Apply now

Dr Naba Waheed (Maldives)

Townsville University Hospital intern Dr Naba Waheed moved from the Maldives, an island nation off the Indian subcontinent, to study medicine at JCU.

The 2021 graduate’s decision to complete Honours in the final two years of her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree came with challenges but she has no regrets.

“Honours with medicine is a massive undertaking and the workload is one not to be underestimated, but I can guarantee you that it will be worthwhile in the end” is Dr Waheed’s message to medical students contemplating Honours.

“Research is an integral part of practising medicine in this day and age, and medical school is a great place to start. As a junior doctor, for example, trying to get into your specialties of choice requiring research, you already have at hand some skills to independently take on projects because you learned the essential skills in a highly supervised setting as an undergrad.

"You get advanced research skills under the supervision of successful researchers.”

Dr Waheed (left) with a couple of her friends who are also undertaking the MBBS program at JCU.

In Dr Waheed’s island paradise home of Maldives, even vital services such as chemotherapy require patients to leave the country for treatment.

“Growing up in the Maldives with the reality of constantly travelling overseas to gain quality health care with the limited services available in my country was one of the biggest driving factors to becoming a doctor,” Dr Waheed says.

“As clich├ęd as it may seem, I genuinely have never thought of becoming anything but a doctor. Both my aunt and uncle are paediatricians and they were in medical school abroad when I was growing up, so they were my inspiration for a long time.

"I remember being so fascinated with all their medical textbooks shelved in front of me and growing in size and number over the years.

“It was a challenging journey as an international student to balance final years of medical school and Honours whilst battling through a pandemic with my family being overseas. However, I think the last two years were when what I believe to be my personal strengths, perseverance and resilience, came into play the most. I 100 percent always love a challenge!”

Studying Honours concurrently with years five and six of the MBBS degree is just one of the Honours pathways available to JCU students wishing to gain real research experience during their medical degree. Alternatively, students can pursue Honours over year 6 and their intern year (or any time up to postgraduate year 5).

A one-year MBBS is also available to medical students after they have completed the first three years of their Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree. In this case, JCU MBBS students are able to take one year out of the degree to complete a full-time research project before rejoining the MBBS.