29 May, 2016
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As the middle of the year quickly falls upon us, with the results of months of GAMSAT® Exam preparation being released and medical school interview offers just around the corner, we here at GradReady believe it is an appropriate time to give you an insight into the medical profession that you will be entering. All of you will most likely be aware that entry into medical school is an exceptionally competitive process; thousands of hopeful students sit the GAMSAT® Exam, only the very top GAMSAT® Exam scores are considered for interviews, and only a comparative handful of hopefuls make it into medical school next year.
Although it may seem like I am being a bearer of bad news, it unfortunately doesn’t get much easier when you finally make it out of medical school. I tell you this, after reading a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, not to scare or intimidate anyone – but to ensure you are all fully informed, and can plan for success.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has detailed how almost 30,000 extra medical practitioners have been added to the system over the past decade, as successive governments sought to address the shortages and maldistribution of doctors across the country. However, with all good intentions aside, it appears that the government (though working with the Colleges) have allowed more doctors in some specialties than is required, yet less in others. We also still have a serious problem with ongoing shortages in regional and remote areas and a system still reliant on overseas graduates.
On top of these workforce issues, it has been documented that intern training is structured in such a way that new doctors are generally having little ‘hands-on’ experience with patients, and no strong concept of what is required of them as more senior clinicians.
With the recent abolition of Health Workforce Australia, it has even been more difficult for the government to correct these workforce issues, and new doctors now face multiple bottlenecks when applying for more senior positions. Whilst some shortages in doctors still exist in general practice (especially rurally) and psychiatry, it is getting exceedingly difficult to enter a lot of the other specialties. For example, dermatology regularly accepts 1-6 candidates per year for their training program across the whole country, and surgical specialties all have minimal intakes compared to the number of applicants.
It is quite amazing that 20-30 years ago, one could simply put his/her hand up and be accepted onto a surgical training program, or a physician specialty pathway. However, due to the extremely limited consultant opportunities available, and a lack of funding for training places across the country, junior doctors find it excessively difficult to get into their chosen career path.
Even after all of this GAMSAT® Exam preparation, GAMSAT® Exam practice, and medical school interview preparation, there are still many more things that can be done in medical school to prepare you for your career! Look out for other articles from this blog, addressing the activities you can undertake in medical school to give you this best opportunity to get where you are going – it’s a competitive world out there, and we are delighted to prepare you as much as possible for whatever challenges you face!
From your friendly GAMSAT® Exam tutor,