In This Issue:
Despite the fact that rampant reruns of our favorite medical TV shows like House, M.D., ER, Strong Medicine, Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy clutter the cable channels, reality suggests that we’ll be seeing far fewer professionals with white coats and stethoscopes in the coming years. Reports show that America could face a shortage of 46,000 family doctors by 2025. A recent Journal of the American Medical Association survey found that of 1,200 fourth-year medical students, only 2 percent plan to enter primary care internal medicine. The number of other types of medical professionals is also dwindling, especially as the big baby boomer generation ages and the demand for health care services increases.
New Jersey is now doing its part to educate more doctors. On June 25, Gov. Corzine signed a special document to develop a new four-year medical school through a partnership between Rowan University and Cooper University Hospital in Camden. For the past 30 years, the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has been the only school in the state to offer medical degrees. Now Rowan Medical School, based in Camden, is under development and expected to welcome its first class of students in 2012. Cooper and Rowan will be able “to address the critical need for physicians locally and nationally, and more importantly, we will be able to raise the level of health care and education throughout the region,” said Donald Farish, Rowan’s president. So hit those science books—stat. Your white coat awaits.
It’s never too early to start preparing for your career as a doctor. Here are some things you should know and do to help smooth the path to medical school and beyond:
Science, Science, Science
If you think you want to pursue a career as a doctor, you need to load up on your science studies in high school and the first few years of college. Entrance requirements for New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, for instance, demand multiple undergrad college courses in biology or zoology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. The school also recommends cell and molecular biology, biostatistics and biochemistry. Keep in mind that pre-med is not a college major, but rather a career path you choose. A pre-med student can major in anything. But don’t spend ALL your time in the lab. Applicants are also expected to take courses in English, the humanities, mathematics, behavioral sciences and liberal arts. Even docs need to be well-rounded.
Test Drive the Stethoscope
You may be a math and science whiz in high school and even devour books about vampires, but can you truly handle the sight of blood? Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (and no doubt the future Rowan Medical School) offers a Mini Medical School for sophomore, junior and senior high school students interested in medical careers. It’s a great opportunity for students to sample a medical school curriculum. This year’s courses, offered in the evenings between February and April, included lectures on global health, stem cell research, pediatric HIV and heart transplantation. Check out the Resource Corner to learn where you can find out more.
A Little MD R&D (Research & Development)
When it comes time to research the medical schools that interest you, check out their requirements, size and location and the average GPA and Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores. The MCATs are a special test that you take to get into medical school. Requirements to get into New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School include a mean total MCAT score of 30.6—verbal reasoning 9.6, physical sciences 10.2, biological sciences 10.8. The required mean total grade point average is 3.64 with a science GPA of 3.59.
The American Medical Association’s Health Care Careers Directory lists information about 81 different careers in health care. Who knew? You’re no doubt familiar with doctors, nurses and even athletic trainers. Here are a few medical careers that you may not know about: