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Mastering medicine

Posted on Monday, August 21, 2017

Overseas education counsellor Pratibha Jain on the prerequisites of studying medicine abroad and upcoming specialisations in the field

The study of medicine is incorporating new elements that improve diagnosis and effectiveness of therapies. Most medical programmes in developed countries like the US, UK, Canada and Australia are introducing students to technologies like artificial intelligence, sensitive wearable devices that transmit pathological conditions to monitors and robotic surgeries. Students at international universities are now trained in 3D printing and medical modelling which have revolutionised the field of surgeries. They use digital health assistants and online medical applications to improve access to quality healthcare for all.

Medical studies in the US and Canada can be pursued after a four-year Bachelor’s degree. In other countries like the UK, Europe, Australia, Russia, China, Malaysia, Mauritius and Ireland, students may join UG medical programmes upon completion of high school provided they score well in specific science courses like biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry. Some countries conduct their own medical entrance test, followed by an interview. It is imperative for students to confirm the entry criteria and whether the medical degree is recognised by medical boards like the Medical Council of India as well as by international entities such as Who, Imed and European Union.
 
In the US medical system, MD (Doctor of Medicine) is followed by a period of residency. Those opting for a post-graduation in medicine in the US take qualifying entrance tests like the USMLE step one and the USMLE step two. Most universities in the UK accept the Indian MBBS degree for entry to PG programmes after the PLAB exam and a minimum of two-year work experience excluding the internship period.
 
Some of the upcoming specialisations that students pursuing their medical degree abroad can consider are: 
 
Physical therapist 
A course specialising in this field trains students to diagnose and treat patients facing a wide array of physical challenges, including sports-related injuries or disabilities. They help restore function and mobility to injured limbs or other parts of the body, relieve pain and prevent or limit the effects of disabilities caused by an accident or disease. 
 
Exercise physiologist
This specialisation focuses on the cardiovascular system and helps rehabilitate people who suffer from heart problems or other chronic diseases. Exercise physiologists also develop customised exercise plans and offer sports training guidance and counselling.

Kinesiotherapist 
This field of medicine supervises exercise programmes to help people regain their strength and mobility following an injury or illness. Students learn to develop therapeutic exercise plans, including aquatic exercise, and help people re-learn how to walk or use a prosthetic limb. 
  
Geriatric medicine 
This field of medicine is gaining importance due to an increase in the life expectancy of the global population. A degree in geriatric medicine trains healthcare professionals to look after the special needs of older people.

Genetic medicine 
Genetic medicine trains students to collect and interpret DNA information to prevent genetic diseases in the next generation. This field focuses on preventing diseases and disabilities like deafness, blindness, Alzheimer’s, etc. Students are taught to use DNA knowledge as a critical component for prevention of many types of diseases as well as to improve the performance, health and safety of the population.
 
Sports medicine and rehabilitation 
Students in the field of sports medicine are trained to measure, interpret and improve athletic performance. Virtual reality devices offer a way of monitoring how the patient may perform under varied conditions of physical and mental stress. In addition, students learn to focus on the physiological needs of a patient. Right from expertise to treating sports related injuries, students explore ways to help the rehabilitation of stroke or spinal cord injury patients. 

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