MY MDCN EXPERIENCE (Part 3): TALES FROM LUTH

Hey guys,

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. 

About MDCN



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.

The Structure
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

Image credit: WEB

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.

Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Premises

The Schedule

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.

ImageCredit: WEB

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)

Image Credit: WEB


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

With My Roomie, Dr. Ify Aralu😉

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:

– Surgery
– Pediatrics
– Obstetrics and Gynecology
– Internal Medicine
– Microbiology
– Chemical Pathology
– Anaesthesia
– Morbid Anatomy
– Community Health
– Hematology
– Psychiatry
– Radiology

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
S-Sickle cell
H-Hypertension
A-Asthma
D-Diabetes
E-Epilepsy

NASORATI
for Patients Biodata
N-Name
A-Age
S-Sex
O-Occupation
R-Religion
A-Address
T-Tribe
I-Informant

and

5 Cs for h/o Presenting Complaints
Course
Character
Cause
Complication
Care

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! 


:::requ1ne:::
❤️❤️❤️

MY MDCN EXPERIENCE (Part 2): How to approach the Exam.

The MDCN exam is relatively easy to attempt, if you have the right kind of information.
I’ll share a few tips that worked for me, which you can apply as well in preparing for the exam.


1. To thine own self be true.
Know why you’re in Nigeria. Not all that came to write the licensing exam, plan to use it. For some, practicing in Nigeria is a second, third or fourth option. Roughly a quarter of the candidates in my centre were planning to port (i.e. Return Abroad). If you’re not ready for Naija wahala, just sit at home and chill. And if you’re in it for real, then make sure you double up.

2. What you don’t know, you don’t know.
You may have to unlearn and relearn some things, especially with history taking and physical exam, because Naija stuff get levels and as far as “they” are concerned, it’s either their way or no way.
For instance, when I saw the way they palpated for enlarged lymph nodes in a patient, I just humbled myself and went to learn it.
Another example was learning to use the Mercury sphygmomanometer, which I wasn’t very familiar with. When you’re not sure, just ask. It may be embarrassing at first, but it’ll be to your advantage later on.

3. Listen with sense.
Not everything you hear is true…learn to sift through the noise and hold on to the fact. There will be rumors to your left and to your right, and some of them will overwhelm you but you must not allow your heart to fear. Remember, it is just MDCN, not an exam to enter heaven 😂

4. Be present when it matters.
Not every tutorial, not every call, not every seminar counts…but MOST of the rounds and classes are important. MDCN requires 70% attendance (of ward activities/classes) for you to participate in the exam; and over 80% of the exam material will be covered during lectures. Be wise.

5. There is no time to waste time.
Start studying the moment you resume…unless you’re a specific kind of genius with a type A brain, your plans to start studying just a few days to the exam won’t work. Trust me, the work load piles up on you like toppings on a slice of Pizza. Just like med school, you can use some of these STRATEGIES to scale through the MDCN exam. Past Questions are the main resources you should revise with for the exam. Don’t be lured into buying giant textbooks and whatnots. The truth is, you don’t need them. 

6. Beware of 419.
There are evil people ready to scam you of your money, abuse your body (Dear Ladies, take heed) and rob you of your integrity. You don’t need the backdoor to succeed in the exam, nor any “special help” from those in-the-know. Exam Malpractice is a grievous offense and the examiners take a lot of measures to curb it. If you’re caught, you’ll be asked to face the music.

7. Don’t lose your Confidence.

This is by far the most important tip. Your Confidence is your greatest ally. Prepare as much as you want, if you lack confidence, you’ll mess up. It took me weeks of motivational articles, positive self-talk and prayers, to get myself mentally ready for the exam. Thankfully, I was able to scale through it.

*** ***

The Exam Format
(LUTH Centre)
From the information I gathered, the exam varies from Centre to Centre. In Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), where I sat for mine, the exam was 3-fold.

Day 1
PAPER 1- 150 MCQs
PAPER 2- PICTURE OSCE and Clinical Scenarios

Day 2 (Main OSCE)

Station 1 (Pediatrics)
: History taking from the mother of a jaundiced baby.


Station 2 (Surgery):
Abdominal examination for a patient with suspected Acute Cholecystitis.

Station 3 (Obstetrics):
History taking in a woman who presented for Antenatal care.

Station 4 (Medicine):
Cardiovascular Examination in an otherwise healthy young man.


PS:
– For the MCQs, it’s advisable to do as many questions as you’re certain about and leave the rest. We were made to understand that “negative marking” was implemented for our exam, and a lot of candidates in my centre were affected.
– Each OSCE station was timed for 5 minutes, so it’s important to work within the given time. The more you practice with your colleagues, the easier it is to achieve that.
– Arrive early at the venue of your examination, you don’t want to be stressed out before you start. And have a light breakfast if you can, you’ll be glad you did. 

 “You can get horses ready for battle, but it is the LORD who gives victory.”

Proverbs 21:31 GNB

With God, MDCN is possible.
I wish you success.

:::requ1ne:::
❤️❤️❤️
*OSCE: Objective Structured Clinical Examination. 

THIS IS LAGOS!


Hey guys, guess who is in Lagos?
It’s yours sincerely.

What can I say? 

It’s been an unusually intense two weeks plus for me.

Some days I can’t even believe I’m still here, but here I am. This is the longest I’ve ever stayed in Lag, and I’m going to be here for a little while longer.

Una see wetin MDCN don cause? I was already dreaming of the ancient town of Ile-Ife or the calm city of Benin, I didn’t mind traveling all the way to Enugu. Anyway, that one na tory for another day.
Before I launch into my post, here are 5 facts about Lagos that you probably didn’t know:

1. Lagos is the smallest state by geographical size in Nigeria.


2. Lagos is the most populated city in Nigeria.


3. Lagos is the economic capital of Nigeria.


4. Lagos is the second fastest growing city in Africa.


5. The name Lagos was originally given by Portugese explorers as “Largo de Curamo” which means a collection of lakes.

(Credits: Naija.com, Facts.ng)

I won’t even lie I’ve always had some form of trepidation when it comes to facing the hustle and bustle of Lagos city.

All my life I’ve had the privilege of visiting Lagos only for a couple of days at most, and usually with someone to show me around.

However not this time. I’ve literally been on my own (aka OYO), transiting from Idi-Araba to Ojuelegba to Yaba to Oyingbo then Ebutemetta, until much recently when I relocated to a nearby apartment. 
It’s true what they say “Eko o gba gbere rara” which means “There’s no room for dulling in Lagos.”

For someone who is inexperienced about street-life and also coming from a less intense city like Ib (which is the “new Lagos” anyway, with the rapid rate at which it’s growing), I’m learning to be hyper-vigilant about everything and everyone in Lagos, just because…you never know. 
My new motto is: Shine your eyes well!

Thankfully, I’ve not experienced any incidence of theft or assault throughout my stay, Hallelujah to Jesus!
For the life of me, I have never envied Lagosians, I’m always like “What’s in your Lagos sef?” 🙄😑

A couple of times I’ve actually argued with people over the pros and cons of living in Lagos. Apart from the bubbling city life, remarkable job opportunities and lots of fun places that can be visited, Lagos to me, is just a hubbub of mental and physical stress. Here are a few:

1. The Traffic.

Traffic congestion in Lagos is incomparable. Depending on where one resides, some folks (including school-aged children) leave their homes as early as 4 a.m. and do not return until late evening. I can’t even imagine that kind of lifestyle. Thankfully, traffic doesn’t happen so often on the route I take. And from the information I’ve gathered, where Lagos traffic is concerned, things are better than they used to be. As for me, I just can’t do it, I will pack my bags and jejely leave Lagos ni o.

2. The crowd. 

Lagos is r-o-w-d-y! Like seriously, visit a place like Tejuosho market, and you will wonder where that sea of people come from. You can’t conveniently walk in some parts of Lagos, without getting shoved from behind or bumped into, by other pedestrians. Lagos is a place where everyone is constantly on the move, if you’re not after something, it is likely that something is after you.


The good thing though is that I like to watch people, so the Lagos crowd kinda provides me with some side-attraction; from the random beggars on the street, to the Igbo traders displaying their wares on the floor, then my co-passengers inside Lagos Molue and all sorts of roadside vendors, I always get my fill of daily drama and comic relief 😅

3. The noise. 

I don’t like noise abeg and Lagos has too much of it. When it’s not the Agberos shouting at the motor garage, it’s the noise from buses, okadas and trailers blaring their horns, and everywhere you go there’s one generating plant or the other in use (EKEDC no dey try abeg). In general, there’s sha noise everywhere, schools, churches and mosques kuku plenty. One good thing is that the van drivers don’t play high volume/deafening music (something I don’t miss about SVG). It’s not too strange to also see brawls breaking out among people on the streets for one reason or the other. Lagosians are very entertaining.

4. The Hustling.

Chai, Lagos is full of hustlers. People typically migrate to Lagos in order to “make it” and will do whatever it takes to get “there.”

Everyone is trying to make ends meet usually at other people’s expense. The headquarters of The Nigerian Opportunists Club is located in Lagos. Too many victims of fraudsters and scammers on a daily basis. I don’t trust anyone in Lagos (not anywhere in Nigeria sef), I simply walk by faith and not by sight and God has been faithful. 

Lagos has been described as the city that never sleeps, and how can they when money-making is their number one priority? 😬
With these few points of mine, I hope I’ve been able to convince and not to confuse you, that the city of Lagos is no place for the faint-hearted. Kudos to Governor Ambode and co, one day Lagos go better.

Having said that, it is also expedient for me to reiterate that Lagos is a land of abundant opportunities. It provides the confidence for you to dream and dare, and the courage to face any challenge that occurs. With the high rate of successful feats and giant accomplishments in Lagos, compared to other parts of Nigeria, you’re instilled with the hope to dream and live your dreams.

So on behalf of myself and other visitors to Lagos, I say,

Welcome to Lagos, where GREAT things happen.

Eko o ni baje o.

Amin.

PS: So like I mentioned in my last post, I will be helping some of my Facebook friends promote their growing businesses on my blog. This will hopefully run through the first half of the year. Stay tuned.

For deliciousness creating butterflies in your belly,

Contact BUTTERFLIESTREATS

We make cakes (fondant, buttercream), small chops, snacks etc

Location: Oyo town, Oyo state, Nigeria.

Contact details: 07063502765, butterfliestreats@gmail.com

 @butterfliestreats (instagram)



***

With love from Lasgidi,

😘😘😘

:::requ1ne:::

7 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT STAYING ABROAD

Disclaimer: This is not a SUB, just in case you’re thinking it is. It is a good, infact a great prospect, to live outside Nigeria (24/7 Internet and Electricity combo is something most young folks can’t resist) but if that’s your only life-goal, then you’re WRONG, and I will tell you why. Not that I consider myself an authority on this subject, what do I even know and how many countries have I been to?😅 Just hear me out first. I’ll try to make it interesting. Enjoy!


Actually, when you look through my list carefully, the central message is clear, most people equate success/wealth/comfort with living abroad. I’ll try to debunk each of those myths with some of the knowledge I’ve gained over a few years.

Myth 1: GOING ABROAD MEANS YOU’RE SUCCESSFUL.

It’s such a shame that a lot of young, old, educated and non-educated people alike, still carry the mindset that going abroad (whether for a period of time or a lifetime) translates to success. By success, I mean material wealth. You’ll hear folks boast about having their Father’s Cousin’s Husband in Germany or Australia or Spain, and that kinda elevates their social status among their peers. Most people don’t even know what exactly is going on with the said person. 

Folks abroad may have more chances at succeeding based on the easy access to the resources made available to them, but the criteria for success in any area of life, no matter your location, still remains the same: Diligence, Determination and Discipline. And I’ve heard a number of stories about abroadees working twice as hard as their counterparts in Nigeria.

 “If you’re lazy, you can’t survive abroad.” It’s that simple. 

Myth 2: WHERE YOU ARE DETERMINES WHO YOU ARE.

Many people are also quick to assume that it is their environment that defines them. It’s the reason why a lot of young people hustle tirelessly just to travel outside Nigeria. 

The truth is, Abroad is not all of that. Hear what the bible says:

“The earth is the Lord ʼs, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;”
(Psalm‬ ‭24:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬)
While you can be largely influenced by your environment, it is what is on your inside that ultimately becomes enhanced. Your environment enables you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

People don’t necessarily change when they go abroad, they just become better (whether for good or bad) at who they already are. So a shift in your mindset is of more importance than a change in your location. 

Permit me to say this, if you’re not sure of who you are, where you live will not matter. It is people that add value to a place and not vice-versa.


Myth 3: GREAT OPPORTUNITIES ONLY EXIST IN DIASPORA.

To many going Overseas, it is like going to a fairyland where opportunities are there on the streets waiting to be picked up. This isn’t necessarily true.

Great opportunities abound around us, to the extent we choose to see them

Every Opportunity you discover was created by a need. If you can indentify the needs of people around you, you will discover that several opportunities exist, even here in Nigeria. You simply need to DISCOVER to DELIVER

Thank God for several entrepreneurs producing worthwhile goods or services across the Fashion, Music, and Food industries. It’s especially easier when you have cultivated the mindset of CONTRIBUTING to your society rather than just CONSUMING from it. 

Myth 4: EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT OVERSEAS.
Every nation that man inhabits has some forces (or demons) to contend with. Whether it is political unrest or economic recession, famine or earthquakes, religious intolerance, militants invasion, subtle racism or drug burdens; there is always a fight behind-the-scenes. As lovely as it was to school in the Caribbean, there was always the rumor of hurricanes, volcanoes or storms lurking nearby. During my stay in St. Vincent, we experienced some fatal floods that didn’t exactly leave the island the same way, not to talk of earth tremors and several storm watches. Thank God for safety on all sides.

Those in other parts of the world can also count some of the challenges they face on a daily basis. Of course, Naija has a truckload of problems as well, but not everything is bad with us

So dear Wannabe-Abroadees, pls think before you leap. Wherever you plan to port to, make sure it is worth the cost of everything you have (which may include your life). 

Myth 5: LIFE IS AUTOMATIC WHEN YOU’RE ABROAD.

An automatic life simply put, is the life that has it all, the wealth, the glitz and the glamour. Suddenly several folks begin to look up to you like you’ve arrived. But it’s not that simple. Living abroad also has its ups and downs. Like everyone else in Naija, life happens to abroadees too. 

Some People struggle through physical, emotional or financial needs. Life abroad is generally more expensive, the next bills come in almost as soon as the previous ones get settled. The electricity/gas/cable being used are not free. Someone has to pay for all the enjoyment. A lot of people are also away from their loved ones, the loneliness faced can sometimes be terrifying. 

Trust me, not everything gets to Social media. Behind some happy faces are heavy hearts. So be careful not to turn that Uncle in Canada or Aunty in UK, into a vending machine, and don’t get mad if he or she can’t afford to send you some dollars/pounds this Christmas. 

Remember, Family isn’t a right, it’s a privilege.”

Myth 6: EVERYWHERE IN JAND IS BEAUTIFUL. 

Somewhere abroad vs LAGOS…😶

Credits:WEB

That a place is ugly, dirty or rundown, doesn’t mean it is exclusive to Nigeria. Although I’d say it’s more common here. Lots of places abroad are beautiful, no doubt. But one thing I think of is their high level of maintenance, and many of us lack that quality in Nigeria. 

Side-Story: I remember how I was almost furious with my second Landlady in SVG, when she complained about some stains on the gas cooker in my apartment. According to her, she and her husband have maintained an almost spotless cooker for 19 years (😱😁). I just had to swallow a chill pill because I initially thought I was doing my best as per cleaning the cooker. Funny enough, I’d visited some Nigerian friends’ apartments, whose cookers fared worse. [There were other things she complained of, but I won’t bore you with the details.]

My mindset about quality maintenance has since improved. 

My point is, a lot of us don’t pay enough attention to our immediate environment, much less public buildings. In  Secondary school, I even had the bad habit of defacing walls and furniture with my signature: “So and So was here”. I’ve since repented..lol.

Our carelessness doesn’t help our image as a country. And I’m a very strong advocate of keeping our environment clean. I love neat, organized and colorful places. Don’t you? 

We should all cultivate the habit of putting the trash in the trash can, and not inside the drains or on our roads. That’s a good place to start. Forget the fact that the Government sometimes employs cheap labor to clean the roads. Let the change begin with you. 

“The grass is always greener on the other side, because we’ve refused to maintain ours.”


Myth 7: STAYING ABROAD MEANS YOU ARE RICH.

Not everybody abroad is rich o. I know that from personal experience.

Not everyone has enough to even eat 3 square meals or pay their house rent.

As a foreign student (with no work-permit) plus Buhari’s Economic Recession, this year was especially tough. Thank God I made it back alive…Haha.

Pls don’t sell all your life’s investments to pursue a life outside the country without concrete plans. It’s at your own risk. That kind of pressure makes people do stupid things like drugs, con acts or prostitution and unfortunately some end up in jail. If you don’t have the credible means (skills/qualifications/funds) for sustenance abroad, pls stay at home. Tenkiu!

I hope you found the post enlightening. You can share some of your thoughts too. 

The next post in the series is 5 TIPS TO SURVIVE ABROAD. Pls watch this space.

Thank you for reading.

:::requ1ne:::