Thursday, July 06, 2006

So Much For O&G

All this while I had barely much idea of how one goes about being a specialist after our basic degree. I had alot of misconceptions, even thinking that one may probably have to spend a year or so attending lectures and PBL at some university, sit for an EOS and be a specialist after you pass. Or perhaps you just have to grow old enough to look and think like a specialist. I have asked many people but to no avail, till I personally asked a doctor who is preparing to be a specialist.

She is currently a Medical Officer who is attached to the O&G clinic and is getting experience to be an O&G specialist in few years time. Here it goes. Regardless of whether you have an MBBS from Malaysia or from any other part of the world, as long as you come back to Malaysia you have two options (I am talking about O&G here). Once you become a Houseman ie. a fresh graduate, you can either choose to pursue a Masters in Medicine degree (M.Med) or opt to go for the more glamourous Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) certification. While BOTH these degrees will legally allow the holders to use the title of Pakar O&G or O&G Specialist, the M.Med degree is only recognised LOCALLY while the MRCOG one definitely goes far and wide. So as long as you are willing to pledge your life and loyalty to Malaysia, taking a M.Med degree will be sufficient for a specialist title (and of course the higher income and privileges that come with it).

Here's the difference between the two. Apart from the recognition factor, the level of difficulty and hence the level of quality differs quite greatly between the two. To ultimately possess an MRCOG certification, you have got to first take the MRCOG Part 1 exam which can be prepared for since Day 1 and sat for anytime when you are ready. Next, you will have to go for the Part 2a exam, which can only be taken at least 4 years from passing Part 1. Subsequently you go for the last Part 2b before becoming a certified MRCOG holder. The passing rate for Part 1 and Part 2a is only between 7-8% max, while the pass rate for the final part is a bit higher at between 15-20%. And so as you can see, the problem with getting this degree is the difficulty of passing its exams! To even qualify and be eligible to sit for the exams, you must have a logbook which shows that you have had sufficient work experience and exposure in this field. Really not easy man... Exams can be taken in any certified hospitals, not necessary to go all the way to England.

Now having said all that, I also found out a truth about this field. Apparently, Chinese males are the least popular among female patients in the O&G sector. A Malay female or Indian female would be the most welcomed, followed by a Chinese female, Malay male, Indian male and Chinese male. The acceptance level may not be so clearly demarcated in Government hospitals but when it comes to private practice we see such differences, like it or not. Of course, this is not an absolute rule but rather a common sight and understanding among the doctors and patients. So, perhaps O&G isn't for me after all. Better stick to Orthopaedics. That has another LOOOONG story which I won't want to go in depth. Basically to get an MRCS (Ortho) degree, one had better opt to do the local Masters before attempting to apply for the REAL MRCS because apparently the Part 3 exams is kinda by invitation only. They select limited students for it and it would matter if you came from a local or overseas university, for the MBBS I mean. So instead of waiting till you die, you would be better off doing a Masters and practicing as a specialist here first.

Oh well. Now I see the long and windy path to go up there...

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9 Comments:

Hi there! am an O&G Srmo in Sydney perusing the long n windy path of O&G MRANZCOG. will prob b a reg nxt yr so the pain will begin soon....

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Hi Dr Richard , can i sit for MRCOG part 1 exam during the end of 1st year of my housemaship? What should i do if my hospital doesnt have MRCOG holder as we need 1 MRCOG holder to be proposer? thank you :)

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