I am beyond excited to have Medical Education Monday back this week with Renate from “The Regatta” as our guest. Renate is a 20 year old South African medical student in her second year of medical education. She is interested in Pediatric Surgery, but makes sure to let me know that at this stage in her education she has a lot left to experience and is keeping an open mind. Renate speaks two languages fluently (English & Afrikaans), knows enough German to get around and is in the process of learning a couple more languages in order to better communicate with her future patients. How are ALL of my Med Ed Monday guest posters so talented? They never cease to amaze me. When she’s not suffocating underneath a pile of heavy, international edition medical textbooks or practicing a new language, she enjoys swimming, quilting and playing the flute. Thanks for stopping by to read about Medical School in South Africa, if you have questions, feel free to shoot me an email or contact Renate directly!
But first, vote in the poll from yesterday! Pretty please. 🙂
How long is it?
The MBChB degree takes 6 years.
How are the years broken down?
Note: This describes the medical program at my university. This is not necessarily applicable at all South African medical schools!
Describe your typical day.
I’m in second year right now, so my day is not particularly exciting! We usually have lectures from 8:00 until 13:00. Lunch break is from 13:00 until 14:00, followed by practicals or tests on some afternoons, depending on the schedule of my particular group. Usually we’re done by 16:00.
This does change periodically though, depending on what block we’re doing! For instance, during anatomy block we finished at 5 ‘o clock in the afternoon almost every single day, while in Block 1 (the very first block at med school) we would often finish at one ‘o clock and be home in time for lunch!
If you choose a specialty, when do you have to decide by?
I’m only second year, so I’m not totally sure. Our undergraduate degree is six years. However, before a doctor can practice in private practice or specialise, we have to complete 2 years of internship as well as 1 year of community service. (Also known unofficially as “Zuma years”, not so affectionately named after President Jacob Zuma, who may or may not have had a hand in prolonging this time period.) As far as I know, any time during the Zuma years is a good time to apply for a specialty position.
What are you called at this stage of training?
While completing the MBChB degree you are known as a med student or student intern (during the last year and a half.)
What exams do you have to take?
Uhm…Finals? I don’t think we have a fancy name like USMLE…
Do most people graduate?
According to the upbeat and encouraging “welcome to med school” speech that we had to suffer through on the first day of med school, yes, most people do graduate. (I can’t remember all the statistics they bombarded us with!) Having said that, not all students finish the degree in six years.
When are you finally considered a “doctor?”
Once you have completed the six year MBChB degree, then you are a doctor. However, you cannot move into private practice or specialise until you have completed the “Zuma years.”
Do you have additional training or do you start working immediately?
Zuma years are paid work, although I’m told the pay is not very good.
What’s the average debt for attendance?
Lots! I’m not actually sure what the precise number is. Working on a very generalized average, it would cost about R20 000 ($2,953.40 USD) per year of study, which would work out to about R120 000 ($17,720.40 USD).
Is the job security good?
In South Africa, there are not enough doctors for the population, so you should always be able to get a job. It might be somewhere really rural though!
Other random facts:
What the USA call residents we call registrars. Attendings are consultants.
A few weeks ago, while I was consumed with memorizing what causes a left shift on the O2 Dissociation Curve, I received an email that made me giddy with excitement and overwhelmed with gratitude. MomMD.com, a site I’ve frequented many times since deciding to apply to medical school, contacted me asking if I’d consider coming onto their team as a weekly blog contributor. I am ecstatic to have this opportunity and can’t wait to get started over there.
The blog there will be separate from Mind On Medicine and, among other things, I’ll be writing more about topics related to being a woman in medicine. Don’t worry, though – this blog isn’t going anywhere! This is still my personal outlet and I’ll be here just as much, but I’d love to have your support and encouragement as I get started as a contributor for this rockin’ resource.
In the mean time, I would love it if my awesome Mind On Med readers would help me choose a name for the new MomMD blog! Vote for one of the options below, or add a new one. If you come up with something great, I’ll definitely add it to the options!
Later on I’ll announce the winner and let y’all know where you can find me on MomMD!
As a medical student on the inpatient Internal Medicine floor my job is not just to learn about history-taking and practice my physical exam skills, it’s to be a part of the team caring for real, live patients. I actually have the chance to make a difference. Since I’m a noob I am usually only assigned to a couple of patients at a time. This small patient load plus my low magnitude of responsibility means I have the time to sit down with people and tell them, in layman terms, what their diagnosis and plan is.
I truly adore sitting down with patients and ensuring they understand what’s going on. It overjoys me to hear a patient tell my attending “that girl right there…she explained this to me and I feel like I can go home and deal with it now.” Statements like this don’t make me happy because the attending may take a mental note for my clerkship evaluation, but because, for the first time since I started my journey into medicine, I finally feel like I’ve actually made a difference in someone’s life.
Mind on Medicine has FINALLY moved over to it’s new WordPress home.
If you’re reading this in a reader you probably didn’t even notice. If you will, I’d love for you to click on out of your reader and come see the new crib and let me what you think!
I still have some furniture rearranging, unpacking and bug-exterminating to do, but I think I have the majority of the large issues covered. If you find a broken link or something else that seems off or isn’t working, please let me know!
Your subscriptions should redirect, if you notice an problem, please tell me so I can look into it!! Email subscriptions won’t change…so nothing special you need to do there.
I hope you like the new site, I’m looking forward to being able to interact with you all more efficiently around here. If you have any amazing suggestions for making the most of WordPress, let me know…and in the mean time, I’m still learning my way around, so bare with me if you can!
|Photo Credit: digitalart|
Since the day I started medical school…actually probably more accurately since the day I started telling people I wanted to go to medical school…people have been asking me what kind of doctor I want to be and I have been giving them a generic answer of “I really don’t know, but today I’m interested in XYZ.”
is about to drastically change.
My job is no longer simply learning about the basic science of disorders and regurgitating answers on exams…starting next week I get my first real taste of what a doctor does.
My first clinical rotation is Internal Medicine and I am very excited to see the ins and outs of hospital work. I’m ready to get into the nitty gritty of what I came to medical school for in the first place – patient care.
|Original Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Plutor|
A few things I need to tackle before next week:
And, because I have no witty or creative way to end this post, I’d like to put it out there that I was carded while buying a 5-Hour Energy yesterday.