Otago Options for a nursing student to study medicine

Discussion in 'NZ General Discussion' started by Nurse101, May 13, 2017.

  1. Nurse101

    Nurse101 New Member

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    Hey everybody!
    I've read many posts on this website for months now and it seems you all have a lot of knowledge to share, especially in regards to the admission criteria for Otago and Auckland.
    I am 22 and currently in my second year of the Bachelor of Nursing through a polytechnic. I yearn every day to study medicine, but I am now realising just how difficult it is to meet the admission criteria in New Zealand.
    I cannot do HSFY as I have completed tertiary study. Disappointingly, I cannot gain entrance though graduate entry either as I am completing my nursing degree at a polytechnic and not a university (seems unfair if you ask me, we're all regulated by the Nursing Council anyway so all acquire the same education). I realise I can try through the 'other' category at Otago once I graduate and work for a few years. But are there any other options for this med hopeful?
    Thank you in advance!!
     
  2. Mana

    Mana Resident Medical Officer (UNDS MBBS) Administrar

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    There's always the possibility to study over the ditch in Australia (just do UMAT and use your GPA, or complete your degree and do the GAMSAT) - there is no limit to the number of times you are allowed to apply in Australia. However, this may very well prove to be quite an expensive route in the future owing to the proposed changes by the Australian Government in regards to who is eligible for a government funded (CSP) place - you may just have to hope that such changes aren't pushed through in the coming weeks.

    Just know that more than likely you will end up practicing in Australia following that, which may or may not be a desirable thing for you.
     
  3. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    You can't do HSFY having done tertiary study in the past, but you'd still be eligible to do Auckland's first year. Given that neither medical school will take polytech degrees for entry (which is more to do with the variability in academic requirements at the many polytechs in general than anything to do with nursing degrees), and the fact that Australia is pretty much not an option unless you're rich and unconcerned about your employment prospects, I'd say that doing first year at Auckland would be your best bet at the moment. Obviously there's the Otago alternative category as well, but as you've noted, your current level of experience wouldn't be competitive, so considering you only get one shot at that category it'd be best to leave that one at this stage.

    So yeah, first year at Auckland is your best bet. If that doesn't work out, there's always the graduate entry pathway at both schools if you feel up to completing an entire uni degree (which, on top of your nursing degree and then medical school, would mean a good 11 years at university).
     
  4. Nurse101

    Nurse101 New Member

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    What option is there for me in Australia by doing UMAT and using my GPA? All I know of is doing graduate entry using GAMSAT and GPA.
    I actually sat GAMSAT earlier this year so am waiting to see how I did on that, and whether I need to sit it again next year (highly likely ).

    In regards to paying in Australia, I purchased my first home this year with the money I saved managing a gym, personal training and doing support work in a home with the intellectually disabled. If Australia really was my only option, I could sell the house and use that money the pay for my fees there.

    What would be involved in completing my med study in Australia then coming back to NZ to practice? Why is this an unlikely scenario?

    Also, how many years of practicing as a nurse would put me in good stead to apply via the 'other' category?

    Thank you so much for your time, sorry for the endless questions!!
     
  5. Nurse101

    Nurse101 New Member

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    Oh I had kind of forgotten about first year at Auckland to be completely honest haha. How difficult are the core papers which they use your marks on to rank you off for interviews?

    What would make me a competitive entrant for the 'other' category at Otago? Would working for 3 years, plus my previous working experience be enough?

    Thank you for your time! I really appreciate it ☺️
     
  6. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    I would strongly advise against selling your house to go to Australia. As a kiwi, particularly if you end up having to take a full fee paying position with these new rules, you're not really guaranteed a job over there once you graduate. And there'd be next to no chance of being able to come back here, because we're already having trouble hiring all of our category one applicants (NZ citizens/PRs graduating from NZ med schools) as it is. Imagine giving up your house to pay for a degree you end up being unable to use.

    And to be honest, I don't even know if Australian universities would accept NZ polytech GPAs for admission anyway. That's something you'd want to check.

    As for Auckland's first year, I went through Otago's, so can't really comment on the subjective difficulty of the papers. I can't imagine they're that much different to ours though (i.e. not really that conceptually difficult, but the pressure of needing very high grades for med makes them feel very difficult).

    I don't know that much about the specifics of what's considered 'enough' for the Otago alternative category - I gather it's very much on a case-by-case basis. It's worth remembering that, in terms of the ratio of applicants to places, it's actually Otago's most competitive category. So I would imagine that you'd need to have done some pretty spectacular stuff in your proposed 3 years for that to be enough.

    Is there any way you could transfer into a university-based nursing degree, and then use that GPA to apply for med?
     
  7. rustyedges

    rustyedges Otago MB ChB Moderator

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    I think you best option would be to defer nursing for a year and try for Auckland undergrad. If you don't get in, you should be able to finish your last year of nursing, work for a few years, and if you are still wanting to, reapply to the Otago Other category once you have enough experience.
    I also haven't done the Auckland first year papers, but I imagine they aren't too difficult in terms of content as they are just first year science papers, but they would be difficult in terms of having to get within at least the top 10% or so of students.
     
  8. biom

    biom Regular Member

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    This is the thing I think..... there are students in Australia that get in the top few percent of their state... and/or have straight HDs in first year and.... don't get a med offer. I have seen figures quoted of 1 in 20 of the, already outstanding, students that apply being successful.

    You mention that you "yearn every day to study medicine". I suggest that a part of your decision making process should be whether you want to put yourself through the stress of applying and the very high risk of not being successful. Don't let these comments stop your thinking or dreaming.... but do consider them.
     
  9. Kiwiology

    Kiwiology MSO Lawyer

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    Forget polytech because it's not going to help you really.

    Your best option would be to complete the first year of either the BSc (Biomedical Science) or the BHSc and apply for medicine at Auckland. If you've only done polytech level study you'll probably find yourself in for a rough time because polytech and uni are quite different (having done both) so would strongly advise you to do some prep papers next semester and/or summer school through uni.

    Your other option would be to finish your polytech BN and then do a Masters or something then apply for Auckland med.

    I'm in First Year at the mo having done a previous uni degree (non-science) back in the day (10 years ago). The papers are not conceptually hard, chemistry does have some assumed knowledge (not only in chemistry but also the ability to rearrange equations and draw graphs which I have found quite hard) but the pressure to keep up get A or A+ grades in every test or lab is very draining. You have three out of your four core papers for med in semester one.

    Do some prep papers and do First Year. That's my advice. If you want to know anything about doing First Year ask away.
     
  10. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    You've said this a few times now, so I think it's worth pointing out that nobody is trying to imply that medicine is less competitive in Australia. Rusty wasn't even comparing the two, so I'm not sure what you're getting at. Just because someone says med entry here is difficult doesn't somehow imply that it's not difficult for highschoolers in Australia - they're just two entirely different things.

    As a New Zealand student applying with a GPA from one of our universities, Australia can sometimes be seen as the 'easier' option because of the favorable GPA translation. That doesn't mean anyone thinks Australia is 'less competitive' or something. A New Zealand uni student applying to Australian universities is in a different situation to an Australian highschooler.
     
  11. biom

    biom Regular Member

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    Apologies.... not at all the intention to compare the standards or competitiveness. I don't comment on NZ as I have no experience of it. I assume it is much the same as oz.

    The point I was trying to make is it is bloody hard to get an offer. In deciding to go for it, one needs to accept that most are unsuccessful.
     
  12. LMG!

    LMG! UTAS MBBS I Moderator

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    I realise most people have been advocating that you exhaust all your NZ options before (instead of?) contemplating Australia, but in the interest of completeness:

    If you have a tertiary GPA* (doesn't need to be a completed degree) there are a handful of Australian unis that will accept your application to their undergraduate Med courses (as opposed to the grad entry Med you access via GAMSAT).

    Specifically, these universities include UNSW (though they also use your high school rank, regardless of how long ago it was obtained, and you need a very high score to be competitive), JMP (UNE/UoN), UWS, JCU, Curtin (minimal spots), and UTAS (for one more year as we currently understand it). If you have rural status, that will help you at a few (probably not UNSW or UTAS, but the rest it might).

    This is the route I'm pursuing so if you have any questions, let me know, but it definitely sounds like the UoA first year option is the way to go initially.

    Good luck!

    * I'm not sure what it means that your GPA is from a Poly Tech. Happy to do some digging for you if you'd like more :)
     
  13. Kiwiology

    Kiwiology MSO Lawyer

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    "Polytech" is a slang term for what you in Australia call TAFE, it's not a university. The only reason this is the case is because our Education Act was amended many years ago to allow polytechs to grant Bachelor Degrees so there would be "competition" and "choice" and all that rubbish.

    The Schools of Medicine here (Auckland and Otago) do not accept these degrees for entry and I don't blame them. They're not as academically rigorous. For example, I had a look at the grading scale of the polytech I went to down home and an A+ is 75% (hahaha) whereas an A+ at Auckland Uni is 90%.
     
  14. LMG!

    LMG! UTAS MBBS I Moderator

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    Given the stance of NZ unis, I very much doubt they're accepted by Aus unis either, then. Though, does attending Poly Tech make you ineligible for HSFY, or is the OP excluded from this because they've done a single year of 'regular' Uni (or more) at some point, also?
     
  15. biom

    biom Regular Member

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    Out of interest, I had a look at the UNSW web-site and they explicitly say uni studies. I also learned that you can indeed get a Bachelors degree in a number of disciplines from a TAFE in Australia.
     
  16. Stuart

    Stuart Moderator Moderator

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    Hi,

    Unfortunately, I don't have time to write a proper reply but as far as I know you may still apply for HSFY depending on what kind of tertiary education you had.
    (@LMG: Polytechnic applicants may apply for HSFY).


    You still have the graduate category option open as well. You just need to complete a degree at a university after your nursing course. FYI, there are people who went down this pathway.

    I can answer any specifics of the Graduate Category for Auckland and Otago MBChB if you have any further questions.

    Good luck!
     
  17. frootloop

    frootloop Otago Trainee Intern (MBChB VI) Moderator

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    Not necessarily. If you've done a year or two of stuff that has some overlap with HSFY content (which nursing probably falls into), you're unlikely to be allowed into HSFY. They're really inconsistent with who they'll let in, though - I know of some people getting in with a surprising amount of overlap, and then a friend of mine was denied entry after one semester of maths and psychology (~0 overlap, but apparently had 'too much tertiary experience'). So it'd definitely be worth contacting them to find out rather than just assuming you won't be allowed in, because they're not necessarily as rigid or consistent as their official policy implies.
     
  18. Stuart

    Stuart Moderator Moderator

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    Hi,

    That's why I used the word "may". I have seen polytechnic people doing HSFY before, including nurses (registered). I have also seen cases where they were unsuccessful and then went down the graduate category pathway.

    I definitely agree with this. I would like to know what they have to say about it this time.

    -edit-
    @frootloop: Your friend's case was from quite a number of years ago now, right?
     
  19. Clav

    Clav Otago MB ChB II Gunner

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    To be honest I think this is your best bet and knowing that's what you want to do you can spend the years doing some volunteer work, developing your cv, gaining some good (difficult) work stories etc and breeze through the alternative entry category. My 2c
     
  20. Kiwiology

    Kiwiology MSO Lawyer

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    I disagree. Why put yourself through the expense and effort of a degree only to need to spend even more time and energy "developing" yourself up for some mythical pathway which might not even work? Lots of time, energy and money for something which might (probably) will yield nothing at the end of it given you can only apply once?

    This person is far better off completely forgetting they ever went to polytech and applying for HSFY at Otago, or doing one of the following instead:

    a) Applying fo First Year BHSc or BSc (Biomedical Science) at Auckland which could lead to either conjointed to a BNurs if not med, or
    b) Applying for the two-year Master of Nursing (pre-reg) at Otago if they are eligible and want the back up option of being a Nurse, then they'd get not only (i) a university qualification which they can use to apply for med, but also (ii) a nursing qualification if they wanted it as a backup.
     

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