DM/MCH/FELLOWSHIPS/CME, Where does the ordeal end?
Every 90’s born Indian kid has heard the parental wish for them to become a doctor or an engineer. For some of them, their kids did become doctors. “Struggle till 10th,” they said. The kid secured 92%. “Just a little longer, till 12th and this tiny thing – entrance exam”. The kid secured a seat in the MBBS entrance exam. The thing is, Indian households are generally very protected, nurtured to ensure cultural and moral fulfilment. Not too sure of that anymore. Thanks to changing times, our and subsequent generations have poorer morals, lower self-esteem and a lot of insecurity. Nonetheless, these kids who enter the HOSPITAL setup with their fresh-from-the-oven innocence have no clue what they’re up for.
You think you’ll be treating diseases, that there will be some rare disease you’ll find a unique cure for, ultimately saving humanity. But you didn’t know about the post-graduation MD, MS, DNB, did you? Oh, you already knew it had become a necessity to earn respect and value to your existing MBBS degree. Then you must not be knowing about the DM/MCh/Fellowship is it? Oh, you knew about that too? Acha, that’s why you took up an end branch! Smart!
What are these terms? Just a bunch of abbreviations after your name. You’re not even sure if it adds any more value to your existence or whether your parents will love you more just because you got 3 additional degrees. Funnily, it does not even mean that you’ll eat cake for breakfast every day or butter chicken for lunch or biryani every night. The fact is, whether you earn Rs.30,000 a month or Rs.5,00,000 a month, you’re still going to eat dal-rice/roti-subzi. Okay, maybe the occasional weekend biryani but Zomato won’t refuse delivery if you don’t have three degrees, is it? And you’ll even prefer the same home-cooked style and not a fine dine Indian fusion fancy restaurant with meals defined in Tharoorian English for every meal. Then why? Why the constant need to get more degrees and certifications? Why earn more?
Some doctors study further because MBBS per-se doesn’t help you get a decent pay to sustain your daily living, nor a good standard considering how everyone else is in the rat race to specialise further and how our population is educating themselves more on google. It has now become more a necessity. This is where you’ll find your maximum competition. For those who are MD or MS graduates, further education is to enhance your expertise in the subject. It is also because by now you walk into private practice and associate yourself with a few hospitals (corporates/ government/ your clinic) and you desire to get societal recognition. It is also because there are 10 other MDs within a 2km radius of your practice and you have to be somewhat different from the other MD’s. Why else will the patient come to you, right? In the truest perspective, some doctors study further because it makes them happy. Studying further, learning more about their field of interest is not a matter of survival but more of quenching the mind’s thirst.
You feel that if you keep studying further, you’ll be happier. You’ll earn better, you’ll have to work less, you’ll be recognized among your peers and society. But the fact is, it is not your degree alone that defines you. It is how you communicate, the rapport that you build with your patient, your availability towards your patient or organisation, the trust you build with them that ensures your success. This can happen even if you’re an MBBS graduate practising in the busiest of cities or a super-specialist practising in the remotest of villages.
Dr. Suranjana Basak
MD, DNB Internal Medicine, PGDADCCE (RCP, UK)
Physician & Endocrinologist at Reliance Hospital, Navi Mumbai
Chief Intensivist- NMMC CIDCO Covid-19 ICU, Navi Mumbai
Writer, Researcher, Altrusitic. All about making a difference.