Medical school in Nigeria is prestigious and is a process a lot of parents in Nigeria want their children to go through. In simple terms, if you want to become a doctor in Nigeria, you will have to go through medical school.
This is not a very easy process. Nonetheless, a lot of people look forward to it. In as much as you should be armed with this knowledge. Being aware of the fact that you need to go to medical school is not good enough. You should know how long it will take you to go through medical school successfully.
Are you interested in finding out how much time you will spend in medical school? If yes, you are on the right page. Let’s walk you through the process of becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria and how much time it will take you to go through medical school.
How Much Time Should be Spent in Medical School?
Averagely, in Nigeria, everyone looking to become a doctor will have to spend six years in medical school. The first half of these years will be spent learning about the way the body functions normally. In this period, you will study courses like biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy.
After the initial three years that will be spent learning about the way the body functions, you will spend another three years learning about abnormal body functions and how they should be treated. This phase will be focused on pathologies and how they can be treated.
After you are done with the first six years of studying medicine, you will be able to treat basic ailments and get emergency victims resuscitated before a senior doctor arrives on the scene.
The implication of this is after spending six years in medical school in Nigeria, you will not be left to handle patients alone as there is a lot more you will need to learn. The other things you need to learn to become qualified to attend to patience alone will take you another six years or less.
After going through basic medical school in Nigeria, you will need to go through another process known as Residency.
The residency program for medical doctors in Nigeria is usually not considered a part of medical school because it is not compulsory. Nonetheless, a lot of doctors go for it as they need to be better qualified to handle major health challenges.
When going through the residency program, unlike your time at medical school, you will be paid. The amount you will earn is dependent on the level you are as a resident doctor.
So, are you interested in getting to the highest point in your medical practice? If yes, you have to work towards becoming a resident doctor in a reputable clinic. This process begins when you write your primaries and pass. Once you pass this exam, you can search for a vacancy in any teaching hospital that teaches the branch of medicine you are planning on becoming a specialist in.
Alternatives for People not Interested in Residency
Not every prospective medical doctor in Nigeria has plans to be a resident doctor at some point in their lives. This is the case since not everyone really dreams of becoming a medical consultant. So, if you fall into the category of medical doctors that have no plans of becoming consultants, you will follow a path different from that followed by doctors that are interested in becoming medical consultants.
Any medical doctor that is not interested in becoming a medical consultant can start practicing immediately after they get their license. This is very easy. They simply need to locate a hospital with a vacancy, apply, and start working. Also, they could work towards becoming a Medical Officer of healthy.
Beyond becoming a consultant, you can become a force to reckon with in the medical profession by studying to become a professor of medicine.
How Long Will it Take one to Become a Specialist?
Unlike regular medical school in Nigeria which lasts for six years. The time needed to become a specialist is dependent on the area of specialty. Some areas of specialty are generally regarded as more delicate than others. Due to this, they require more time.
The implication of this is you will need to carry out research on the field you want to specialize in and out how long it will take you to become a specialist in such field.
Why You Might Spend more than Six Years in Medical School
At this point, you are aware of the fact that everyone looking to become a medical doctor in Nigeria is supposed to spend six years in medical school. Although this is the norm, it might not always end up like this.
There are times young people looking to become doctors in Nigeria might spend more than six years in medical school.
Some of the reasons a prospective doctor might spend more than six years in medical school are;
• Challenges passing a course that will make one spend at least an extra year in medical school.
• Industrial actions such as the ASUU strike, SSANU strike, etc.
• Issues with accreditation
While the above-named challenges can stand between a student and graduating from medical school in six years, the most prominent is academic strikes.
Beyond academic strikes, issues of the Association of Resident doctors going on strike can also make it difficult for medical students to be done with medical school in six years. This is because when resident doctors go on strike, there might be no one to teach prospective doctors as the consultants will be too busy.