Jun 26, 2015
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Hi,

I would love to get some info and comparison between UK, Irish and US medical schools. I'm not a citizen of the UK,EU or the US.

My current medical school has a twinning/matching programme which allows students to transfer to a partner medical school after 2.5 years locally/pre-clinical phase.

Some of the universities that twin with my medical school include:
US & Canada ; Sidney Kimmel/Jefferson Medical College, University of Miami, Dalhousie university
UK; Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Queen Mary, Liverpool, Keele, Nottingham, Manchester, Queen's. Southampton, Warwick and St. Georges.
Ireland; Galway

I have no idea which country to go to and which would be better job wise. My priority would be to finish housemanship/internship/clerkship overseas as well as maybe working a few years overseas before coming home to serve my country.

What are the pros and cons of finishing medicine and working the US and the UK?

Also, if you've studied in any of the universities above, please tell me about your experience there!
 

Sir Gillies

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May 5, 2012
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The key question is: where do you see yourself working in 15 years?

I am a UK grad, who started residency in the UK and currently doing residency in the US. Regardless of where you decide to practice you need to remember that switching systems is very challenging, so if you want to practice in the US go there for med school, likewise if you want to practice in the UK go there for med school.

General comments about going to the UK/US:
- UK med schools are mostly considered top tier. I recommend Edinburgh. I wouldn't consider Aberdeen, Southampton, St. Georges, Keele. Not sure about med school in the US
- in my opinion UK med schools provide a better and broader undergraduate training than the US
- the UK leads to a long road to specialize after med school - for surgery you have to do 2 years of foundation, 2 years of core surgical training, and 6 years of registrar (very difficult to get the latter step)
- you might waste time chasing a dream - by this I mean that you can go through the 2 years of foundation and 2 years of core training, plus extra LAT years and not get a registrar job. I have seen this with many of my friends who ended up giving up their surgical dream and switching to general practice
- overall residency training is certainly SUPERIOR in the US. However, you need to get into a large academic center for this to be true. It also depends what you want to do later on i.e. if all you are interested in doing is the bread and butter of your specialty any center suffices. If what you want to do is family medicine, I think the UK is better
- US has greater research opportunities - again dependent of where you train. This is key if you want to be a leader in your field
- UK has better lifestyle - shorter working hours, less stressful environment
- US offers more job opportunities after residency. In the UK you have to apply for a NHS consultant which often is hard to find, whereas in the US you have multiple options (academic, private, etc)
- US pays better in the long run (but this should not be your focus!)

Take into account your personal, family, and career goals and try to identify the best fit for you. I am proud to be a British-trained doctor, but without a doubt the postgraduate training in large US centers is far superior.

Hope this helps
 
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Medstart108

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Mar 24, 2012
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Haha I know which medical school you are referring to, its IMU isn't it?

If you want to know which country has the best medical school education its definitely US/Canada.

I know both the British and the North American system well having been in both and without a doubt in North America medical students are given much more responsibilities compared to UK medical students. In clinical years, UK students tend to do a lot of cannulas, scrub in ocassionally, mainly get pimped by consultants while in Canada/US they are often performing small parts of surgeries and participating in the care of patients from head to toe. The reason is that 1st year residents in North America are given the responsibilities equivalent to a FY2/ST1.

If you go to the states however, its important to know whether or not you get a US medical degree or not? If you don't then there isn't much point, but if you do then I would choose the US/Canada. Out of those schools in the US you listed, none of them are particularly prestigious but none are particularly bad. I wouldn't choose Canada just because its very difficult to match in Canada if you aren't a Canadian citizen, I would probably choose either TJU or Miami.

If you are more interested in the UK/Ireland I would choose Edinburgh as well, as someone who had a medicine offer from that institution I can say its pretty prestigious among UK circles.
 
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Jun 26, 2015
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Haha I know which medical school you are referring to, its IMU isn't it?

If you want to know which country has the best medical school education its definitely US/Canada.

I know both the British and the North American system well having been in both and without a doubt in North America medical students are given much more responsibilities compared to UK medical students. In clinical years, UK students tend to do a lot of cannulas, scrub in ocassionally, mainly get pimped by consultants while in Canada/US they are often performing small parts of surgeries and participating in the care of patients from head to toe. The reason is that 1st year residents in North America are given the responsibilities equivalent to a FY2/ST1.

If you go to the states however, its important to know whether or not you get a US medical degree or not? If you don't then there isn't much point, but if you do then I would choose the US/Canada. Out of those schools in the US you listed, none of them are particularly prestigious but none are particularly bad. I wouldn't choose Canada just because its very difficult to match in Canada if you aren't a Canadian citizen, I would probably choose either TJU or Miami.

If you are more interested in the UK/Ireland I would choose Edinburgh as well, as someone who had a medicine offer from that institution I can say its pretty prestigious among UK circles.
yep, IMU. Hahah how'd you know? I have never really considered the US until recently because of the huge risk I'd be taking if I go ahead with the US universities. Jefferson only offers 3 seats whereas Miami only offers 2 seats per batch! I'll need to pass the interviews and if I don't I'll have to take whatever remaining seat left in my batch in another UK university (that most probably won't be my top choice). However, if I pass the interview but fail the USMLE, I'll have to continue on locally or wait at least another year to take the remaining spaces in the UK universities with the batch after mine. Confusing, I know. Would you still take the risk?

If I'm not mistaken, I will be getting the degree of the university that I'll be twinning to, so I think it would be the US medical degree? Thanks for pointing that out, will double check.

Another thing I'm worried about is that I would be going there as an undergrad whereas everyone else would be a grad student. Would it be more challenging as compared to going to the UK as an undergrad or is there not much difference? Comparing the UK and the US, besides the exposure and the responsibilities, which country in your opinion gives better training? Someone told me that in the UK, doctors are more well rounded whereas in the US, doctors are more focused in one field. Having experienced both systems, would you agree with that? How about post-medical school life, which system & country do you prefer?

Edinburgh would be great, with it's prestigious name and all but it's really expensive and if I'm not mistaken, they'll be adding in an extra year of medical school for research, which isn't one of my main goals for now. I initially wanted to go to the UK but with the push for new immigration legislations and everything, it doesn't look that promising for me as an international student, I feel. My main priority now would be to find a place overseas that's affordable and will at least allow me to do my housemanship/internship/clerkship there.

Do you also happen to know anything about med school & career opportunities in Aus?
 

Medstart108

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Mar 24, 2012
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yep, IMU. Hahah how'd you know? I have never really considered the US until recently because of the huge risk I'd be taking if I go ahead with the US universities. Jefferson only offers 3 seats whereas Miami only offers 2 seats per batch! I'll need to pass the interviews and if I don't I'll have to take whatever remaining seat left in my batch in another UK university (that most probably won't be my top choice). However, if I pass the interview but fail the USMLE, I'll have to continue on locally or wait at least another year to take the remaining spaces in the UK universities with the batch after mine. Confusing, I know. Would you still take the risk?

If I'm not mistaken, I will be getting the degree of the university that I'll be twinning to, so I think it would be the US medical degree? Thanks for pointing that out, will double check.

Another thing I'm worried about is that I would be going there as an undergrad whereas everyone else would be a grad student. Would it be more challenging as compared to going to the UK as an undergrad or is there not much difference? Comparing the UK and the US, besides the exposure and the responsibilities, which country in your opinion gives better training? Someone told me that in the UK, doctors are more well rounded whereas in the US, doctors are more focused in one field. Having experienced both systems, would you agree with that? How about post-medical school life, which system & country do you prefer?

Edinburgh would be great, with it's prestigious name and all but it's really expensive and if I'm not mistaken, they'll be adding in an extra year of medical school for research, which isn't one of my main goals for now. I initially wanted to go to the UK but with the push for new immigration legislations and everything, it doesn't look that promising for me as an international student, I feel. My main priority now would be to find a place overseas that's affordable and will at least allow me to do my housemanship/internship/clerkship there.

Do you also happen to know anything about med school & career opportunities in Aus?
Haha, I knew it was IMU because I noticed on the Edinburgh page transfer students were coming from IMU and I looked into it and found out about your twinning programs around the world.
Having been in both systems, I do think the US system is overall better mainly because they work harder than UK students and have a tougher curriculum and are given more responsibilities faster. This might have something to do with the grad nature of the program, but I'm pretty confident in telling you that if you gave the USMLE to most of the students in my UK medical school class at the end of 3rd year without preparation, 90% would probably fail. My school, which is well known for its pre-clinical education had by the end of third year completely missed out on hematology, we had never learned any of the leukemias or lymphomas and compared to the USMLE first aid book I only knew the organ systems well. Of course, my school had other strengths in anatomy for instance but in terms of class hours, US students have much more class than UK students.

Most UK students are deathly afraid of the USMLE, when in actual fact its something every US medical student has to take, pass and do well in. It just shows you the difference in the amount of education you learn between the two countries.

I think its really important for you if you want to go to the US to be one of the best students in your class, because if you want to actually match to a residency program you need to not only pass the USMLE you need to do very well in it. If you are confident in being able to score a 220+ on your Step 1, I would go to the US because you will get a US MD degree and with a good Step 1 score you can pretty much do your residency in the US no problem.

On the other hand if you aren't confident with the USMLE, the UK may be a better option since as things stand right now you can stay on for FY1/2, ST1-6 just by graduating from a UK medical school.

I believe that UK doctors are going to be better at history taking and better at clinical examinations than US doctors. I think this is because UK schools really emphasize these parts and throughout medical school this is what you mainly do. In terms of knowledge however I would think that US doctors are going to be better at this, one prevailing theme I've noticed in the UK is they really treat their doctors like employees rather than independent scholars. I think the best of each country are equal and the UK does tend to catch up in the end because of its longer clinical training (albeit less hours), but if it was me I would believe that US medical training at least in the early stages is going to be harder work but better than UK medical training.

In the NHS you work as an employee, research is something you pursue on a research track rather than something everyone is encouraged to participate in. There is still a weeding out process between medical school and specialty training, a lot of medical students in the UK never actually make it to becoming a doctor even after graduating. None of this happens in the US/Canada.

I wouldn't worry about being younger than your classmates, its something that I am experiencing as well but I think that just makes you mature faster than your peers your age.
 

Maruko

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General comments about going to the UK/US:
- UK med schools are mostly considered top tier. I recommend Edinburgh. I wouldn't consider Aberdeen, Southampton, St. Georges, Keele. Not sure about med school in the US
Could you please explain why you wouldn't consider the latter schools in the UK?
 

Medstart108

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Mar 24, 2012
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May I ask if application to Edinburg is through UCAS? I visited their website but it's a convoluted mess: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/international/applying/postgraduate
Edinburgh Medicine is an undergraduate program so look up Edinburgh Medicine MB ChB. Note that Edinburgh is making its medicine degree a 6 year degree next year, but it mentioned that if you have a Bachelors already they are willing to cut it down to 5 for you.

http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/international/country/north-america/canada/qualifications if you are Canadian
http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/international/country/north-america/usa/pg-entry if you are American
 

Maruko

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Thanks
I'm American. I still haven't found where Edinburgh application is & how to submit one...