go to unsw to read medicine. Heh.., just wanted to find out how is the system like over in Australia. Thank you very much for your informative sharing!
     
  23. driedcaribou

    driedcaribou Senior Member
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    Oh right, sorry!

    I was reading the post in isolation.

    I think the best advice I can give is that going from Singapore to Australia for medical school will not hurt you in anyway except for your finances.
    Internationals have a debt load of at least $200,000 and now with the tuition increases, this will near $250,000-$260,000. (at least at USyd)


    Going from Australia to other places in the world after you finish medschool is relatively easy - don't get ahead of yourself thinking of all the possibilities at your stage. It's much different if you are a US or Canadian student who wishes to go back to the US or Canada ot practice medicine. And if you were from some non-English speaking country in Europe, I would imagine it would be complicated as well.
     
  24. JoeNamaMD

    JoeNamaMD Banned
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    Family Practice is really just another term for a General Practioner, Medicine is considered a very elite line of employment in the USA, and many American doctors find it an insult to spend $250,000 and 8 years in University, 3 to 4 in Residency to be called a pathetic GP. Its not like Australia or Western Europe where doctors are public servants. I went to the ER last week, and the registrar introduced herself as Jackie, usually in America they address themselves as Dr. So and So.
     
  25. bleary

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    Yup... this is the reason why I would rather go to Aust to read medicine than UK and Ireland. I heard that the EU countries have changed their employment policy and Asians (unless really outstanding) will have a hard time securing a job. Oh ya can anybody tell me what is the pay for a fresh intern like? Does it vary alot in different states in Aust?
     
  26. bleary

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    My reply was pertaining to dried carbo's post :)
     
  27. driedcaribou

    driedcaribou Senior Member
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    Varies from state to state - base pay varies 2k-5k. You're looking at ~50k without overtime (which is unheard of in any other country that I know of).

    Honestly, this is not something you should be worrying about at this stage.

    Long term job prospects though, yes. You're going to have to secure residency in any country you want to do further training in or work for life. You could probably stay in the UK if you get residency there but from everyone I talk to who is from the UK, going to medschool in the UK, etc. it seems there just isn't enough money to fund for doctors there.

    From Singapore- I definitely think Australia is a better option for you. You just have to decide whether or not medicine is the right career for you.
     
  28. bleary

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    Yes! I guess I am thinking way too far though I have not even began my medical studies. So much being said, this is the exact reason why I am asking so much and planning way ahead as I do not want to make an uncalculated or less informed decision before committing to a life long career.

    To be honest, actually I am still teetering with my decision to pursue this course as it seems that my future is gonna be so unpredictabe; there will be many changes made in my life (going overseas for 6 yrs and all the adjustments) and whether I can cope with the gruelling course and after that the work stress as a doctor.

    I know this may sound rather inane of me to fret over all the unnecessary to some, but these are indeed the factors that are pulling me back. My friends are all encouraging me to go overseas since I have all the vantage points to do so, but it is due to all my inner reservations that caused me to be so hesistant.

    I can only find out more about this profession and be really convinced, in order to save myself from a bad shock in the not so far away future :)
     

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