Medicine in Australia

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Do I want to become a Doctor?

I'll share my ideas of what is required to follow a career in medicine. These are my views and only my views, hence not necessarily the truth. Email me if you'd like to discuss these ideas. Anyway, this should give you some idea of what a committment medicine is. Interestingly enough, it isn't totally necessary to know that you want to make a committment to medicine now, as long as you have some idea of what you're in for if you decide to work for and take the opportunity. A word of warning though. If money is a consideration in you wanting to do medicine, forget it. Far more money can be made in business related careers. There is an element of job security in the profession however as time goes on this is no longer the case. In many ways, medicine is a lifestyle not just a career. In my case I have decided to study medicine for a number of reasons:
  • the contributions that can be made to the community
  • the knowledge and lifetime learning in the profession
  • the patient interaction
  • the opportunities to work in different communities
  • the people in the profession
  • the lifestyle
  • the relative job security
  • the status of the profession
Now,I hope some of this information can assist you in making a decision.

How do I become a doctor?
Here is the process:

  1. Gain entry to a medical course e.g. Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery
    • Undergraduate entry course
      • Via entry from year 12
      • Via lateral entry
    • Postgraduate entry
      • After having finished an undergraduate degree
  2. Graduate from the medical course (courses range between 4 and 7 years)
  3. Work as an intern in a hospital (first year of residency)
  4. Work as a resident in a hospital ( one to three years )
  5. Apply for and gain entry to a training program to specialise.
    • Via interview and other various entrance requirments
  6. Those in a training program, work as registrars in their area of training.
  7. Upon completion of training program (between 3-6 years), graduates are eligible for membership of the relevant medical college.
    • To complete the training program a series of exams need to be passed
  8. Continuing Medical Education (CME) over the course of a medical career.
    • To remain registered with a medical college, it is now necessary to accumulate a certain number of CME points each year.

What does medicine involve?
An objective account can be found at the DEETYA web site. In terms of the way I see medicine, read the following. Please bear in mind that I, myself, am only starting the medical course, so my view may be a little skewed. Increasingly, medicine is becoming community based. That is supporting the health needs of the community. This includes preventative and epidemiologically based medicine. That is, looking at patterns of illness and disease in society. Ofcourse, there will always be the clinical side of medicine. That is dealing with patients, face-to-face on a daily basis. One other field that is progressing and becoming important is that of telemedicine. This involves the use of Information Technology and includes everything from patient contact via video i.e teleconferencing through to medicial information being provided over the internet. It also includes projects such as the virtual body project, whereby a body has been sliced and scanned to provide an electronic 3-D representation of the body. So there are lots of areas in medicine. Medicine doesnt necessarily lead to a cinical career. One of the major aspects of medicine is that of learning. Throughout a medical career it is essential that a doctor keeps up-to-date in their field. It is important that a doctor enjoys learning and has a thirst for knowledge especially in their field. This applies to any area of medicine and I imagine the same can be applied to most professions.

Clinical Doctors
I would say of all the qualities required of a clinical doctor, the most important is competence, or technical proficiency. However a very close second is communication. An ability to communicate with colleagues i.e. nurses, administrative staff and ofcourse other doctors, as well as patients.

Specialities

Originally, specialities could roughly be divided into medical and surgical with Psychiatry being the only one that didn't fit neatly into either of these. Now that many disciplines have their own training programs, separate from the physician (medical) or surgical training programme, it is worth mentioning them individually:

  • Anaesthetics - Pain management
  • Dermatology - Diseases of the skin
  • General practice/Family Medicine
    Traditionally, G.P. has not been viewed as a specialty, however it appears that with the appearance of specific training programs for G.P.
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology - Diseases of the nervous system
  • Obstretrics/Gynaecology -
  • Oncology - Cancer
  • Paediatrics - Children
  • Palliative care - Terminal illness
  • Psychiatry - Mental illness
  • Surgery

Sub-specialties
Many doctors, once they have specialised, sub-specialise. For example, a doctor having specialised in surgery may sub-specialise in paediatrics.

Research/Academia These two are often linked. Careers in this area are found in the university environment and within research institutes.

Medical Administration This involves the business side of medicine. Everything from the legal aspects through to balancing hospital budgets. This side of medicine requires other business related qualifications e.g. Monash University offers a combined Medicine and Law degree.


Medical Entrance
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