Perhaps one of the most rigorous and most emotionally draining courses you can study in South Africa is Medicine. The MBCHB in South Africa is a 6 year course (some universities in South Africa might offer longer or shorter courses), with an additional 2 years of compulsory internship and an additional 1 or 2 years of community service (also known as the Zuma year(s)). Medicine is linked to the understanding of how the human body functions – form the molecular level up to the networks of nervous systems that shoot electrical impulses throughout the body. The long, winding and tumultuous MBCHB road can lead to many destinations, one of which is the General Practioner (GP or House Doctor) – the doctor who doesn’t just merely diagnose runny noses. Some permutations of the Medicine degree (after another few years of specialisation) can lead to Neuro Surgeons (brain doctors), Chiropractors (doctors who can pop your dislocated shoulder back into place) and Cardiologists (heart doctors). The list goes on:
- Oncologists treat your cancer
- Paediatricians look after your babies and children
- Radiologists investigates your broken bones with x-rays
- Urologists looks after your bladder
- Gynecologists secure your bloodline
The type of person thrives that in Medicine:
You will become an even stronger and more resilient person during your studies. Not only is the course grueling and time consuming, the working hours are erratic and your life might, at times, feel like a roller coaster. You build up a mental toughness during your studies and an emotional toughness during your internship and Zuma years where you mostly work in South African public hospitals and clinics.
What you’ll learn in Medicine:
Medicine will teach you about the various intricacies of human body. It will teach you how the different organs of the human body works. It will teach you the functions of the all the various layers of the human. Blood. Bones. Nervous systems. You will also learn how these various parts of the human body interact with each other and how to broadly interpret what is “normal” and what isn’t “normal” for the human body.
You will learn how to identify issues with the human body and how to fix the human body when things go wrong. Got shot in the shoulder? Call a doctor. Broke your arm? Call a doctor. Giving birth? Call a doctor. Got an unexplainable pain in your stomach? Call a doctor.
The doctor is literally the Sherlock Holmes of the human body.
Where you could study Medicine:
There are various different universities in South Africa where you can study medicine. Click on the links below to find out more:
- University of Cape Town
- University of Free State
- University of Kwazulu-Natal
- University of Pretoria
- University of Stellenbosch
- University of Witwatersrand (Wits)
- Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
- Walter Sisulu University
Where you could (and have to) work with your Medicine degree:
- After graduation, you will have to do your internship for 2 years, which is usually carried out in a South African public hospital.
- After your 2 years of internship, you will have to do 1 or 2 years of community service (also known as the “Zuma” year).
- After those extra 3 to 4 years of internship and community service following your graduation, you can enter the private sector or study further to become a specialised doctor.
Subjects you need at school to study Medicine:
A recap of Medicine:
- Biology and the human body
- Saving lives
- Emotionally draining, but very rewarding
- Financially rewarding
Medicine is a challenging but rewarding career, and will push yourself to your limits as you gain understanding of the human body. You will learn how things can go wrong in the human body. You will learn how to fix things that go wrong in the human body. You will learn how to become emotionally strong as you learn how to make decisions that could save lives. South Africa needs all the doctors it can take.