A medical school is a tertiary educational institution—or part of such an institution—that teaches medicine. In addition to a medical degree program, some medical schools offer programs leading to a Master's Degree, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Bachelor/Doctor of Medicine (MBBS, BMed, MDCM, MD, MBChB, etc.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO-USA), or other post-secondary education. Many medical schools also offer a Physician Assistant/Associate program. Medical schools can also employ medical researchers and operate hospitals. Medical schools mainly teach subjects such as human anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, immunology, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesiology, internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, psychiatry, genetics, and pathology. Also, they usually include basic knowledge in many medical specialties, as well as some degree of interdisciplinary medical fields such as medical ethics.
The entry criteria, structure, teaching methodology and nature of medical programs offered at medical schools vary considerably around the world. Medical schools are often highly competitive, using standardized entrance examinations to narrow the selection criteria for candidates (e.g. GAMSAT, MCAT, UMAT, NMAT, BMAT, UKCAT and many others).
In many Asian countries, in India, China and others, the study of medicine is completed as an undergraduate degree not requiring prerequisite undergraduate coursework. However, an increasing number of places are emerging for graduate entrants (i.e. in the UK, Ireland and Australia) moving medical education closer to the US/Canadian model. In other countries (e.g. the USA, Canada), medical degrees are second entry degrees, and require at least several years of previous study at the university level. Students wanting to enter medical school often complete a bachelors degree with a (pre-medical/medical science) curriculum including physics, chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, pathology, anatomy and physiology, and human biology. However, many medical schools will accept students of varying academic background so long as they complete the required prerequisite coursework and have a university degree, and some students obtain Master and PhD credentials before entering medical school.
Although medical schools confer upon graduates a medical degree (BMBS, MBBS, MBChB, MD, DO, MDCM, BMed, etc.), a doctor typically may not legally practice medicine until licensed by the local government authority. Licensing may also require passing a test, undergoing a criminal background check, checking references, and paying a fee. Medical schools are regulated by each country and may appear on the WHO Directory of Medical Schools or the FAIMER International Medical Education Directory.
Admission to medical school in Uganda requires the candidate to have attained the pre-requisite minimum score on the A-level national examinations leading to the award of the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education or UACE, administered by the Uganda National Examination Board. Proficiency in Biology or Zoology, Chemistry and Physics at A-level standards are requirements for entry into Ugandan medical schools.
Training leading to the award of the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) lasts five (5) years, if there are no re-takes.
- The first year is spent on the Basic Sciences i.e. Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry.
- The second year is devoted to Histology, Pathology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Psychology and Introductory Psychiatry.
- The third year is spent rotating through the four major clinical disciplines of Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- The fourth year is devoted to Public Health (including community health projects) and the surgical specialties of Otolaryngology, Orthopedics, Urology, Neurosurgery and Ophthalmology. Clinical Psychiatry, Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine are also covered.
- The fifth year is spent rotating through the four major clinical disciplines, similar to the third year.
There is a major examination after the first year. If the candidate does not pass, the candidate will repeat first year. Another major examination is given after second year. A failing candidate will have to repeat second year. After each clinical rotation, the candidate is examined and failing candidates are required to repeat that rotation during the next vacation period.
The last major examination is the final 5th Year MBChB examination. This is divided into three parts:
- A written Examination in each of the following disciplines: Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology
- A bedside clinical examination with living patients, involving a "long case" and a series of "short cases" in each of the four specialties.
- An oral examination (also called a "viva"), before two clinical examiners, in each of the four subjects.
The final year clinical examinations in each of the four clinical disciplines are attended by an "External Examiner", often a professor of International or Regional repute, from a foreign medical school. The examiners arrange it so that the excelling students and those who are on the verge of failing are seen by the External Examiner in at least one of the clinical face-to-face encounters. So if you are a candidate and you go before the "External Examiner", it usually means that you are either excelling in your field or you are on the verge of failing that subject.
After successfully passing the final 5th year examinations, one is awarded the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB). A year of internship in a hospital designated for that purpose, under the supervision of a specialist in that discipline is required before an unrestricted license to practice medicine and surgery is granted by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council.
Six months of the internship must be spent in a medical discipline (either Internal Medicine or Pediatrics) and another six months in a surgical discipline (either Surgery or Obstetrics and Gynecology). Uganda has fifteen (16) hospitals, designated as "Internship Hospitals". These include the thirteen (13) Regional Referral Hospitals, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Mengo Hospital, [Rubaga Hospital] and St Francis Hospital Nsambya. There must be a specialist in the required field willing to supervise the intern at the particular hospital.
A person accepted into a medical school and enrolled in an educational program in medicine, with the goal of becoming a medical doctor, is referred to as a medical student or student doctor. Medical students are generally considered to be at the earliest stage of the medical career pathway. In some locations they are required to be registered with a government body.
Medical students typically engage in both basic science and practical clinical coursework during their tenure in medical school. Course structure and length vary greatly among countries (see above).
Upon completion of medical school in the United States, students transition into residency programs through the National Resident Match Program (NRMP). Each year, approximately 16,000 US medical school students participate in the residency match. An additional 18,000 independent applicants—former graduates of US medical schools, US osteopathic students, US podiatry students, Canadian students, and graduates of foreign medical schools—compete for the approximately 25,000 available residency positions.
Bullying in the medical profession is common, particularly of student or trainee doctors. It is thought that this is at least in part an outcome of conservative traditional hierarchical structures and teaching methods in the medical profession which may result in a bullying cycle.
According to Field, bullies are attracted to the caring professions, such as medicine, by the opportunities to exercise power over vulnerable clients and over vulnerable employees.
Medical students, perhaps being vulnerable because of their relatively low status in health care settings, commonly experience verbal abuse, humiliation and harassment (nonsexual or sexual). Discrimination based on gender and race are less common.
In one study, around 35% of medical students reported having been bullied. Around one in four of the 1,000 students questioned said they had been bullied by a doctor, while one in six had been bullied by a nurse. Manifestations of bullying include:
- being humiliated by teachers in front of patients
- been victimised for not having come from a "medical family"
- being put under pressure to carry out a procedure without supervision.
One study showed that the medical faculty was the faculty in with the students were most commonly mistreated.