So, you’ve decided that you want to make a career out of something medical, but your not sure what? The good things is, most medical jobs, from medical scientists, researcher, nurse, doctor, paramedic, physiotherapist and many others all start the tertiary training in very similar ways. They all cover anatomy and physiology, chemistry, basic physics and some maths (not too much maths though, thank goodness). This works out well for those of you who don’t really know what you want to be when you grow up, because it makes it much easier to change early on in your tertiary training/education.
So what are some medical careers to think about…
Medicine… okay, you want to be a Doctor? That’s great… how many years of study are you willing to do? If the answer is anything less than “every year for the rest of my working life” than, don’t become a Doctor. Medicine is a great profession, but it is something that you have to love and enjoy studying to be good at… you can become many things in life and not have to worry too much about studying after your in, but medicine is not one of those things. In medicine you have to study for many years to get into medical school, then many years to complete medical school, then many years to complete internships, registrar training and specialist training, then you have to study very hard to keep up to date with recent advancements and maintain your registered certificate to practice. If you enjoy studying, and you like helping people, medicine is a great job. In Australia, most Medical Degrees require you to spend 6 years full time to achieve a Bachelor of Medicine. However, these days, alot of a Universities allow students to study medicine through a post-graduate course. This means that they have a 3 year undergraduate degree (in anything they choose) and then apply to complete a 4 year post-graduate degree in Medicine.
Nursing… Okay, nursing is another great job. Nursing is another career that involves alot of study these days, but a little less than medicine. The job is much more people orientated and involves alot of interaction with patients. This has its pros and cons, too however. Most nurses I know don’t necessarily like people anymore… but there are some people who love the job and wouldn’t change it for the world. The world needs nurses (especially good nurses) so if you’re interested in a career in nursing that is great. Most countries require people to study full time for about 3-4 years to comlete a Bachelor of Nursing or Bachelor of Health Science Degree. You then need to undergo a 1 year internship/graduate program as a nurse.
Paramedics – Okay, so I’m a paramedic, so obviously I’m a little biased here. Paramedics are one of the few medical careers or jobs that can be trained “on the job” although, these days it is usually through a 3 year full time tertiary study followed by a 1 year traineeship/internship. Paramedics gain a lot of medical knowledge over their career, and become very good at managing the ABCDEs of emergency medicine.
Physiotherapy – is usually 4 years full time at university followed by a 1 year full time graduate program. Physiotherapy is a very good job that can open doors to working just about anywhere in the world. You can work for yourself in private practice or public, or contract to cruise ships. The opportunities are endless. One word of warning, however, a large aspect of the job of Physiotherapist is respiratory therapy/chest therapy (this involves improvement patients lungs, but often results in excess sputum… if you can’t handle sputum… this may not be the job for you).
Medical Research or Lab Technician. Okay, so you are serious when you say you enjoy studying… you can become a medical researcher or lab technician with endless opportunities to research by doing a 3 year full time medical science degree. Then, if you get bored of the lab (some people love it), you are well set up to study any other medical field.