Do You Really Need To Do A Medical Placement In A Developing Country?

September 7, 2015

mentor_medicine3Your high school grades are impressive. You’ve spent time volunteering and shadowing physicians and you’ve managed to obtain outstanding letters of recommendation. You’ve used your time wisely and done everything you could to give your medical school application a huge boost. Do you still need to do a medical placement despite having done all the other recommended activities? What are the special advantages you will enjoy?

If you are still sitting on the fence about doing a medical placement because you’ve already met all the eligibility criteria for medical school, here’s a closer look at why you should still consider doing a medical placement

It gives your med school application a tremendous boost

Doing a medical placement in a devloping nation is one of the most powerful ways to strengthen your med school application. It tells interviewers that you have taken the trouble to find out more about the profession. More importantly it tells them that you have seen what it truly is like to be a doctor far away from the modern hospital environment that you would typically see in Australia and that the hardships of the profession have not diluted your passion for helping people. Passion for helping people is the most important attribute that admissions authorities look for in candidates applying to medical school.

Medical placements in developing countries do more than just strengthen your med school application

They give you the work experience that you would never get anywhere else. While volunteering and shadowing are great ways to gain insight into a medical career, they have a major restriction in that there is little or no direct patient contact. You are more of an observer during these activities and may be given just a few fringe tasks during that time.

The biggest advantage of completing a medical placement is the practical experience it gives you. When you go on a medical placement to a developing country, you are not limited to being an observer. Besides getting a closer look at medical professionals at work, you will have plenty of opportunities to get hands-on practical experience in helping patients. These opportunities will enable you to start developing the skills you need and also gives you better insight into what are the challenges you are likely to face in this profession and how to overcome them.

They also give you the chance to experience teamwork in the real world and to network with medical professionals from all over the world.

Medical placements in developing nations allow you to test-drive a career by offering you a valuable snapshot of what your future career could be like. They help you answer that all-important question – ‘Do you have what it takes for a career in medicine’? Better to find out before you join rather than spending all that time and money in medical school only to find out that too late that this is just not the career for you.

If you are sure that you have the passion, skills and aptitude for a career in this field but are just not sure about your specialty choices, a medical placement can help you make a more informed decision.