If you have an interest in science, a curious nature and enjoy engaging with people then a career as a Hospital Doctor could be for you.
To be a doctor working in a hospital, you need to be a conscientious scientist with excellent communication skills who is fascinated by the workings of the human body.
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- English Home Language or First Additional Language (matric level)
- Mathematics (matric level)
- Physical Sciences (matric level)
- Life Sciences
The following institutions are highly recommended for students wanting to study medicine:
- University of Free State – APS of 36
- University of Cape Town (UCT) – APS of 450 (See how to calculate your APS for UCT)
- University of Stellenbosch – No APS required (the higher your marks the better)
- University of Pretoria (UP) – APS of 35
- University of Witwatersrand (Wits) – No APS required (the higher your marks the better)
- University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) – No APS required (the higher your marks the better)
- Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University – APS of 32
- Walter Sisulu University – APS of 20
Be aware that most of these universities require you to do NBTs to qualify for entrance to the degree.
To practice as a Hospital Doctor, you have to have a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBChB) and have a valid registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Surgeons, specialists and general practitioners all start by graduating with an MBChB. This degree includes a two-year internship and one year of community service, after which you can practice as a general practitioner, or medical officer in a public hospital. Postgraduate studies are necessary to become a specialist doctor (a pediatrician, physician, cardiologist, etc.)
You will need to show:
- good communication and listening skills
- determination and endurance
- the emotional capacity to deal with tough cases
- compassion towards people
- passion for science
As a Hospital Doctor, you will be working in a hospital. You can specialise in one of the following areas:
- Emergency Medicine
- Palliative Care
- General Practice
- Plastic Surgery
- And more…
Depending on what medical field you choose to go into, your hours can range from working a couple of hours a day to working five days a week and also being on call at night and over the weekend. Being a specialist can often involve early starts and very late finishes.
Salary can range depending on whether you choose to specialise or not. According to PayScale, the average pay for a physician/doctor in general practice ranges between R251k – R1m per year, depending on experience.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Hospital Doctor:
- Being a doctor is a lifelong journey of learning – every day, you will be challenged and tested.
- Medicine is an exciting career with a vast array of specialist opportunities from patient-based clinical practice, to laboratory work, to research.