The Fiji School of Medicine (FSMed) offers an exciting undergraduate program of study which prepares you for being a doctor. In FSMed, the MBBS Program is a six-year (6) program of study with enrolment of candidates who have completed at least a Form 7 or Foundation year of studies. The program has been described as intensive but interesting and exciting by the students. The program is based on adult learning principles and is problem based. This means a lot of hard work but you get to learn things in a way that best prepares you for your career as a doctor.
In the first three years of the program, the students learn the fundamentals of the basic and clinical sciences by way of problems that simulate real life situations. The students are guided by tutors in small group tutorials to learn how the human body functions normally, and what happens during illness. Students are taught how to examine, diagnose, and treat patients. A considerable part of their study time is spent learning public health and commuity medicine concepts. The major subject disciplines include anatomy, physiology, public health, pathology, biochemistry, clinical skills and much more. The first 3 years provide the building blocks for the future.
In the following 2 years (ie years 4 and 5), the students train in the hospitals and in the community. They assist in diagnosing and treating patients, join the doctors on their ward rounds, and learn to do simple procedures like blood-drawing etc. They attend tutorials to learn about the different diseases and how to treat them. They learn the basics of being
a health care provider. During these years they are assigned evening and night duties with the doctors whilst studying. They not only learn how to treat diseases but also how to prevent them. They learn about how different sections of a health system work towards improving the health of people and also learn how to conduct research. The major subject disciplines include medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, public health, and psychiatry.
The final year is what is termed the trainee internship year. Here they are given a lot more freedom to work under supervision as they would when they become newly trained doctors. Half of the year is spent in the hospital and the other half in a peripheral health centre or subdivisional hospital. This is the year where students ‘put things together’, consolidating all they have learned and metamorphosing from being medical students to young doctors ready to serve the community.
We have a selection process based on academic performance and also on a structured interview. Currently our minimum entry requirement is 280 marks out of 400 in Form 7 with English and the best 3 science subjects added together. In general, students accepted into the MBBS Program have much better Form 7 marks than that, and rarely does anyone with Form 7 marks less than 290 pass the first year of the course. However, we also find that students who are mature in their outlook towards study and those who really want to become doctors do well in the program.
Dr Joseph Flear (Ass.Prof), Senior Lecturer (Paeds)
MBBS Curriculum Coordinator
MBBS 1-3 Program Coordinator
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