There are a few professions regarded as noble professions. One of them is being a health practitioner.
The top dog amongst all the professions in the health sector is being a medical doctor.
In Nigeria, you can’t be a medical doctor without being a house officer.
Housemanship is a one-year internship program which every doctor is supposed to undergo before they can start practising full time. This internship is supposed to happen in a government-owned hospital or clinic. It lasts for one year.
Housemanship can be very difficult to get. This is because there aren’t enough spaces for student doctors in government hospitals. This is for two major reasons; there’s a dearth of health facilities in the country and a lot of people want to become medical doctors.
Although it is a very specialized field of study, it is in very high demand. The health of the people of a country is very important. Being a medical doctor in Nigeria is almost an assurance that one would, at least, live an okay life. And not just that, it also improves one’s chances of working abroad. Nigerian doctors are well sought after in many parts of the world.
How Much Do Doctors Get During Internship in Government Hospitals
As earlier said housemen are just medical students doing their internship in a government hospital. The housemanship lasts for a year and it is mandatory that a medical student carries this out, otherwise, his medical license will be revoked and he’ll have to write another exam.
This one work/training is not done free of charge. The government pays them.
Usually, the pay for housemanship is somewhere between N140,000 and N180,000, depending on the hospital in question. Those who work in state hospitals earn lesser than those who work in federal government hospitals. Remuneration is even better for those who work in teaching hospitals. As one climbs and becomes a resident doctor, there’s an increase in salary, up until the person becomes a consultant.
- House officer – N140,000 – N180,000
- Resident doctor N190,000 – N250,000
- Medical officer – N180,000 – N500,000 (Medical officers are usually doctors in charge of the administrative duties in a hospital) They can rise to become the CMD i.e. Chief Medical Director
- Consultant – N600,000 – N800,000
By the time one becomes the CMD of a federal government establishment, the salary will rise to about N1,000,000.
As a doctor specializes and gets better at what he or she does, he is able to earn more money.
The amount paid in private hospitals and government hospitals is quite different. Most government hospitals pay better than a private hospital. There are however exceptions to the rules.
Salary of a Nigerian Doctor in Private Hospitals
Most doctors prefer to work in government medical centres for obvious reasons. Not just for the financial gains but also because it is easier to increase in ranks.
- Medical officers N60,000 – N100,000
- Resident doctors N120,000 – N250,000
- Consultant N400,000 – N800,000
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How to Become a Medical Doctor in Nigeria
Medicine and Surgery is one of the most sought-after professions in the country. However, out of every 48 that apply, only 1 gets admitted into a university to study the course. It is a very competitive course of study. To be eligible to study medicine in any Nigerian university, you must have studied the natural sciences in your O-levels. Those who did commerce or arts will not be able to study medicine.
To gain admission to study medicine you need to have at least a credit pass in the following subjects; Mathematics, English, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Next will be to obtain UTME form and apply.
In your exams, you need to have a very high score due to the high competition. Scoring 270 in your UTME and same range in your Post UTME should guaranty you a place in most medical schools in Nigeria. If you can afford to go to a private school, you don’t need to score very high, however, you’d have to pay a lot of money for your tuition.
After admission, you’d spend the next 6 years of your life studying to become a doctor. And many more years to become a specialist in certain fields.
In some countries, you need to get a bachelor’s degree before going to a Medical school. After getting a bachelor’s degree in any health-related course such as biochemistry, biology, anatomy and the likes, you can then apply to a medical school. This is, however, a slower way to get into medical school as you’d need to have finished four years of bachelor’s degree and you’d still start from 300 level in medical school.
Not everyone makes it out of medical school. Some are dropped to other “lesser” departments. So, if you graduate from medical school to take your Hippocratic Oath, you have actually achieved something great. And as long as you do your job well, there’ll always be something for you to do.
After your 6th year in medical school and after you’ve passed your final examination, you’ll proceed for housemanship before the compulsory one-year youth service. After that, you’ll apply for residency in a government hospital and can later become a consultant.
Being a medical practitioner is a life of learning. Medical students study as hard as they can, all the time. It’s a life and death matter, therefore, to keep on learning is very important. Being a medical doctor is not proof against poverty, especially in Nigeria where it can be difficult getting a place for housemanship and residency and doctors are not properly taken care of.
However, the problems in the Nigerian medical sector shouldn’t discourage you. If you want to become a doctor, go right ahead and do it. There are not many jobs that are as satisfying as saving lives.
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