Questions About Australian Schools

Discussion in 'Australasia and Oceania' started by NiteOwl, May 27, 2008.

  1. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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    I have a few questions about Australian medical schools. I am from the US, but I am looking at foreign schools too. It’s not a "what are my chances" thread, I already know mine for the US, and can probably get an idea of it for foreign schools once I have a little more info. I tried asking at the valueMD forums, but didn’t get a response. I would really like to know more about it if anyone could give me some info.

    1) Is it true that a lot of the Australian schools don’t have any required prerequisites? I have searched this and have seen a few that just want a bachelors degree. But there isn’t mention of Organic Chemistry or Physics. I know you have to still take the MCAT or an equivalent test, but I didn’t see much mention of required classes.

    2) Do any of the Australian schools offer MD or DO degrees? I just saw the one of the schools will be offering “MD” in 2011, but its more like a research degree. Do any of them offer MD for just a regular medical degree (like US schools)? Most of the degrees I see listed for them are MBBS. From what I am reading it is essentially the same thing, it’s just a different title. How does it work? If I were to come back to the US would it still be MBBS or would it be considered MD? I already have a 4-yr undergrad degree, so what would the options be for me if I wanted a graduate medical degree from Australia?

    Thanks for any info!
     
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  3. neulite

    neulite Graduate Student (GRII)

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    I am also an american student and I am also going through the application process for both countries. Getting into an american school is significantly more difficult than getting accepted in Australia. Where a high MCAT score and decent GPA will get you into a couple in AUS, you must prove your worth, so to speak, to the adcoms in America.

    Generally speaking, there are no pre-reqs for AUS schools. It appears you basically need a good MCAT (>30) and a minimum GPA, as many schools there don't use GPA to calculate yuor admissions score (Sydney will begin to use GPA in the coming years however). This may be due to the fact that courses abroad vary from country to country. If you are applying to US schools you probably are taking or have taken organic and biochem. These will be helpful (I imagine) regardless of going to AUS or not. We will eventually have to learn the material.

    The answer to your second question can be found on these forums and in quite recent posts actually.

    There is no DO over there. The DO seems to be exclusive to the US, I believe. As such, it is hardly recognized anywhere else. For those thinking of an abroad education or practice, DO is not the way to go. I posted a question recently discussing the merits of the MBBS and its relation to the MD, you should check it out.
     
  4. Jatpot

    Jatpot Member

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    I can't really speak for others, but I graduated from Sydney and they required GPA, transcript and MCAT (or GAMSAT) and an interview for admission. Most people in my class had done med sci or some other science undergrad degree, but you don't have to have taken specific classes. However, in order to score well on the GAMSAT you need science knowledge, so most people had taken them anyway. It's med school, so I wouldn't suggest skipping out on any of these courses in undergrad.

    There seems to be an opinion on these forums that Australian schools are "easier" to get into than US schools or that they are somehow similar to Caribbean schools (ie: "off shore w/USMLE prep and US clinical rotations). I totally disagree with this, but I can only speak about my school. Sydney admits a small percentage of international students and doesn't cater at all towards US licensing exams/getting back to the states. If your plan is to practice in the states, you should really try to get in there (which you said you are doing). Just my two cents being an American who lived and studied there. Best of luck!
     
  5. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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    I will admit the reason that I am looking is because I am having problems with organic chem. I took it once at one school and had to drop it. Then I tried again last fall at a school I had previously went to. I didn't do very well then either and again had to drop it. I didn't have a huge problem with general chem, it was hard but I made and A and B in them. I did okay in physics 1 and think I would do okay in 2. I did great in all of my other biology classes. Its just the Organic thats holding me back!

    I'm going to try again one more time this fall. But I just wanted to see what other options would be available, like offshore/overseas/foreign schools, if I needed to go that route. It wouldn't bother me that much to go somewhere out of the US for school. I don't see it as a lesser education, I just think the US makes it way too competative.

    Thanks for the responses!
     
  6. neulite

    neulite Graduate Student (GRII)

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    This is a common problem faced to many pre-meds found on the pre-allo forum. Organic chemistry is a hard class but you will eventually need to master the material regardless of which route you take. Biochemistry, following organic chem, is difficult as well. I would focus on the material first. Going abroad won't curtail your need to master the material. I'm pretty sure it will come up later.

    However, I do sympathize with you--the scrutiny with which US med schools look at your transcripts and academic history is intense. It's like you're applying for the FBI.
     
  7. neulite

    neulite Graduate Student (GRII)

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    From what I read, Sydney does not use GPA to rank applicants for admission. You need to meet a requirement but beyond that it doesn't affect your rank in the end. They said this is changing however.
     
  8. Jatpot

    Jatpot Member

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    don't take this as harsh; it's just advice.

    you need to focus on understanding organic chem (and subsequently biochem) rather than trying to find routes by which you can become a doctor without them. Tutors, summer school, whatever you need. It isn't the end all be all but you need your first principles (including biochem) to figure things out in medicine. It also comes up a lot in your pre-clinical years and on step 1. I don't know anything about Carib schools, but my Australian school and certainly US schools have chem in their curriculums and you don't really have time to play catch up if you don't understand the basics.

    neulite, maybe it's changed but I think my GPA mattered. It was a while ago though.
     
  9. Winged Scapula

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    One of the great fallacies about the Australian medical schools is that you don't have to have the standard US pre-med course work.

    Technically, you don't.

    However, every person who struggled in my class and those above/below my year, including those who failed, had not taken the courses. This was mostly Aussies, but a few Americans/Canadians who also tried to do it the easy way without taking all of the pre-reqs. The coursework will presume the knowledge and will come at you so fast that you will be lagging behind soon. In addition, the basic sciences are not taught as in-depth as in the US, so without the basic background and a lack of teaching, you will find yourself at a loss.

    Yes, you need some science background to take the MCAT or GAMSAT but the way the latter is scored, you can do well on the non-science portion and raise your "admissibility" quite a bit. The MCAT, with far more science, is not as easy to study for without taking the pre-req courses.

    In the "old days" GPA DID count; so not sure if they have changed things these days. Your options are pretty much limited to the 4 year GME courses, although I suppose you could get into one of the 6 year programs...whether you would want to (your classmates will be 18 yo) is another story.

    There are lots of threads about the MBBS vs MD. In the rest of the world, the MD is an academic/research degree only awarded after completion of the final medical degree, at least 5 years in practice and substantial research contribution. The MBBS, being the final medical degree, is equivalent to the MD in the US. State licensing boards allow usage of MD in place of the MBBS, although on all forms when asked for degree you should state "MBBS". The American Board of Surgery is the only one that insists on the MBBS and addresses my mail that way, FWIW.
     
  10. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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    Yeah, but from what I've understood, Organic is just a "weed out class". I know doctors and they said once done with the class, you don't do much with it. I can understand schools wanting you to take more challenging subjects, but why not microbiology or anatomy and physiology? I took both and did great. And both are so much more useful in med school than o chem.

    I have no money for tutors, no colleges in my area offer organic in the summer. All of the ones that are in driving distance only offer part 1 in fall and part 2 in spring. The next place I am looking at is about 1.5hr drive each way. I'm already 23, so if I were to apply next year that means if accepted (and thats a big if, because I've got a feeling that I'm going to be scraping by with Cs in organic) I would be 25 by the time I would start school.

    And I've even looked at Caribbean schools. They all want the same requirements the US schools have, they just will accept with slightly lower GPA and MCAT. My GPA isn't terrible (3.4) and I think I could do okay on the MCAT. I probably would be a bit below average for US standards, but okay for carib standards, exept for the whole chem thing!

    Trust me, I would love to stay here. But the outlook isn't looking that great for me. Technically I should be starting med school this year, but it didn't happen. Last year I thought I would be applying this year. That didn't happen either. I don't want to go through this cycle of trying when the outcome keeps being the same. And I really want to be a doctor. I used to only want MD after my name, but now I am willing for anything anywhere. I would still prefer MD, but I will be happy with other letters that mean the same thing as long as I get to practice medicine.

    And whats a good site that has the differences between the Aus versions of medical degrees and how many years they take? I have seen MBBS and BM. The other threads I looked at didn't give much insight on that. They just said that you could still use them in the US.
     
  11. NiteOwl

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    I wan't very interested in the 6 year programs. The 4 year was more of what I was looking for. I did see some 5 yr stuff, that would be okay I guess if it came down to me having to go that route.

    Where can I get some more info about the 4 yr GME programs?
     
  12. neulite

    neulite Graduate Student (GRII)

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    Again, a very common question found on these forums. Google GAMSAT and download the admissions guide. There you will find the most recent guide to graduate programs and those schools which accept internationals and their requirements.
     
  13. Jatpot

    Jatpot Member

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    I'm not sure if there are websites besides the actual individual program websites that give you info on 4 year Aus programs. These forums have a lot of info but you need to search for it and obviously it isn't guaranteed to be correct.

    Sure, some schools use organic/biochem as a weed out but that doesn't mean you don't need it for med school. My point is just that it isn't good practice to try to avoid something rather than learning it; it'll catch up with you. And Australian schools aren't really the answer b/c they aren't lax. You need to know biochem concepts in med school, and although you might not blatantly use it in practice it contributes to the foundation of knowledge from which you make clinical decisions. Just my opinion as a resident.

    25 isn't old to start med school; I was 24 for what its worth. All the best.
     
  14. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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    Well sorry I asked agian! Theres 2 pages of threads. And yes I know there are more that just aren't shown on the pages. I don't know what I am supposed to be looking for, thats why I asked. The other question I asked that you said "thats a common question you can find the answer to here on the boards", well I didn't find the answer that easily. And sorry for ignorance on the subject of Australian medical schools. I have googled it and keep getting info that goes back and forth. I was looking for something that just laid it out plain and simple. I just now started looking at these schools. I am used to looking at US schools and some Carib schools. And I usually am a lounge lizard, rarely do I post on regular SDN forums. So sorry that I may have missed some stuff.

    But fine. Thanks for telling me what to look for. Maybe it will give me the info I am needing, like what the difference is between degrees and the programs.
     
  15. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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    I'll just keep looking for the info I need.

    I'm not trying to avoid chem completely. But I am willing to give med school a shot without it if I can't get through the class. I will try to learn the basics that I will need from biochem for med school. Like I said, I'm going to try the course again, but if something happens with it again, I kind of need a 'plan b' so to speak. I still want to go into medicine (as a doctor. I would consider NP or PA if I need to, but thats more like a plan c for if no medical school will work at all) no matter what, so I might as well give it a shot without the class if I absolutely have to.

    And as for biochem, don't a lot of students go into med school without it anyway, even US schools? I've only seen a few schools here that actually list it as a requirement to get in. I thought I had seen med school curriculums with it listed on it, so you would be learning it then rather than undergrad.

    I know 25 isn't too old. I knew a guy that entered at 34. Its just that I want to get it over with, I want to start a career that I have been looking forward to for so long. I thought I was already going to be in or very close to being in by now.
     
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  17. acennace

    acennace Junior Member

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  18. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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  19. Winged Scapula

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    Sorry, you asked about what your options were in your first post, so I figured I'd include them. As far as the 6 year vs 5 year, there isn't much difference because you can often get credit in the 6 year programs for your undergrad degree and end up doing 5 years instead.
     
  20. Winged Scapula

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    Upon graduation from medical school many physicians around the world receive an MBBS or MBChB–degrees bestowed under traditional British medical education. This is common in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe and former British colonies (such as India).

    In contast to the US, most graduates of British medical schools do not receive an "MD" degree but receive a degree in each of three major areas of medical study: medicine, surgery, and obstetrics. To receive a degree the graduate must pass the qualifying examination in that area.

    The MB degree, which stands for bachelor of medicine, is awarded for passing the medicine exam examination, thereby qualifying as a medical doctor. This degree is really the equivalent to the MD in the United States–it's the standard degree.

    The BS, ChB and Bch degrees (which are are equivalent to one another) stand for Bachelor of Surgery (Ch=Chirugie, which is latin for surgery). These degrees are awarded for passing the surgical portion of the exam. BAO, which stands for Bachelor of Obstetrics, is awarded for passing the Obstetrics portion of the exam and thus qualifying in obstetrics. Thus physician graduates of the British system posses the "MB, [BS, ChB, or Bch], BAO" degree. They may present themselves as "Peter Rabbit, MBChBBAO", or "Peter Rabbit, MBBSBAO". In practice, the BAO portion is often dropped for convenience: "Peter Rabbit, MBBS".

    To make things even more complicated, keep in mind that on occasion the "MD" degree is awarded by medical schools in the British system, in place of the MB. To receive an MD rather than an MB, students must complete a thesis and receive some additional training (e.g., research training) over and above what is required for the MB. Senior, academic physicians are more likely to have an MD; community physicians will typically have the MB degree.

    Hope that helps clarify the alphabet soup. The training is NOT different; ie, its not like the distinction between MD and DO where the osteopathic schools also train students in OMM. All degrees whether MBBS, MBChB, etc. will basically have the same curriculum.
     
  21. NiteOwl

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    No problem. I should have clarified more what I was looking for.

    Thanks, that does clear stuff up a lot. I think I've got it now. So if I wanted to do a 4 year graduate program, in the end I would would graduate as "MyName MBBS"? Then go onto residency in Aus or US (whichever I decide at that point)?
     
  22. Dr.Millisevert

    Dr.Millisevert Senior Member

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    Yes, and if you do end up in the US.. you would be allowed to use the title "MD" instead of MBBS if you want.
     
  23. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    MBBS (rest of the world) = MD (US). If you get the MBBS degree, you will use the MD title when you're in the US. I know plenty of people who have done this, and nobody even knows that their diploma says "MBBS" and not "MD".

    FYI, the average (and median) age for students entering med school in the US is 24. You're not too far behind.

    One thing that you should consider is that Australian schools place a lot of emphasis on your individual MCAT subject scores. Anybody who has taken the MCAT will tell you that it's VERY hard to get a good score on the bio section without having a solid grasp of organic chem and biochem.

    Personally, organic is my weakest subject and it almost singlehandedly dropped my score to a 12 (I think I would have had a 14-15 if it wasn't for organic), despite the fact that my biochem is very strong. If you don't know your organic, you'll have a very difficult time with the MCAT.
     
  24. JoeNamaMD

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    Aussie schools do not force you to take prerequisite coursework but it will help you a lot in the first year if you have a decent science background. Aussie schools used to be six year programs, in the mid 90s they began to introduce Graduate Entry programs because many students were not sure they wanted to commit to Medicine out of high school. Some countries like the UK also have Aussie style four year programs but these ones will not even look at your application unless you hold a Biological or other Science degree. A word of advice, take the required courses for US medical schools anyway, also take Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry too.
     
  25. NiteOwl

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    I've taken a lot of science classes. Anatomy&Physiology, which at the school I went to was broken down into 2 semesters, so it was thoroughly covered. I made some of the top grades in the class and didn't have much of a problem with it. Micro didn't give me much trouble either. The only thing I havent taken is physics 2, organic, and biochem. My problem with chem is all the stuff you have to do with balancing then figuring out all the configurations it can be in, which is more stable.

    I probably wouldn't be a good candidate for UK schools since I didn't graduate with a bio or science degree. I have already graduated, I have a liberal studies degree, which basically means I took the basic requirements like english, math, history, but it didn't require any specifics for a particular course of study. I took a bunch of psy classes along with a few business classes, some of my med school pre-reqs, and a few classes that I thought would be interesting or helpful. Its not actually bad as it sounds, some people call it a soft option, but I thought it was good because I was kind of able to tailor it to what I really wanted to learn/what I was interested in, and what would help me later on.

    Thanks again for the info everyone!
     
  26. NiteOwl

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    I have one more question...it might be kind of stupid. Do the medical schools in Australia start in August (or around that time) like in the US? I am assuming so since the timelines look like they would head that way, but I just wanted to check.

    So if I were to apply next year it would go something like this: Take GAMSAT in March 2009, apply during June/July, interview, get accepted late 2009/early 2010, then start around August 2010?

    Thanks!
     
  27. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    No, they start in Jan/Feb. You'd take the GAMSAT in March (or the MCAT whenever), apply in May/June, get accepted by August-September, and start in Jan/Feb.
     
  28. neulite

    neulite Graduate Student (GRII)

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  29. NiteOwl

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    :thumbup: Thanks.

    I looked there but didn't see when the semester started. Maybe I just overlooked it.
     
  30. redshifteffect

    redshifteffect Senior Member

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    I've never taken Organic Chem before (did a 6 year MBBS) and I've never encountered a need for it in clinical practice so far. Biochemistry on the other hand was actually very useful.
     
    #28 redshifteffect, Oct 7, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  31. Dr.Millisevert

    Dr.Millisevert Senior Member

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    Most Australian/NZ med schools start in jan-feb (They fall semester just like in the US/Canada).

    (seasons are opposite in the southern hemisphere) :thumbup:
     
  32. NiteOwl

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    Thanks. After reading through all this, I might take a biochem class somewhere nearby if I can find one that doesn't have organic as a pre-req. I don't think they require it where I am now, so maybe I will try there.

    Thanks. I remembered that the seasons were opposite in the southern hemisphere, I just didn't know if that affected when schools started.
     
  33. JohnnyRockets

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    The seasons are in reverse in Australia but in general the weather does not change dramatically like it does in the US and in Europe. It might be somewhat colder or warmer but you don't really get snow or other major changes in precipitation. If you are from the US and your career goal is to work in the US, you will be at somewhat of a disadvantage when applying for a residency, I don't think its as bad as Caribbean schools but in general most strong residency programs prefer US graduates.
     
  34. Winged Scapula

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    While there was no snow in Adelaide, I think from 5 degrees in the winter to 45 degrees in the summer was pretty impressive (plus a fair bit of rain in the winter).:D
     
  35. JoeNamaMD

    JoeNamaMD Banned
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    Victoria has some mountain regions where there is a lot of snow. New Zealand has snowy regions. Ever seen the Lord of the Rings movies?? They were filmed in New Zealand.
     
  36. NiteOwl

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    Do any of the schools in Australia use "live animal labs"? I know some of the US schools have cardio labs where they use dogs and they have to be killed at the end. Please don't bash me over this, it is just something I feel strongly against.
     
  37. NiteOwl

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    Anyone? I am particulary curious about it with Queensland. I tried googling it and didn't find much, it just kept mentioning veterinary schools that do it. I couldn't find a yes or no on what the med schools do.
     
  38. gmacpac

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    I recommend you call the schools yourself. While I personally have never been to any of the Australian schools and I don't know how each school conducts its research; it will be very surprising to me if a program DOES NOT have animal models for preliminary or basic science research studies.

    I guess its a matter of how strong a person feels about working with animals.
     
  39. neulite

    neulite Graduate Student (GRII)

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    As an animal researcher I can probably say that somewhere they do at the university. I know you have your reasons so no bashing from me. I understand both sides. However, they probably won't advertise the fact.

    I would do a thorough search of each science program at UQ. Look at faculty publications as well. You can tell by the abstracts which do and where they were conducted.

    Just curious, are rats a problem or just dogs, rabbits, and birds? Rodent species tend to be more popular. Fish are also very popular, especially with genetic research.
     
  40. dunmaglas

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    I don't have an answer for whether or not we will be doing labs using live animals at UQ. Just thought I'd offer my perspective; first of all I wouldn't worry about any intelligent person bashing you over your opinion on the use of animals. The use of animals in research is heavily debated, let alone the use of animals for the sake of teaching concepts in a lab. I've been a TA in several lab courses that use animals, and I know that each year the lab coordinators are required to justify the use of animal experimentation to animal care committees; balancing the destruction of animals against perceived educational gains for the students. So you are definately not alone in your views, and with good reason. I use animals (mice) for my own research and as i'm a muscle physiologist; unfortunately my subjects must be euthenized. While I consider myself to be a person that loves animals, and I honestly feel bad about euthenizing the poor little guys, I feel that the research is important enough to justify the use and destruction of the animals.

    While I know that in undergraduate courses students had an option to opt out of labs in they felt uncomfortable, I'm not sure if the same understanding is extended to medical students. So my suggestion is that, if you find yourself in a situation where a lab requires you to experiment on an animal that will be destroyed at the end of the lab, you might consider that the skills and concepts you learn (and the potential that you might use those skills in the future to improve or save the lives of others in the future) through the course of the lab might justify the use of non-recovery procedures on test animals. While it may provide small comfort, it may help to know that any time an animal is used in these scenarios the utmost of care is taken to ensure the animal is under minimal stress and feels a minimal amount of pain. So while I'm not sure if my message is very coherant, I hope it might help you in some way with your moral/ethical dilemma should it arise in the course of your studies.
     
  41. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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    Research studies that I would not be participating in wouldn't bother me. It would only be a problem if I had to actually participate in it (for instance, non-research using live animals in a physio lab for educational purposes). My feelings on it would depend on how the animals are used.


    Thanks, I will give all that a look and see if I can find anything. As I mentioned above, I would be okay if somewhere in the school it was done as long as I wan't involved in it. I know a lot of schools do reasearch and animals have to be used for it, and I can understand that. I just don't like to see it done only for "educational purposes". To answer you questions about which animals would be a problem: rats and fish would be okay I suppose, if I had to do it. Birds, I don't know. As for dogs, no way, that is something I couldn't do. I don't mean to sound hypocritical about it by choosing one animal over another...I guess I just have more of an attachment to animals commonly kept as pets.

    That is pretty much my problem, using them as teaching subjects. I just don't want to do things like put a living dog under sedation, cut it open just to observe the cardiovascular system, then euthanize it. And yeah, there are schools here in the US that do that.

    Thanks everyone for answering and being understanding about it. I asked something similar in the allopathic forum a few years ago and was chewed out by several students and it just disolved into a huge flame war.
     
  42. redshifteffect

    redshifteffect Senior Member

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    Not to make light of this topic, but I'm not sure if you know that as a future doctor (as your name implies) you will be required/asked to do things that may not be within your moral/ethical compass.

    Unfortunately unless you choose to jeopardize your career it will be very difficult to "not participate" in these activities. So while in medical school you are given a lot more leeway, I think you might want to think carefully before you embark on the pathway to becoming a doctor.
     
  43. NiteOwl

    NiteOwl Geek

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    Actually, there are ways you can lessen the ethical burdon with certain things that you find a problem with once you become a doctor without "jeopardizing your career". You can always refer them to another doctor if you feel uncomfortable. I have though about being a doctor for several years. I didn't just wake up today and go "hey, I wanna be a doctor!". Believe me, I have thought about everything that goes along with it including ethical issues.
     
  44. redshifteffect

    redshifteffect Senior Member

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    That's true in certain cases, but there are a lot of situations where you simply don't have that option. Particularly when you are dealing with inpatients. I've seen quite a few situations where this has happened.

    And yes, particularly in medicine there are a lot of politics that go on behind the scene. A single bad reference can ruin a career, especially if that person goes out of their way to do so. Unfortunately the hospital doesn't really work like they portray it on Grey's Anatomy and ER.
     
  45. Theillestill

    Theillestill hold the mustard

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    The worst is if you offend the clerical staff. They can really make your life a living nightmare in your clinical years.
     
  46. Theillestill

    Theillestill hold the mustard

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    Every medical school or dental school has an anatomy department with donated cadavers for that kind of stuff.
     

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