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Medicine education doctorsThe word medicine comes from the Latin phrase ars medicina, which means the art of healing. Medicine today utilizes health science, medical technology and biomedical research to treat and diagnose injury and disease. There are many new technologies being implemented in the field of medicine, and great opportunity exists for research toward even more technology.

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Educational Courses in Medicine

To become a physician, medical students study for at least five years in most countries. Entry into medicine education programs is a competitive process and requires the highest marks. To qualify for an education in medicine, students must have completed upper secondary education including all the sciences.

There are a variety of study options available within Medicine:

Diploma in Medicine

Bachelor degree in Medicine

Master’s degree in Medicine

Medicine education courses often consist of two types of courses:

  • Pre-clinical medicine courses, which take place in a classroom and consist of the study of basic sciences; and
  • Clinical medicine courses, which consist of rotating through different wards in teaching hospitals.

How to study medicine

The general medicine education is comprised of 330 to 360 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) which is equivalent to five to six years of fulltime studies. Depending on the university and jurisdiction, these may be either undergraduate-entry (most of Europe, India and China) or graduate-entry medical education programs (mainly in the United States).

During a general education in medicine, medical students learn the fundamentals of anatomy and diseases; how the internal organ systems work; the structure of the cells; and much more. The first few semesters of general medicine education often cover basic medical knowledge at the university. The last six semesters require medical students to study through training within the institutional care system mixed with theoretical education at the university hospital.

After completing a medical degree, graduates can pursue any number of medical specialties or go into research. Specialties require between three and six years of additional training after completing residency and obtaining a license. Specialization often involves an additional post-graduate degree on top of a medical degree, as well as on-the-job training at selected hospitals. Specializations in the medical profession include:

  • Surgery, with selected category specialistions such as heart or brain surgery;
  • Gynecology;
  • Pediatrics;
  • Geriatrics;
  • Psychiatry;
  • Anesthesiology;
  • General practitioner; and
  • Internal medicine

The medical internship

After completing a medical degree, and before receiving a full license to practice medicine as a physician, students participate in an medical internship program which lasts from one to two years. The medical internship is often completed with an exam which underlies a license to practice general medicine.

In addition to the medical internship program, some countries (like the United States) also require a Residency, which is a specialty medical training program whose duration is determined by the specialty.

Qualifying for medical practice abroad

Medical licenses are generally not directly transferrable between countries. Rules and regulations differ in various countries, so it is advisable to research what rules apply before commencing the study of medicine abroad. In some cases, such as within the EU, after completing a medical degree abroad, graduates can gain a license in their home country if they do a term of residency there. In other cases, it may be necessary to take extra medical examinations, courses and even an extra year of residency in order to obtain a license in medicine, regardless of previous experience.

The study of medicine is offered in many different countries, including:

Careers in medicine

Within the field of medicine, most physicians work in the public healthcare systems at hospitals and health centres, but in some countries it is common to open a practice. The medical profession is protected by a license issued by the state. For foreign physicians to receive a medical license in a new country, the country’s bilateral agreements must be followed. In some parts of the world where there is a shortage of those working in medicine, the medical licensing process is simple, while it may take several years in others. The earnings of medical personnel vary widely depending on location.