How to Become a Medical Consultant in Nigeria

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For lots of people that are interested in the medical profession, becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria is all they are really after.

In as much as there is a lot of prestige associated with being a medical doctor in Nigeria, there is more. After becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria, one can go on to become a medical consultant.

As a matter of fact, the beauty of becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria is to end up as a consultant as it might be difficult to be truly successful if one is a doctor but never becomes a medical consultant.

It is one thing to aim at becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria and another to actually know how to do this.

Are you a medical doctor in Nigeria already and are looking at becoming a medical consultant? If yes, you are on the right page.

It is common knowledge that becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria is not easy.

Well, even more difficult is becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria. If you must end up as a medical consultant in Nigeria, you will need to brace up for several challenges along the way.

These challenges are indeed grand. However, with the right mindset, a medical doctor can end up becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria.

How to Become a Medical Consultant in Nigeria

Let’s walk through the various steps in becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria

1. You Must Qualify as a Medical Doctor

It will be impossible to become a medical consultant in Nigeria if you are not first a medical doctor. This is obvious. However, it is worth saying as the very first step in becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria is training to be a medical doctor. This is a period that lasts 6 years. However, it could be longer if there are strikes.
As soon as you are done with the regular training that is needed before you become a medical doctor in Nigeria, you will need to specialize. In the absence of becoming a specialist, you might be unable to make any real impact as a medical doctor in Nigeria.
As soon as you decide to become a specialist, you are on your way to becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria. To become a consultant you will go through a training process known as residency.

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2. Choosing an Area of Specialty

Before becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria, you will need to select a field that you have a great deal of interest in. This is a lot different from the basic medical training which was simply focused on imparting medical students with general information they need to become doctors.
In as much as becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria is a great move by a doctor, not every doctor needs to take this route. Some doctors might not choose to specialize and simply practice with their general knowledge. Such doctors are known as general practitioners.

3. Get the Right Funding

The residency process is very mentally tasking and also takes up a large chunk of a doctor’s time. However, beyond taking up your time and requiring a lot of effort, there is more. You will need the right funding as this process is very expensive.
Due to the high costs of residency in Nigeria, medical doctors have to be gainfully employed while going through this process. So, a good chunk of their salary goes into this training.
The cost of this training might be expensive. However, some medical doctors will have to pay the same fees more than once as they might fail some exams. If you fail any exam as a medical doctor, you will need to write it again and this might cost some extra money.

4. You Should have a Clear Knowledge of Vital Areas in Medicine

Before going ahead to specialize in a field of medicine, you will need to arm yourself with adequate knowledge about vital areas in medicine.

How does One Qualify as a Medical Consultant in Nigeria?

At this point, you most likely already know the things that are required of anyone that is looking to become a medical consultant in Nigeria. This is the point where you know the exact process of becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria.

When looking to become a medical consultant in Nigeria, you will first need to get registered for a residency program in the right hospital. This program is simply training that equips medical doctors in Nigeria with the knowledge they need to handle the many challenges associated with being a medical consultant.
The residency program in Nigeria is divided into three levels. They are the Primary, the Part I Fellowship, as well as the Part II Fellowship. The Part II Fellowship can also be called the Final. For a resident doctor to become a medical consultant in Nigeria, they will need to go through the three processes successfully, this involves writing some exams.
Before a medical doctor is qualified to become a medical consultant in Nigeria, they will need to take part in a one-year internship program that is compulsory.
Every medical doctor in Nigeria interested in becoming a consultant must take the fellowship examination. After being successful in this exam, they can begin their residency program. This program is divided into the Senior Residency Program and Junior Residency Program.
The junior residency program comes before the senior and can be on for about 24 to 36 months. The duration is basically dependent on the field. It is made up of 100-unit lectures and practicals that make up 180 units.
After the lectures and practical medical doctors can sit for the Junior Residency exam. On passing this, they go on to take part in the Senior Residency program. This runs for 30 to 48 months. Just like the Junior Residency program, the duration is dependent on the field. Additionally, it is made up of 320 credit loads.
After a series of research and dissertations, every medical doctor must go through some evaluations. After this evaluation process is over, they will be granted a fellowship.

Does One Need Connections to become a Medical Consultant in Nigeria?

Ideally, becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria is supposed to be dependent on how knowledgeable a medical doctor is and, on their ability, to pay the very expensive fees. However, this is not always the case in Nigeria. Due to the unavailability of ample facilities for young doctors looking to begin their residency program, people might need a bit of connection before starting the journey of becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria. Beyond simply needing a great deal of connection, sometimes young doctors have to pay some money to people in authority so they can get a facility for their residency training program.
The idea of not having the right number of facilities for medical doctors looking to undergo the residency training program might seem like an exaggeration for people out of the system. However, when the fact that the 52 teaching hospitals in the country, alongside the federal health institutions scattered around the country can only accommodate a few of the doctors that come into the labour market every year is considered. The difficulty in becoming a medical consultant becomes glaring.

How Can Graduates Apply for Residency

When a medical doctor is looking to apply for residency, they will need to look out for vacancies in teaching hospitals that handle the area of specialty they are interested in.
Before a doctor becomes a resident doctor, they will need to write the ‘primary’ which is organized by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN). This exam is conducted two times annually and doctors that are successful in this exam are qualified to go on with residency.
This exam comes at a cost. Ideally, every candidate has to pay N40,000 to NPMCN

Why is Residency Vital

When residency is considered, the big picture is it is an important process on the road to becoming a medical consultant in Nigeria. While this is what it really entails. Beyond becoming a necessary journey for people that are looking to become consultants, there is a lot it does for medical doctors in Nigeria.
With residency, medical doctors are given the opportunity to work in a team and have contacts with actual patients. That’s not all. It also gives them the liberty of thinking better and smarter in the presence of an emergency.

Selecting a Residency Program

A lot of medical doctors go through some bit of struggle when looking to select a residency program. This might not be the case for doctors that have always had their minds on an area of specialty.
As a medical doctor, if you do not exactly have your mind on an area of specialty and the time comes for you to undergo your residency, there are factors that can help you make the right choice. Some of these factors are;
• The cost of the program
• The program’s flexibility
• Your personal goals.
When the above factors are given a great deal of consideration, you will not go through so much struggle before making up your mind on an area of specialty.

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