Sharing the knowledge

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust
Published online: 4 February 2013

Career advice for students.

So you want to be a doctor? A guide to prospective medical students in Australia by Dr Kerry J Breen is an excellent book to help prospective students decide if being a doctor is for them.

The first section about knowing yourself and understanding why you wish to choose medicine is essential reading for any prospective medical student. The importance of personal characteristics and suitability for a career as a doctor is very well explained with a sensitive approach to how to decide if you will have an aptitude for this career.

Where possible the author has used research to support his advice, and covers all the questions likely to be asked by a secondary student.

Section 2 gives practical advice about medical schools and their selection processes, including the benefits and challenges of undergraduate versus postgraduate courses. There is a very good section on issues that may make your time as a medical student and doctor more difficult.

Section 3 covers the questions likely to be asked about life as a medical student, and the author provides a balanced view of the enjoyable aspects of being a medical student and then doctor, but has equally provided realistic information about the challenges.

Section 4 covers career paths, including an overview of the Australian health system which will help both prospective and current medical students understand the complexity of the system. This section will encourage students to consider the longer term — not just getting into medical school without consideration of future training requirements and job prospects.

This book draws together the evidence in medical education and the experience gained by the author during a distinguished career to provide a comprehensive guide to the prospective medical student.

By Professor Barbara Workman, Chair of the Year 5/D Management Committee for the MMBS course at Monash University, and Anna Power, a fourth year medical student at Monash.


  • Cate Swannell



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