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Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants

Ian Naga

Lurker
So... correct me if I am wrong here... but "Clinical Science" sounds very much like "Medical Science" to me, in terms of its content and its own inherent career pathways (or lack thereof without the addition of further study which could be accessed in undergrad entry courses) as well as the inherent cohort that it will attract (i.e. people who also want to do medicine therefore competing with you for GPA).
It is exactly same like the Griffith's 2 year B.MedSci. Each year we have people leaving this program (provisional medicine program) after completing BMedSci to go to graduate entry school in Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere due to family and other connection in those cities. Despite what Universities may or may not claim, you can't make a career out of this 2 year degree. This degree is not a terminal degree at all.It is what I call a "staging" degree. I thought this would have been clear to you. You are compelled to use it to get into a graduate entry professional program to make a career out of it.

There is no guarantee that the Master of Pharmacy will accept you after 2 years (it may even be that the Masters degree could exclude applicants who have not completed at least a 3 year degree)
Seriously, getting into Pharmacy program in any Uni is not difficult for somebody having an ATAR of 97-98. I wouldn't worry about a guarantee for a Pharmacy degree at all.

By end of 1st year with the actual GPA in hand, one can make an informed decision and even switch to another program if there is a need. The advantage with this approach is that:
1. It allows for one to change direction with a degree in hand. For example, if one decides Pharmacy is not what they wanted to do, they can easily switch to another course with transfer credits. They may not have to miss an year if the new program they are transferring to is in health field.
2. Not be tied into a 4 year pharmacy program plus additional 1 year of training which makes it a 5 year commitment. This could be expensive to OP if his/her main aim is GEM.
3. Pharmacy content may be too heavy to keep a high GPA which is important for GEM. As majority of Pharmacy programs are undergraduate entry in Sydney, it will not be big deal to get into it any time soley through ATAR.

and furthermore the 2 year accelerated degree is likely to not be accepted by most grad entry medical schools (I know for a fact that the university I interview for does NOT accept 2 year accelerated degree applicants into its MD program). On the other hand, if you did a 4 year pharmacy degree this would satisfy the prerequisite requirements to get into all the graduate entry degrees in the country (and you'd still be applying as non-standard to the undergrad unis in the meantime).
I don't know how this myth gets perpetuated. I have seen people go from 2 year accelerated degree (BMedSci) to GEM. Fact Checking: You claim "most". Can you substantiate this claim and give me a list of them. I beg to differ unless proven otherwise. I really would like to confirm this on the respective Uni website. I am happy to email them to check if BClinSci is not an acceptable degree for GEM. I know Griffith, USyd and UMelb are all fine with it. I know this for sure as friends have used this route.
Given this, I don't see any real advantage of the 2 year B. Clin Sci degree over pursuing a reasonable Plan B career pathway other than the very small chance that you would get into one of the most expensive medical degrees in Australia (ie Macquarie), and in doing so you'd forgo your eligibility for many of the grad entry medical schools, most of which require at least three years of full time study to be eligible; this far outweighs the small advantage you get at MQ.
Unsubstantiated. Please prove "most". I have mentioned the advantages of this route earlier.
Be careful of this advice above; it sounds very much like pitfall #2 to me.
I believe in fact checking. After you substantiate your "most" claim, I may have reason to re-visit. Till then, I stand by what I say. I am unable to find anywhere that says accelerated degrees are unacceptable. OP is unable to move away from Sydney and all Sydney based GEM Universities are OK I think.

Update 1: Ok , I did some further research and found this. It is not that 2 Year degrees are not accepted but they get you by insisting that you complete the degree by Dec 31st YYYY of the year of application. So that means if your final exam results are only out by Jan following year, you may be out of luck. You may have to waste an year. GAMSAT comes to my mind. Also starting another course like I recommended for OP (MPharm) comes to mind. It might be prudent to ask MQU when this degree is actually awarded. They may clarify. In the worst scenario, you still get to apply 1 year earlier in the 3rd year after leaving high school instead of 4th year after leaving high school (if BPharm was started).

Eg UQ
>>>>>
Your key degree must have been awarded by an accredited Australian university or overseas equivalent, and must have been completed by 31 December in the year of application.
>>>>>
Here is a quote from UNDS

The following degrees may also be used as qualifying degrees, subject to the conditions stated:
Accelerated degrees: An accelerated degree consists of three trimesters per year completed in two years. Applicants in their final year of an accelerated degree must be due to complete their degree by 31 December 2018. Where an accelerated degree is later completed as a standard duration undergraduate degree, the most recent three years of study will be used in the GPA calculation.
>>>>>>>>

UWA
>>>>>.
Bachelor’s degree holders or students who are in their first bachelor’s degree may be eligible to apply for graduate entry into the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and/or the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Students who are in progress of their first bachelor’s degree may apply during their final year, with any course offer being conditional on completion of all bachelor’s degree requirements by 31 December in the year prior to commencement in the MD or DMD.

>>>>

Update 2:
=======
Myth : 2 year accelerated degrees can not be used in "most" GEM schools.
I am happy to bust this myth. I can confirm that 2 year accelerated degrees can be used for GEM (Graduate Entry Medicine) and results would be available by Dec 31st deadline. I feel so sorry for the people who relied on this myth as a fact. A lot of opinions here are subjective. Sometimes even senior people (in this case a moderator) can also make mistakes. We are all humans. As a caution, I would add that before starting a degree, email the program director (of the accelerated program) as well as the medical school you would be applying to confirm that it is an acceptable degree.

Here is an email response from the program director of BClinSci at MQU which confirms that indeed this degree (BClinSci from MQU) will be available by Dec 31st deadline for GEM.

>>>>>>>
Thank you for your email.
Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Clinical Science will complete their studies before the 31st December, so this should not be an issue for you in terms of applying for GEM and being able to commence the year after completing this degree.
Please reach out if you have any further questions,
Cara

Dr Cara Hildreth
Senior Lecturer
Department of Biomedical Sciences | Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Ground Floor, F10A Building
2 Technology Place
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
T: +61 2 9850 2721 | F: +61 2 9812 3600
M: + 61 4## ### ### | mq.edu.au

>>>>>>

Fact checking is fairly easy. In this case, I found the name of the program director at MQU and emailed that person.

For other stuff like admission/interview scoring sheet/admission stats etc, you may have to use the freedom of information act to get them and it could take a few weeks but I am fascinated to see how it is being used and successfully done in the UK. E.g: See UQ for their RTI policy.
As an example, here is how interviews are marked at Queen's Belfast, obtained as a result of requesting this info under the freedom of information act.

 
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Georgian

Member
I'm not sure whether you would be able to pull this off but would you consider doing the DUS (Defense University Scholarship)? If I'm not mistaken, they do pay you a reasonable salary to be studying full time, with the caveat that you must work in the defense department for double your study years + 1. I'm also pretty sure you need to apply when you are in the first year of uni, in this case med. As I understand it (I have not researched it extensively), but some pros of this scheme is the money and the guaranteed job, however cons of it is that I'm not sure how well it plays with BMPs or whether you would like to be working in the military for up 9~ years.
I don't think I would really be interested in working for the military for that long to be honest, considering that's definitely not what I'm aiming for career-wise. However thanks for the suggestion! I'll definitely consider all of these options when applying later on this year
 

Georgian

Member
It is exactly same like the Griffith's 2 year B.MedSci. Each year we have people leaving this program (provisional medicine program) after completing BMedSci to go to graduate entry school in Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere due to family and other connection in those cities. Despite what Universities may or may not claim, you can't make a career out of this 2 year degree. This degree is not a terminal degree at all.It is what I call a "staging" degree. I thought this would have been clear to you. You are compelled to use it to get into a graduate entry professional program to make a career out of it.


Seriously, getting into Pharmacy program in any Uni is not difficult for somebody having an ATAR of 97-98. I wouldn't worry about a guarantee for a Pharmacy degree at all.

By end of 1st year with the actual GPA in hand, one can make an informed decision and even switch to another program if there is a need. The advantage with this approach is that:
1. It allows for one to change direction with a degree in hand. For example, if one decides Pharmacy is not what they wanted to do, they can easily switch to another course with transfer credits. They may not have to miss an year if the new program they are transferring to is in health field.
2. Not be tied into a 4 year pharmacy program plus additional 1 year of training which makes it a 5 year commitment. This could be expensive to OP if his/her main aim is GEM.
3. Pharmacy content may be too heavy to keep a high GPA which is important for GEM. As majority of Pharmacy programs are undergraduate entry in Sydney, it will not be big deal to get into it any time soley through ATAR.


I don't know how this myth gets perpetuated. I have seen people go from 2 year accelerated degree (BMedSci) to GEM. Fact Checking: You claim "most". Can you substantiate this claim and give me a list of them. I beg to differ unless proven otherwise. I really would like to confirm this on the respective Uni website. I am happy to email them to check if BClinSci is not an acceptable degree for GEM. I know Griffith, USyd and UMelb are all fine with it. I know this for sure as friends have used this route.

Unsubstantiated. Please prove "most". I have mentioned the advantages of this route earlier.

I believe in fact checking. After you substantiate your "most" claim, I may have reason to re-visit. Till then, I stand by what I say. I am unable to find anywhere that says accelerated degrees are unacceptable. OP is unable to move away from Sydney and all Sydney based GEM Universities are OK I think.

Update 1: Ok , I did some further research and found this. It is not that 2 Year degrees are not accepted but they get you by insisting that you complete the degree by Dec 31st YYYY of the year of application. So that means if your final exam results are only out by Jan following year, you may be out of luck. You may have to waste an year. GAMSAT comes to my mind. Also starting another course like I recommended for OP (MPharm) comes to mind. It might be prudent to ask MQU when this degree is actually awarded. They may clarify. In the worst scenario, you still get to apply 1 year earlier in the 3rd year after leaving high school instead of 4th year after leaving high school (if BPharm was started).

Eg UQ
>>>>>
Your key degree must have been awarded by an accredited Australian university or overseas equivalent, and must have been completed by 31 December in the year of application.
>>>>>
Here is a quote from UNDS

The following degrees may also be used as qualifying degrees, subject to the conditions stated:
Accelerated degrees: An accelerated degree consists of three trimesters per year completed in two years. Applicants in their final year of an accelerated degree must be due to complete their degree by 31 December 2018. Where an accelerated degree is later completed as a standard duration undergraduate degree, the most recent three years of study will be used in the GPA calculation.
>>>>>>>>

UWA
>>>>>.
Bachelor’s degree holders or students who are in their first bachelor’s degree may be eligible to apply for graduate entry into the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and/or the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Students who are in progress of their first bachelor’s degree may apply during their final year, with any course offer being conditional on completion of all bachelor’s degree requirements by 31 December in the year prior to commencement in the MD or DMD.

>>>>
Unfortunately moving out of state really isn't an option for me, so I'm hoping to get entry into med within NSW (hoping for either WSU or UNSW undergrad). Do you know whether UNSW or WSU accepts 2 year degrees?
 

Georgian

Member
So... correct me if I am wrong here... but "Clinical Science" sounds very much like "Medical Science" to me, in terms of its content and its own inherent career pathways (or lack thereof without the addition of further study which could be accessed in undergrad entry courses) as well as the inherent cohort that it will attract (i.e. people who also want to do medicine therefore competing with you for GPA). There is no guarantee that the Master of Pharmacy will accept you after 2 years (it may even be that the Masters degree could exclude applicants who have not completed at least a 3 year degree) and furthermore the 2 year accelerated degree is likely to not be accepted by most grad entry medical schools (I know for a fact that the university I interview for does NOT accept 2 year accelerated degree applicants into its MD program). On the other hand, if you did a 4 year pharmacy degree this would satisfy the prerequisite requirements to get into all the graduate entry degrees in the country (and you'd still be applying as non-standard to the undergrad unis in the meantime).

Given this, I don't see any real advantage of the 2 year B. Clin Sci degree over pursuing a reasonable Plan B career pathway other than the very small chance that you would get into one of the most expensive medical degrees in Australia (ie Macquarie), and in doing so you'd forgo your eligibility for many of the grad entry medical schools, most of which require at least three years of full time study to be eligible; this far outweighs the small advantage you get at MQ.

Be careful of this advice above; it sounds very much like pitfall #2 to me.
After asking around and also consulting with my school career counsellor, I've been advised against pursuing pharmacy as apparently there is a lack of jobs in Australia at the moment. Considering my own personal interests, I'm struggling to finalise a degree that wouldn't be incredibly competitive in terms of GPA but also useful for jobs later on if I don't end up getting non-standard/graduate entry (which is definitely a possibility). I know WSU only looks at the higher one of your ATAR or GPA, so I'm hoping my ATAR would be high enough (97-98) with a high UCAT to be considered without looking at my GPA next year (I'm also within the Western Sydney Region). In this event, would you perhaps recommend I started a Bachelor of Science at UNSW so that I would be exposed to a variety of different sciences, as at the moment I honestly don't know which degree I would be interested in doing for the long-term.
 

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LMG!

Moderator
Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
After asking around and also consulting with my school career counsellor, I've been advised against pursuing pharmacy as apparently there is a lack of jobs in Australia at the moment. Considering my own personal interests, I'm struggling to finalise a degree that wouldn't be incredibly competitive in terms of GPA but also useful for jobs later on if I don't end up getting non-standard/graduate entry (which is definitely a possibility). I know WSU only looks at the higher one of your ATAR or GPA, so I'm hoping my ATAR would be high enough (97-98) with a high UCAT to be considered without looking at my GPA next year (I'm also within the Western Sydney Region). In this event, would you perhaps recommend I started a Bachelor of Science at UNSW so that I would be exposed to a variety of different sciences, as at the moment I honestly don't know which degree I would be interested in doing for the long-term.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing BSc or BMedRes or BHealthSci (etc) degrees as long as you go into them with very realistic expectations. They aren’t career degrees so will absolutely require honours and postgraduate study and even then may not lead to secure employment (ie. post doc and research contracts will be short term). Plus you can use these undergrad degrees as ‘stepping stone’ degrees to career path post-grad degrees in things like Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy (for example).

The key really is to just be fully informed of the realities.

ETA: to give you a personal story as an example, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I started Uni so started off enrolled in a BArts/Law so I could explore my interests in Law, Journalism, and Psychology (this allowed me to do all three subjects at first year level). I hated first year Law and quickly realised Journalism had poor career prospects (as much as I loved it), so I switched to a straight BA with a double Major in Psychology from year 2, then did honours and post grad study in Clinical Psych. So the opportunity to do heaps of variety across my interests allowed me to solidify what I wanted to do longer term (at the time, Med wasn’t on my radar).
 
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Georgian

Member
There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing BSc or BMedRes or BHealthSci (etc) degrees as long as you go into them with very realistic expectations. They aren’t career degrees so will absolutely require honours and postgraduate study and even then may not lead to secure employment (ie. post doc and research contracts will be short term). Plus you can use these undergrad degrees as ‘stepping stone’ degrees to career path post-grad degrees in things like Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy (for example).

The key really is to just be fully informed of the realities.

ETA: to give you a personal story as an example, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I started Uni so started off enrolled in a BArts/Law so I could explore my interests in Law, Journalism, and Psychology (this allowed me to do all three subjects at first year level). I hated first year Law and quickly realised Journalism had poor career prospects (as much as I loved it), so I switched to a straight BA with a double Major in Psychology from year 2, then did honours and post grad study in Clinical Psych. So the opportunity to do heaps of variety across my interests allowed me to solidify what I wanted to do longer term (at the time, Med wasn’t on my radar).
I really like the idea of being able to try a variety of possible degree options through BSc, but my only concern is that if med doesn't work out would it just be a waste of time and money if I would have to do post-grad to secure any sort of job. And med is definitely still my number one priority, it's just that I'm trying to be smart with how I manage these alternate pathways into med so that if worst comes to worst I still have a decent degree with career opportunities. I guess I might just have to bite the bullet and try pharmacy/optometry, and if I don't enjoy them then change degrees (if I don't make the non-standard entry within the first year).
 

ChillX

Member
I really like the idea of being able to try a variety of possible degree options through BSc, but my only concern is that if med doesn't work out would it just be a waste of time and money if I would have to do post-grad to secure any sort of job. And med is definitely still my number one priority, it's just that I'm trying to be smart with how I manage these alternate pathways into med so that if worst comes to worst I still have a decent degree with career opportunities. I guess I might just have to bite the bullet and try pharmacy/optometry, and if I don't enjoy them then change degrees (if I don't make the non-standard entry within the first year).
Wow looks like I'm in a very similar situation to you. Estimated ATAR of around 98-99, but a low UCAT percentile due to being sick (even though was consistently getting ~3000s with Medify and Medentry. Aah, I too am looking for backup courses, and currently, have USYD Diagnostic Radiography as my 4th preference. Most of the courses with biochem/medical components have little to no career prospects, unfortunately.
 

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Hi,

It was mentioned here that it isn't recommended to do medicine overseas as an Australian citizen. Is this still the case for doing Medicine at Oxford or Cambridge in the UK, or an Ivy League (postgrad)? Would it still be difficult to get an internship?

Thanks :)
 

TKAO

crossed fingers for ATAR
Gold Star Winner
Hi,

It was mentioned here that it isn't recommended to do medicine overseas as an Australian citizen. Is this still the case for doing Medicine at Oxford or Cambridge in the UK, or an Ivy League (postgrad)? Would it still be difficult to get an internship?

Thanks :)
Well first step to doing that is to actually get in first. Remember that oxbridge and the ivy leagues are elite universities, while the medicine universities in Australia are all on relatively the same level. If you fail to get into Australian universities, I'd very much doubt getting in to those universities is possible either - unless you donate a building XD. But tl;dr, might help a little but not that much. These countries have their own internships to sort out and as an international student you wouldn't be very high up on their lists. Then if you choose to come back, you would be placed into a pool from 'competent authorities' but you would still need to do a fair bit of work to get a job. It is definitely easier than coming from a country like India or anything else, but I would strongly recommend that you don't do that. You'll be paying money out your nose with a chance that you have nothing to show for it. Look here for more information for the competent authority pathway: Medical Board of Australia - Competent Authority pathway
 
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chinaski

Regular Member
Hi,

It was mentioned here that it isn't recommended to do medicine overseas as an Australian citizen. Is this still the case for doing Medicine at Oxford or Cambridge in the UK, or an Ivy League (postgrad)? Would it still be difficult to get an internship?

Thanks :)
Yes. Graduates from Ivy League, Oxbridge and the Hollywood Upstairs Medical School are all in the same boat when it comes to internship allocation in Australia - prestige of your alma mater doesn't factor in. An IMG is an IMG is an IMG in this setting.
 
Well first step to doing that is to actually get in first. Remember that oxbridge and the ivy leagues are elite universities, while the medicine universities in Australia are all on relatively the same level. If you fail to get into Australian universities, I'd very much doubt getting in to those universities is possible either - unless you donate a building XD. But tl;dr, might help a little but not that much. These countries have their own internships to sort out and as an international student you wouldn't be very high up on their lists. Then if you choose to come back, you would be placed into a pool from 'competent authorities' but you would still need to do a fair bit of work to get a job. It is definitely easier than coming from a country like India or anything else, but I would strongly recommend that you don't do that. You'll be paying money out your nose with a chance that you have nothing to show for it. Look here for more information for the competent authority pathway: Medical Board of Australia - Competent Authority pathway
Yes. Graduates from Ivy League, Oxbridge and the Hollywood Upstairs Medical School are all in the same boat when it comes to internship allocation in Australia - prestige of your alma mater doesn't factor in. An IMG is an IMG is an IMG in this setting.
I see... yeah I have no idea whether or not to apply for any universities overseas but I guess if I want to study Medicine, it would be better to stay in Australia.
 

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chinaski

Regular Member
I see... yeah I have no idea whether or not to apply for any universities overseas but I guess if I want to study Medicine, it would be better to stay in Australia.
If you want to just study medicine, you can study it anywhere you want. But yes, if you want to practice medicine in Australia, go to an Australian university (as has already been explained in this thread, I believe).
 

stargirl1

Member
for those in uni and trying for med, I'm a year 12 student who just missed out on an interview for JMP, and am hoping my ATAR will get me some other interviews (I have applied everywhere). If I don't get accepted this year, what's your honest advice on what course I should do next year? I've read a lot about how biomedicine isn't worth (I'm in Melb so would go to UOM) - and I'm considering pharmacy but the prospects of that job aren't great (underpaid etc plus my mum is a pharmacist and discourages it). Feeling really unsure and would love some advice from people who may have gone through what I am going through. Thank you all so much
 

MrWhippe

Member
for those in uni and trying for med, I'm a year 12 student who just missed out on an interview for JMP, and am hoping my ATAR will get me some other interviews (I have applied everywhere). If I don't get accepted this year, what's your honest advice on what course I should do next year? I've read a lot about how biomedicine isn't worth (I'm in Melb so would go to UOM) - and I'm considering pharmacy but the prospects of that job aren't great (underpaid etc plus my mum is a pharmacist and discourages it). Feeling really unsure and would love some advice from people who may have gone through what I am going through. Thank you all so much
Having been where you are multiple times now, finding a good career and course counsellor is my first advice. Whilst the good people of MSO are incredibly learned, you really should seek professional advice. It might cost ~$100-200, but the clarity it will provide you, and potential stress and time it may save in the long run, will make it one of the most prudent investments you can make.

I would also really suggest you read this thread: Common Pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants.

Though if you do choose to commence a degree next year, my only advice would be to choose something you think you'd enjoy, and ideally one that has clearly defined job prospects and demand.
 
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for those in uni and trying for med, I'm a year 12 student who just missed out on an interview for JMP, and am hoping my ATAR will get me some other interviews (I have applied everywhere). If I don't get accepted this year, what's your honest advice on what course I should do next year? I've read a lot about how biomedicine isn't worth (I'm in Melb so would go to UOM) - and I'm considering pharmacy but the prospects of that job aren't great (underpaid etc plus my mum is a pharmacist and discourages it). Feeling really unsure and would love some advice from people who may have gone through what I am going through. Thank you all so much
Honestly, I just chose a degree that interested me most and gave me a job out of it, physiotherapy might be a good option if you get a high enough atar, same as optometry etc. It is best to chose what you are interested in first then go for job prospects after that because, you are wanting to get a high GPA and study for the ucat. But the only way this will be possible realistically is if you enjoy your uni work so it doesn't feel painful. Doing biomed doesn't give the benefits it suggests. Essentially do what you like and put in the effort and if it is meant to be then you will get there. Most post-grad med places don't require prerequisite subjects only the GAMSAT. So any course is doable.
 

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Having been where you are multiple times now, finding a good career and course counsellor is my first advice. It might cost ~$100-200, but the clarity it will provide you, and potential stress and time it may save in the long run, will make it one of the most prudent investments you can make.
I second this idea. I have a free service at uni, this time last year I went to see a careers counsellor, I needed the straightforward approach and genuine encouragement. If you told me last year I would be sitting on 2/2 interviews from my application I wouldn’t have believed you.
 
Having been where you are multiple times now, finding a good career and course counsellor is my first advice. Whilst the good people of MSO are incredibly learned, you really should seek professional advice. It might cost ~$100-200, but the clarity it will provide you, and potential stress and time it may save in the long run, will make it one of the most prudent investments you can make.

I would also really suggest you read this thread: Common Pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants.

Though if you do choose to commence a degree next year, my only advice would be to choose something you think you'd enjoy, and ideally one that has clearly defined job prospects and demand.
Hi MrWhippe ,
I tried to find a good career advisor 2-3 months ago . Do you have any suggestions. How do I find one. any information is greatly appreciated.
 

CristinaYang

Pick me, choose me...for med
Actually, it’s supposed to address the shortage of doctors in rural and remote regions.

The (no doubt minimal) effect it has on metro areas is just a by-product.
Yep sorry that’s where I was going but I kinda lost my train of thought there. How do they (the government) know that BMPs will be effective in the long term? Like after the ROS is up does the government just assume that those doctors might decide to work rurally?
 

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