Hi, I am a doctor of medicine, I graduated from medical school just over a year ago but my passion as always been with animals. A year working in hospital as proven that I have gone down the wrong path and really don't enjoy my job.
I was wondering if doctors converting to veterinary medicine is something anyone has come across before? And how I would go about it? Would my degree help me in applying for a course? And would my knowledge of human anatomy/physiology/pathology give me any kind of advantage?
i appreciate that they are very different courses, but also that there must be some similarities.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Converting from medicine to veterinary medicine?? Watch
- Thread Starter
- 13-07-2014 12:05
- 13-07-2014 16:13
I'm not a vet student but I really want to study vet med when I leave high school and have researched unis etc a lot. I'd say the easiest way to study vet med for you would be to go down the postgrad route. I'm not sure if medicine is one of the accepted degrees , you'd have to contact individual unis about that! I think your knowledge of human medicine may be useful sometimes with general things like cell biology etc but it may also make it harder because you have to sort of forget what you've learned in medicine and remember something completely different for animals!
hope this helped a bit and good luck!
- 13-07-2014 16:28
Hello, I am a 2013 graduate of the graduate entry program at the R(D)SVS in Edinburgh, Scotland. I am from Canada and went back there to practice, but I am going to 'assume'/write this as if you are applying from and to the UK.
I don't PERSONALLY know anyone that has converted, but I have heard of 'friends of friends' that did, that sort of thing. A classmate of my boss's, for example, did. So yes this does happen, just as it does for lots of other degrees. There were ~65 people in my graduate entry class, 5 years ago.
I would say you would do about it the way any other graduate entry person would. The basic triangle of any vet application is academics, work experience, and personal statement/extracurriculars.
Academics: How long have you been out of school? I applied out of my graduate degree (MSc), but I know others that were working for 10+ years, and I *think* they just used their most recent grades and degree.
Work experience: you obviously will have lots of experience in medicine, but you will also need to get experience in the veterinary and animal husbandry side of things. There is lots of information on work experience on here; check out the 'work experience' thread stickied at the top of this forum for a start. Basically you want as much experience as you can get in farm animal husbandry (and by farm I mean food animal)-so volunteering/working on farms, especially dairy and lambing but pigs/poultry/etc count too; small animal husbandry (kennels); equine husbandry (stables, racetrack, stud); and small and large animal vets. Additional 'icing on the cake' stuff includes abattoirs, zoos, wildlife facilities, etc. If you have worked with any animals used in medical research, you might be able to use that as well.
Personal statement: basically why you want to be a vet and why you should be chosen to be, what sets you apart. What hobbies do you have? What do they say about you? Time management, commitment, etc. all get showcased here. Again, there is a good stickied thread at the top of this forum on this.
But first off, I would say research what universities offer graduate courses (IF you want to do the graduate course; some universities make it a 4 year course if you are accepted, so you essentially do the first 2 years of the 5 year course in 1 year) and what universities you would be interested in, and read up on their application pages and what they require. Contact them directly. The deadline for me to apply through VMCAS (similar to UCAS; I think I was supposed to use UCAS for some actually) was Oct. 1, which I think is a little different than the undergraduate deadline, but otherwise the application was very similar, EXCEPT that there were no interviews. I don't know if that is every school or just mine (the **** Vet in Edinburgh) though.
Your degree will help you in that yes, I do think there is a lot of crossover, so you will probably have a good foundation going in, possibly better than other students. Anatomy is very similar in terms of actual names of structures; just maybe situated differently (horses stand on P3 for example; but they still have P2, P1, and metacarpals/metatarsals, just elongated and some are now vestigial/have evolved out). Mammalian physiology should be pretty similar, though there are some adaptations; but avian and reptilian will be more unique. That sort of thing. Getting into the clinical years a lot of similarities but some differences as well, and I think you may need to be careful to not make assumptions or think you know it b/c you know the human side, and get caught out. We don't tend to do kidney transplants or heart transplants in dogs, for example-in fact in the UK I believe it is currently illegal because the dog donating the organ cannot technically give legal consent. Euthanasia is common and a valid medical procedure to ease suffering, as oppose to illegal in humans in the UK. OVH and castration are 'routine' in animals and generally a day, maybe overnight hospital stay then 2 week recovery at home, rather than 3-6 months if a human female went through it (now, we can do dogs midline because they don't fuss about a scar that shows when they wear a bikini, but that is another story). Instead of knowing one species-humans-very, very well you are expected to know just about any animal species, but maybe not quite to the same detail. Instead of graduating and if not doing a residency being a general practitioner and only doing medicine, you will graduate as a "GP" and do medicine, basic in house pathology/cytology/post-mortems, basic surgery, etc. Also, the NHS/socialised health care does not exist in veterinary medicine-it is private and a business and you are expected to charge, and clients sometimes get upset or can't pay or whatever. You probably already know a lot of this and I'm stating the obvious but still worth mentioning.
If you are looking to "skip" some of the program, or be given credit for what you already know: some programs do the graduate entry program as an accelerated degree, but only by 1 year. Basically you are expected to already have a good grounding in cell biology, anatomy, immunology/infectious disease, physiology etc. so you go through these quicker, in less depth, and possibly not at all and go straight into 'clinical years' the following year. As someone on here reminded me lately though, not all GEP programs offer an accelerated degree; and it is at the discretion of the university whether they think your degree covered enough to grant you the accelerated course. I would think medicine would be, but I am not the one making the decision. Generally, no credit for clinical years has been given that I am aware of, though I haven't personally known anyone coming from a medicine background. I doubt any would be, but you can always ask.
Hope that helps, and if you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.
- PS Reviewer
- 14-07-2014 13:24
Tarnia has given you a very in depth response. I don't think I have much to add, other than the fact that I have heard of an experienced doctor who has decided to change career paths and is studying in the year below me. Afraid I don't know of his name or else I would try to get in touch with him. Just letting you know it isn't unheard of!
Another things to note is to research into funding for tuition fees as you migh be expected to pay these yourself as a second degree rather than from student finance and fees will vary between universities.