Licensure examinations are set and conducted by governing bodies or a branch of office that is duly recognized by the Department of Education which varies from one state to another. In the United States, the USMLE is a multi-step examination taken on a scheduled basis that starts sometime during the 4th year on the medical school and the final exam sometime at the end of the first year of residency.
The exam originally was in paper form until it was computerized in 2004. In other countries such as Canada, Australia, European countries and among others, operate under the same principles comparative to the USMLE of the US but may differ only in procedural steps, types of exam and time that it is taken by medical students and graduates.
Despite the years of education from preparatory courses to the medicine proper and until the residency to sub-specialty, doctors undergo such mind-breaking exams. Is the medical course alone insufficient to test the level of knowledge? Why are licensure exams needed? For what purpose does it serve?
Licensure exams for doctors in whatever country that it is undertaken serve to test the capabilities of doctors to apply the different vital concepts on basic sciences to the practice of medicine such as anatomy, biology, pharmacology and the sort and the interdisciplinary areas such as nutrition and dietetics and how these subjects apply to the practice of medicine. Furthermore such exams also assess the capacity of doctors or graduates to apply their medical knowledge and skills all at the same time and unsupervised in response to patient care and management in terms of preventive, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and promotion of health.
Because both the sick and the well depend for doctors’ advice and even their lives, it is only fitting that they be educated and trained accordingly. Furthermore, their level of education, amount of trainings and degree of sacrifices they make is commensurate to the most treasured aspect that we delegate them with – our life. As doctors, it is their responsibility to handle our life the way we do with glasses because once it is broken, just like our life, no amount of repair can be done to bring the pieces back together.
Even if such licensure exams vary from one country to another, they all share the same purpose – that is to test, screen and bestow only the deserving examinees the honor, responsibility, prestige and privilege to be addressed as doctor and to allow the responsible and excellent practice of medicine.