Dear Talitha

In most medical schools in Australia, at the moment, you have to be at university for either five or six years.

Then you have to work in a hospital for a minimum of one but usually two years. After that doctors usually spend more years in hospitals before they choose which direction they want to go in. This might mean more hospital work or it might mean moving out into a general practice training scheme, for example.

If you want to be a doctor when you grow up, probably you will have to train for longer.

Doctors are always going to conferences and lectures and reading journals. They go on learning about medicine all the time. I spend hours every week reading or going to lectures.

You have to be reasonably smart to be a doctor. But you don't have to be brilliant. Probably the best thing you have to be is a reasonably good problem-solver.

And you have to like the job. It would be a very difficult job to do if you really didn't like it because it's a very demanding job and if you hated it all the time you would find it really, really difficult. So it's a great mistake to go and be a doctor because somebody else wants you to be a doctor. You should really only do it if you think it's the kind of thing you'd like to do yourself.

And I think I get paid enough to make all the hard work worth it, but some doctors don't.

Yours sincerely 

Virginia R. Claire

read the question in the original letter