To become a doctor in the Philippines is not an easy decision one makes within the day. It takes years of understanding that by going through the process; you are possibly giving up another ten years of your life to an educational system that is brutal to the mind, body and sometimes to the heart. This also discounts the fact that one must have a good financial background or at least access to a scholarship because Medicine is expensive. It doesn’t matter what school you go through, there clinical internships and laboratory fees involved and then you have uniforms, books and other things that make sure you are putting out money.
The process to becoming a doctor in the Philippines is an easy one way road when you’re reading it on paper. First, after graduating from high school you need to get a “premed” course that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to come from the sciences (Bachelor of Sciences), you can be a graduate of Literature or Architecture and you can still go to Medical school.
Before you can go to the medical school of your dreams, you have to pass the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT). This is a two part test that is conducted in multiple cities in the Philippines to accommodate the dreams of wannabe doctors. The first part of the test is dedicated to general subjects: Verbal, Inductive Reasoning, Quantitative and Perceptual Acuity. The second part of the test is harder and is made out of Biology, Physics, Social Sciences and Chemistry. Although there is no such thing as “passing” or “failing” the NMAT, your score determines which school you end up in. The higher the NMAT score is, the better chances you have at getting into one of the top tier schools.
Medical school in the Philippines takes four years to accomplish with the last year all dedicated to clerkship or rotations in the hospital. Once you graduate, you are given one more year to accomplish your Post Graduate Internship in any hospital of your choosing. After this, you are given two to three months of review for the Physician Licensure Examination. Once you pass, you have to decide as to what speciality you want to take in your residency. Depending on what you choose, this may tack on another three to five years to your education.
After all that has been said and done, is nursing good enough as premed course? It’s more than enough. People are often suggested to take courses within the sciences to make your transition from one course to the other easy. However, even though anyone can get into medical school, you might be assigned more subjects when you come from a non-science related course. This is supposed to help you get into speed in regard to subjects like human anatomy and physiology, biology and chemistry.
Nursing as a premed is not only a good choice but an ideal choice for most aspiring doctors. As both in nursing and medicine, on top of classes nurses have to go through rigorous training and internships just to pass. Another reason that people take nursing is because of the fact that there are universities that make it easier to transition.
Some people argue that Nursing isn’t always the best choice for premed, citing other courses like Medical Technology, Biology or Public Health. But the truth of the matter is, whether you come from a science course or not, you will more likely go through a bulk of new material. If in case that all of what you learned from nursing may not appear in your medical textbooks, you have the discipline and the perseverance left over from your course to help you work through your school load.
If all else fails, at least with nursing, you already have a career to fall back on.