Programs in medicine prepare people to work as medical doctors. Students learn about the health needs of the human body. They learn how to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders. They also learn to counsel and instruct patients. Doctors may prepare for work in general practice or they may choose to specialize. To specialize, they choose a medical residency program other than general or family practice.
Given the challenge, excitement, and variety involved in providing healthcare, it's no wonder that writers and producers have created so many TV shows about being a doctor. And although you may not get to enjoy the glamour of working with Drs. Kovacs or Chen, it'd be hard not to enjoy the thrill of saving lives.
It's that very reward that helps sustain thousands of bleary-eyed medical students who work nearly round-the-clock, learning to be doctors. As a medical student, you might stay up late learning the names and locations of the 27 bones in a human hand and then wake up at the crack of dawn for your surgical rotation.
In medical school, you spend time in laboratories and classrooms learning medical information such as the anatomy and structure of the human body, the kinds of diseases that afflict us, and the properties of different drugs and medicines. You also get to work with patients and practice taking their medical histories, examining them, and making diagnoses.
Our bodies are complicated and intricate, and the medical field is constantly learning new things about them and how to take care of them. This cutting-edge quality of medicine influences the things you learn and the way you learn them in this program of study. Throughout the course of your education, you may learn different ways to treat cancer or to envision the human nervous system.
Of course, this is just a taste of what you'd learn in this program of study. And you know what people say: medical education continues throughout a doctor's lifetime.
There are about 125 accredited medical schools in the U.S. where you can "begin" your education and earn a doctor of medicine degree (M.D.). This typically takes about eight years of full-time study, including the approximate four years that you need to get a bachelor's degree.
A few schools offer accelerated combination programs where you can get a bachelor's degree and an M.D. at the same time. These generally take between six to eight years of full-time study after high school.