Being a Doctor, not only in Nigeria but all over the world, brings this indescribable respect to you because you are at the forefront of healthcare. If you have taken an interest in this field, it is necessary that you understand that it is a really wide field with numerous options.
What is Medicine and Surgery?
According to Wikipedia, Medicine is the science and practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, palliation of their injury or disease, and promoting their health while Surgery is a medical or dental speciality that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a person to investigate or treat a pathological condition such as a disease or injury, to help improve bodily function, appearance, or to repair unwanted ruptured areas. These definitions are to help us understand the connection between medicine and surgery.
This field is a very lucrative one with quite a long list of career prospects. Just a branch of the field can split into two or more aspects with different specialities or methods of treatment but dealing with the same organ or system.
Branches of Medicine and Surgery
This field is a very broad one with so many branches. Some of the branches are listed below
i. Cardiology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of the health of the heart and blood vessels.
ii. Pediatrics: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of the health care of children from birth to adolescence.
iii. Oncology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of cancer.
iv Dermatology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of the health of the skin, hair, scalp and nails.
v. Endocrinology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of hormones and the diseases that affect the endocrine organs (which include: the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, adrenals, testes, pituitary).
vi. Nephrology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases affecting the Genitourinary system (which includes: the kidney, urethra, ureters and urinary bladder).
vii. Anaesthetics: It is a branch of medicine that deals with the perioperative management of a surgical patient. A doctor in this field is mostly needed during surgery to prevent derangement in the vital organs (i.e. brain, heart, kidneys) functions and postoperative pain.
viii. Haematology: It is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of abnormalities or disorders of the blood and related system such as bone marrow, that can affect the blood.
ix. Emergency medicine: This branch of medicine is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of acute or life-threatening conditions.
x. Internal Medicine: This is a branch of medicine that focuses on diagnosing and non-surgical treatment of internal organs.
xi. Sports medicine: This is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness, treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise.
xii. Neurology: It is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of the nerves and nervous system.
xiii. Ophthalmology: This is a branch of medicine that focuses on the eyes including vision care, diagnosis, treatment and management.
xiv. Plastic Surgery: This is a branch of medicine that deals with medical aesthetics and reconstructive surgery. Medical aesthetics to improve any part of the body, that is, bodily surface and reconstructive surgery to replace lost tissues or other prominent parts whether from fractures, burns or degenerative-diseases process through the use of artificial devices (Prostheses).
xv. Psychiatry: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental disorders affecting humans.
xvi. Rheumatology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases that involve joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
xvii. Gastroenterology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases and problems related to the digestive system.
xviii. Pathology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the general study of diseases, the cause, treatment, management and prevention.
xix. Immunology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the study of the immune system.
xx. Radiology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the use of radiation for diagnosis, therapy and monitoring of disease conditions.
xxi. Cardiothoracic Surgery: This is a branch of medicine that uses surgery to treat diseases affecting the heart, chest, lungs and oesophagus.
xxii. Proctology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases that affect the rectum and the anus.
xxiii. Neurosurgery: This is a branch of medicine that uses surgery to treat diseases affecting the brain, central nervous system and spinal cord.
xxiv. Urology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases that affect the urinary system of both genders. It is closely related to Nephrology.
xxv. Pulmonology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases that affect the pulmonary system.
xxvi. Otolaryngology: This is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases that affect the nose, ears and throat.
Schools that offer Medicine and Surgery in Nigeria
There is a long list of schools offering this course but I curated a list of some of the best schools offering this course.
• University of Ibadan (UI)
• University of Benin (UNIBEN)
• University of Lagos (UNILAG)
• Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)
• Lagos State University (LASU)
• University of Ilorin, Kwara State (UNILORIN)
• Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)
• University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)
• Ambrose Alli University (AAU)
• Delta State University (DELSU)
• Niger Delta University (NDU)
• University of Calabar (UNICAL)
• University of Uyo (UNIUYO)
• Bayero University, Kano (BUK)
General Requirements to Study Medicine and Surgery in Nigerian Universities
i. Candidates must be at least 16 years before October 31st in the same year of admission.
ii. You must choose the correct JAMB subject combination which is: Use of English, Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
iii. You must have at least five(5) Credit Passes in subjects including Mathematics, English, Chemistry, Physics and Biology in not more than two (2) sittings. Unless stated otherwise on the school portal, you can combine both your WAEC and NECO results. It is advisable to get all your Credits in one sitting though, as Medicine and Surgery is highly competitive.
iv. To increase your chances of being accepted into the university of your choice, you must have a high UTME score and a high Post-UTME score if your school of choice writes one. For UTME, you should be targeting 250 upwards, depending on your school. Schools like UI, UNILAG, UNN, UNIBEN, UNILORIN, and OAU are very competitive. The higher your scores, the higher your chances of getting admitted.
It takes six(6) years for UTME Candidates and five(5) years for Direct Entry (D.E) Candidates to study medicine in Nigeria.
What You Need to Know as an Aspiring Medical student
• It takes six(6) years for UTME Candidates and five(5) years for Direct Entry (D.E) Candidates to study medicine in Nigeria.
•The first year is more or less a revisional class for all the science subjects you did in secondary school. It is important you pass all the courses you offer in your first year or you would have to repeat your entire first year.
•The second and third years are known as the pre-clinical period, you offer purely medical courses; Anatomy, Biochemistry, Embryology and the likes. You would take practicals in Anatomy where you will have to perform dissection on cadavers. You might not be sitting for any exam in your second year but you would be sitting for a professional exam in your third year. This exam is known as the second M.B.B.S professional examination and you will need to pass this exam to move on to the next phase, which is the Clinical period
• The fourth to sixth year are collectively regarded as the Clinical period, most of your lectures would hold at your university’s teaching hospital where you would see practical examples of what you have been taught or is being taught. You will sit for your third M.B.B.S professional examination at the end of your fourth year, after successfully passing this exam, you will proceed to your fifth year where you will sit for your fourth M.B.B.S professional examination. In your sixth year, which is your final year as an undergraduate, you will be required to sit for your fifth and final M.B.B.S professional examination. It is after all these you would be awarded an M.B.B.S. (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) Degree and you would be inducted into the medical profession. You would be given a license to operate as a doctor anywhere in Nigeria after your induction.
• After you have completed your undergraduate program, you can then proceed to any MCDN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) hospital of your choice for your internship.
•After your internship, you can proceed then to serve your Fatherland.
Conclusion: Studying Medicine & Surgery in Nigeria
One can tell by just reading that it is not a field for the weak, you have to be strong mentally, academically, physically and every other -ally there is. You would be required to go for lots of practicals, read voluminous books and deal with different patients with different personalities. It is essential that you know what you are in for before you collect your UTME application form. I wish you good success in your endeavours.