Since we started our company we were bundled with queries about medicine and other medical fields. It seemed to us that the whole world wants to study medicine, so we embarked on researching the field, in terms of who provides it, what are the qualifications needed, is it easy to get into, are there any hoops that students need to jump to enter into the programme etc.
What we found is mind-boggling. I will start with the cheap and ugly, and then move on to the high-quality programmes. Students with high grades can enter medical fields in many private universities available in the Gulf countries however only GCC nationals can enter medical programmes in governmental universities around the gulf, these are UAEU, Gulf University, Kuwait University, Qatar University, SQU, King Abdulaziz University in KSA and so on. These government universities are subsidized and have either no fees, or low fees. The important thing here is that seats are limited, and admissions are only available to high grades holders. The private universities around the gulf are not very expensive, but have problems, its students may not be able to do their internships in local hospitals, and are not allowed to do specializations unless they set the registration exams of the various countries (USMLE, Plab, AMC, MCNZ, and so on). Many students opt to go to east European countries, and are required to do an interview and set tests to check if they are suitable. The fees are not very high, and the admission is easy; the marks need not be that high. Of course, all of these places require a high standard of English language, as the medium of studies is in English. Off late we found few universities in China that will accept any student with any grades, and are really cheap (7000 dollars a year only). This last one seems to be a favourite to students as they can afford it and can fulfil their ambition too.
UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have stringent rules, all students have to have a bachelor degree in a scientific field, have to set a test, do an interview then are able to enter a medical programme.
This brings us nicely to the aftermath, the specializations. I receive hundreds of emails from doctors wanting to specialize, of course, I get amazed, as they should not ask me, they should know the rules, they are doctors after all. However, I give them the benefit of the doubt as they have no time. So our search tells us, that for anyone to specialize, they need to do the registration exam, find employment in a hospital and while working there he/she can be attached to the field he or she want to specialize in, such as G&P, oncology, internal medicine, and so on. There are certain fields that are also restricted, which means that not everyone can be registered in them, such as plastic surgery, heart surgeons and brain surgeons. The restriction is due to the fact that there are not enough teachers to teach the students, and also if we threw a lot of plastic surgeons around, the operations will be cheap and nose jobs will be crooked.
I am not even going to mention dentistry, as this is the most amazing field, and more amazing the fact that the dentists do not know how to become specialists. For example, I have a dentist who wants to become a maxillofacialist, what she doesn’t know that she has to do medicine besides her dentistry degree and then specialize in this field. So much so for those that are going to treat us in the future.