In this article, we have provided an answer to the question “Can a Medical Laboratory Scientist Become a Medical Doctor in Nigeria?” I know a lot of people have been asking this question to know if a graduate of Medical Laboratory Science can become a Medical Doctor. This article, as you read to the end, contains all the necessary information you may need.
Are you a Medical Laboratory Scientist or still studying Medical Laboratory Science and dreaming of becoming a Medical Doctor in Nigeria? Then this article is for you. But before we proceed, it’s important to know some of the differences and duties of a Medical Laboratory Scientist and a Medical Doctor.
What is the work of a Medical Doctor?
Medical doctors, also known as allopathic physicians, use a biological approach to healing and are the most familiar type of doctor to people in this country. In Nigeria, students who want to study medicine must first complete a five- or six-year undergraduate medical program, which leads to the award of a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree. Medical doctors are in high demand in various areas and can work in different specialties, such as anesthesiology, family and general medicine, general pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology, and surgery. Becoming a medical doctor requires significant dedication and ambition, but it is a valuable investment that pays off in the long run.
Physicians have a range of responsibilities, including diagnosing and assessing illnesses and conditions, prescribing therapies and medications, educating patients about their health, monitoring patient progress, and maintaining accurate records. They also work as administrators at medical centers and may engage in medical research.
Becoming a medical doctor requires a high level of scientific acumen, with a focus on human sciences such as biochemistry, biology, and anatomy during undergraduate studies. Along with science, physicians need excellent communication and patient care skills to sensitively and effectively communicate with patients from all walks of life. Confidence, empathy, respect, and thoroughness are essential skills that fall under patient care and are highly valued by patients, in addition to accurate and knowledgeable diagnosis and treatment.
What does a Medical Laboratory Scientist do?
A medical laboratory scientist, also known as a medical technologist or clinical laboratory scientist, performs scientific testing on biological specimens using sophisticated equipment like microscopes. They analyze patient samples and report results to physicians, which plays an important role in identifying and treating medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The results of these tests often determine a patient’s diagnosis, treatment, hospital admission, and discharge.
In Nigeria, the duration required to obtain a university degree in Medical Laboratory Science typically takes four years of full-time study. The program leads to a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (BMLS) degree, while it takes six years to study for a Doctor of Medical Laboratory Science (DMLS) degree.
Medical laboratory scientists are closely involved with physicians and medical laboratory technicians in diagnosing and monitoring diseases and the effectiveness of therapies. They are trained in various areas such as microbiology, chemistry, hematology, immunology, transfusion medicine, toxicology, and molecular diagnostics. Their responsibilities include examining and analyzing blood, body fluids, tissues, and cells; relaying test results to physicians; cross-matching blood for transfusions; monitoring patient outcomes; using high-precision lab equipment; performing differential cell counts; establishing quality assurance programs; and supervising the work of medical laboratory technicians.
However, we have just distinguished between the two, including the duration of training and duties of Medical laboratory Scientist and Medical doctor. Let’s now look into the main reason for this article.
Can a Medical Laboratory Scientist Become a Medical Doctor?
Yes, it is possible for a Medical Laboratory Scientist to become a Medical Doctor in Nigeria, but it typically requires several years of additional education and training.
In Nigeria, to become a Medical Doctor, one must first obtain a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree from a recognized medical school. This typically involves completing a 6-year undergraduate medical program, which includes both classroom and clinical training.
If a Medical Laboratory Scientist wishes to become a Medical Doctor, they would need to complete the MBBS degree as a first step. This would involve applying to a medical school, completing the required coursework and clinical rotations, and passing the necessary exams.
Step-by-step procedure to become a Medical Doctor as a Medical Laboratory Scientist
For a Medical Laboratory Scientist to become a Medical Doctor, here’s the step to follow:
Step 1: Complete Secondary Education
To be eligible to study medicine in Nigeria, you must first complete your secondary education and obtain an O’level certificate. It’s expected that, as a medical laboratory scientist, you have completed your secondary education and obtained a minimum of five credits in subjects including English Language, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.
Step 2: Direct Entry
In Nigeria, a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) can be used for direct entry into medical school. The Nigerian Medical and Dental Council recognizes MLS as one of the science-based courses that can be used to fulfill the science requirements for medical school admission.
However, to be eligible for direct entry, candidates must meet the minimum entry requirements set by the medical schools they are applying to. These requirements vary from school to school but typically include a minimum grade point average as well as prerequisite courses in subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics.
Therefore, candidates who are interested in applying for direct entry admission into Nigerian medical schools should check the JAMB website and the website of the university they want to apply to for specific requirements and procedures.
Step 3: Apply for Admission to a University
After knowing the Direct Entry requirements for the institution you want to apply to, proceed with your application to the university that offers the medical program. The application process usually involves submitting your score and other required documents. In Nigeria, there are over thirty universities offering medicine and surgery, both private and public. You can decide to enroll in one of the most affordable private universities offering medicine and surgery in Nigeria.
Step 4: Complete the Medical Program
The medical programme in Nigeria usually takes six years to complete. During the programme, you will receive a combination of theoretical and practical training in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, and clinical medicine. In the final year of the program, you will also be required to complete a one-year clinical internship.
Step 5: Sit for the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) Examination
After completing your medical programme and internship, you must sit for the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) examination. The MDCN examination is a licensing examination that covers a wide range of medical topics and assesses the student’s ability to diagnose and treat patients.
Step 6: Complete the One-Year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Program
After passing the MDCN examination, you will be required to complete a compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program. This program is mandatory for all Nigerian graduates, with the aim of promoting national unity and integration.
Step 7: Obtain a Medical License
After you complete the NYSC program, you should obtain a medical license from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to practice medicine in Nigeria.
Step 8: Apply for a Medical Job
After completing their medical education and obtaining a medical license, medical doctors in Nigeria can start applying for jobs in the medical field. Some medical doctors choose to work in hospitals or clinics, while others may start their own private practices. Many medical doctors also work in research or academia.
Step 9: Obtain Postgraduate Medical Education
After obtaining a medical license, some medical doctors may decide to pursue postgraduate medical education to specialize in a particular area of medicine. In Nigeria, postgraduate medical education is offered by universities and teaching hospitals. The length of the program varies depending on the area of specialization and can range from three to six years. Some well-known specialties include internal medicine, surgery, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry.
Step 10: Continuing Medical Education
To maintain their medical license and stay up-to-date with the latest advances in medical research and technology, medical doctors in Nigeria are required to complete continuing medical education (CME) credits. CME opportunities include attending conferences, taking online courses, and participating in other forms of professional development.
Becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria is a challenging and rigorous process that requires a significant investment of time and effort. However, as a medical laboratory scientist who is passionate about medicine and willing to put in the work, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career path.