If you have considered medicine as your course of study, then you may already be aware of the time commitment you are making to reach your end goal. You are already on your way with the preparations you are making to do well on the HPAT-Ireland. A course of study in medicine plus required training to clear you for final practice may take 4 to 6 years. It all depends on the initial program you enter, regular or accelerated, if you choose an intercalated degree, and whether or not you choose to specialize beyond basic medical training.
If you enter medical school straight from secondary school, then your medical degree will most likely take 5 to 6 years, depending on the school you attend. You will do mostly class and lab studies in the first year, and will find yourself with more practical work and training as years 2 through 4 pass. But the studying and training does not stop there. You will find yourself applying for and entering training in your last year of medical school. This is where the culmination of all you have learned comes to fruition and is evaluated in a real world setting. You will spend this final year and one year after graduation as an intern. Once you have completed this internship, you will register with the Irish Medical Council as a legitimate doctor who can now practice.
Should you decide immediately, or after a few years of practice, that you want to specialize in a particular branch of medicine, such as paediatrics, cardiology, emergency medicine, infectious disease, etc., then you will want to get training in this by applying for and attending studies at hospitals or through postgraduate courses.
The road to a successful career in medicine is a long one, but one with many rewards should you choose to pursue it!
Go into the Interview Ready to Impress
Nothing is worse than not knowing much about the medical school you plan on attending when asked in an interview. You do not want to answer with “I am interested in your school because…um…. it is affordable and it’s close to home?”. Interviewers at prospective schools will want to know just how much research you have done on their school when you walk in for an interview. Impress them by really knowing about this place. Things to know would be: how old is the school, how long have they had a pharmacy program, internships available, class size, and more. If you are coming from outside Ireland, get to know Ireland or have interesting questions ready to ask.
Going in as an informed candidate shows that you are genuinely interested just by the fact that you have taken the time to learn about the school. It shows you care about what you want to do. Something the schools will hold in high regard. Know about research they are doing. Know about the different programmes and which ones you may be interested in. Expressing interest shows that you are willing to put effort into things, a strong trait to market you. Find out what you are interested in doing and maybe ask questions about it, if given the chance to do so. Nothing could be better than having a very interactive interview. It may spark new and interesting conversation that the interviewer may otherwise not have considered.
Knowing about the interview process will also keep you prepared for how many people you’ll talk to, the format…and more. Keeping well informed of how your time will flow at the school will keep you calm and collected and at ease – as much as can be possible – during the interview process. Show that you really want to be there, and this will be a great closure to the amazing package that got you to the interview table.