Here is the final part of my MDCN Experience. I’ll be sharing some of the highlights and challenges I had in my Centre.
First, I’d like to thank Dr. Tosin of lifewithtwotees.com, who was kind enough to blog about her MDCN experience (July-October 2015). I was privileged to come across her blog a few months before I returned to Nigeria. Fortunately, I got to do my MDCN remedial course at LUTH as well, and her tips were helpful.
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) is the umbrella body for medical doctors and dentists practicing in Nigeria. A primary function of the council is the issuing of provisional licenses for foreign trained medical and dental graduates, and inducting them into the Nigerian Healthcare System.
The license is issued to Foreign Trained Doctors (FTDs) after a satisfactory performance in the stipulated exam, following a 3-month remedial course at specified Tertiary hospitals.
The MDCN remedial program which takes place twice (January-April/July-October) every year, cuts across different Teaching Hospitals in the country. The usual centers are:
– Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos.
– Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria.
– Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife.
– University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin.
– University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu.
(For more information about MDCN, visit mdcn.gov.ng)
Tales from LUTH
The last MDCN Remedial Course (January-April 2017) was held at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-araba, Lagos. I resumed a week after the program had commenced and I discovered there was a lot of catching up to do already. To add to the stress, I had to be going about looking for a suitable accommodation. Thankfully, I found one in Mushin, and moved in with a friend about 3 weeks into the program.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, the earlier you get settled into the program, the easier it will be.
Tbh, the 3 months duration was pretty intense, much like a boot camp experience. In comparison, my medical school days were such a luxury.
There were Foreign Trained Doctors from all over the globe: Egypt, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, St. Kitts, Dominica, St. Vincent, Ghana, South Africa, Sudan, London, Uganda, Ireland, India, Canada etc
Over 300 candidates registered for the remedial course at LUTH. First, we were divided into four groups (A-D) for our clinical postings, then further divided into subgroups for the different units.
On week days, we had ward/clinic activities in the 4 major departments (Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology). We resumed anytime from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., depending on the department/unit. We also had logbooks for attendance where the Consultant/Senior Registrar available in the unit would sign.
My postings were in the following order:
1. Pediatrics (Infectious disease/Cardiology unit)
Since I resumed the remedial program a week late, I spent the shortest time in that department.
Highlight(s): The usual ward rounds which included bedside patient examinations and drilling, an outpatient clinic with the consultant (who took her time to teach us after we had clerked some patients); and a departmental seminar where a project was proposed by a SR, followed by an interesting debate with the topic- The Doctor: The King Or A Pawn? Several arguments where made for and against both labels, but the moderator’s conclusion was that the doctor is neither the king nor the pawn, but a visionary leader who is to adequately head the healthcare team.
Challenge(s): I was a little flustered while in the unit, because of a particular SR who made me nervous on several occasions. I’d missed a rather cheap question (something on an antibiotic) and she seemed to pick on me afterwards. Thankfully, that was the only posting where I experienced such a challenge.
2. Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility Regulation unit)
Highlight(s): Outpatient clinics and ward rounds. The Regs in O&G really moved stuff, so I learnt a number of important things, like how to use the Partograph.
In one of the clinics, I clerked a patient with another colleague, and our top differential diagnosis was Amenorrhea, only to be told afterwards by the supervising Reg, that it was simply a case of Secondary Infertility!
Shame no fit catch us that day, but we live to learn, and thankfully we did learn.
Challenges(s): Well, the experience was quite pleasant although I didn’t get to observe any labour & delivery or c-section because of the unit I was posted to.
3. Internal Medicine (Renal unit)
I had an interesting time here as well. There was a lot to learn on a daily basis. The team members were quite accommodating too.
Highlight(s): Ward rounds and Outpatient clinics.
Challenge(s): It was quite sad to see a number of patients suffering from chronic renal insufficiency, not able to afford payment for their dialysis.
4. Surgery (General Surgery unit)
This was eventually the least stressful of my postings.
Originally, I was posted to the Neurosurgery unit, which I accepted in good faith, despite the rumors of unpleasant treatment from the unit.
To cut the story short, the few days my colleagues and I spent there was “not it”. We were a bit restless trying to be punctual at all costs and to adhere to the rather strict guidelines of the team.
Eventually, we were kicked out by the Chief Reg himself, because we failed to turn up for the unit call that weekend! All our pleas fell on deaf ears.
And how relieved I was, because I had gotten so worked up anyway.
The General Surgery team members were a lot more accommodating and less intimidating and I did learn a couple of things from them.
Highlights: Ward rounds, Seminars, Clinics and Minor Surgeries. It was overall an interesting experience for me, not just academically but also socially.
Challenges: I was unable to observe any of the major surgeries, during my posting, due to a limited supply of surgical scrubs. One thing common to the Operating rooms both in my med school and LUTH was this, the “Nursing Sisters” were in charge! Whoever they refused to help remained helpless.
The lectures took place from 2pm to 5pm, from Mondays to Fridays. On some days, we were lucky enough to finish on time and on not-so-lucky days, the lectures ended much later. All lectures were either in PowerPoint or PDF format, and our class representatives did a great job of getting them across to us.
We were exposed to a variety of lecturers, some were really nice and enthusiastic about teaching us, they were not just concerned about the remedial course, but also inquired about our general welfare and how we were coping in the Nigerian environment; a few were indifferent, they simply taught us and left, and we had a number of sarcastic ones, who spoke as if training outside Nigeria was a crime itself.
The courses we covered were quite extensive:
– Obstetrics and Gynecology
– Internal Medicine
– Chemical Pathology
– Morbid Anatomy
– Community Health
My favorites were Anaesthesia, Community Health and Psychiatry.
Tuberculosis, Malaria and Sickle Cell Disease were high yield topics that came up in almost every course.
We learnt some interesting mnemonics too e.g.
SHADE for Family History
NASORATI for Patients Biodata
5 Cs for h/o Presenting Complaints
Overall, it was a worthwhile experience and I enjoyed the MDCN remedial course. For those hoping to participate in subsequent ones, I hope you find the experience equally enjoyable.
I wish you success!