The practice of medicine is one of the noblest professions in the world. It is also the most demanding in terms of work hours, responsibility, and work ethics as well as the most challenging and competitive profession.
A medical practitioner frequently holds the patient’s life in his hands – often literally. The practice of medicine is also the most rewarding career you can choose if you are so inclined because the sheer joy of having saved an individual’s life, made it more comfortable, or other joys such as bringing a baby into this world can only be understood when experienced.
If you are aspiring to study and practice medicine, you perhaps have an inherent and intense desire to help the human race. Apart from that though, there may be other reasons why you would take up medical practice as a career.
What to expect if you choose to study medicine.
GAINING ADMISSION TO MEDICAL COLLEGE
Why study medicine?
A student may take up the medical profession for many reasons ranging from herd behaviour to a strong and compelling desire to help humanity or simply for the financial benefit it affords.
It is important to remember however, that although the profession is alluring and lucrative; jumping into it is not the best idea if you are not committed. Apart from ethics and morality, as we already said, the profession is highly demanding in terms of time, devotion, commitment, and sincerity. You must give your all to this profession in order to be a good practitioner. If you are not passionate enough or wholeheartedly committed, you might end up with early burnout, frustration, and a whole lot of other problems.
Don’t be disheartened though there is a good side to practicing medicine too.
- If you are naturally empathetic and caring, being a doctor or a nurse will earn you great respect and even reverence.
- Medical practice is highly satisfying in that it is exhilarating to be able to save lives and help the ailing.
- Medical practice – whether you work at a medical facility or set up your own practice – is inherently a stable vocation for those committed to it.
- There is no doubt that most areas of medical practice are financially lucrative but that should not be the motivation behind choosing a medical career.
- The healthcare industry is diverse, wide spread, and growth oriented, offering you many career choices and opportunities to grow both laterally and vertically; so if you do not want to go into practice you can still work on the periphery.
- The field of medicine can be extremely alluring to those willing and eager to take on challenges and think on their feet.
- Healthcare practice is global and there is great opportunity to expand.
The fact remains however, that the profession demands sincerity, commitment, and passion – without that you may be successful but not satisfied.
Diversity in Healthcare
Before talking about the diverse career opportunities in healthcare it would be prudent to clarify the difference in types of careers. Apart from the front line workers – that is the doctors and nurses – there are several allied medical careers that you can take up such as a med-tech engineer, research, dentistry, therapy, diagnostics, and many more. As such jobs in healthcare may be categorized as –
- Healthcare Technology
- Healthcare management
- Secondary care – such as nursing
- Paramedical careers
Some of these may overlap and other career options may likely emerge.
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What to expect if you choose to study medicine
Medical career options and opportunities apart, if you choose to enroll in medical school, particularly if you are aspiring to work on the frontline, gear up for 4 – 7 years of rigorous study and training after you have completed high school – HSC or Std. 12th. Be prepared also high expenditure – not only in terms of college fees but also hostel accommodations, travel and other overheads; and eventually – if you desire clinical practice – to set up your practice.
You also need to be emotionally strong yet empathetic and compassionate – after all, you will be dealing with the most gruesome aspects of human life – ill health. This is not an easy feat to accomplish as the two are polar opposites. On the one hand you need to remain unaffected by suffering, the sight of gruesome wounds, blood, and death so that you can provide the required care, on the other hand, you must communicate empathetically with the patient and their relatives, patiently answering all their questions with compassion and warmth.
Having a sympathetic bedside manner while remaining clinically detached is one of the many skills a healthcare practitioner must have.Tweet
On a more pragmatic level, as you progress through medical college, you will not only attend lectures in college but will also be required to attend a host of seminars and talks to enhance your practical knowledge. You will get the opportunity to observe doctors and nurses at work – from the other side of the table – and learn from them the nuances of the profession. For your “practical” you will be dissecting everything from dead animals to human bodies to learn the anatomy and the various complications that may arise out of various diseases and ailments.
If you choose to pursue an allied career, you might learn business administration, marketing, technology – even engineering – and other aspects of business. Depending upon your choice, you might learn how to operate various machines, tools, and other technology within the field, prepare and read medical reports, and a whole lot more.
No matter what specialty you choose – such as dentistry, internal medicine, anesthesia, or radiology to name a few – you will have a variety of career options in health care.
Interestingly, engineering and medicine – too seemingly opposite industries – meet at the crossroads of med-tech – technology for healthcare.Tweet
GAINING ADMISSION TO MEDICAL COLLEGE
The first step towards becoming a doctor is to complete your high school – or HSC – with science as your major subjects and thereafter, gain admission to an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) course. Remember that you must opt for Biology in place of Mathematics if you want to study medicine.
For more on various academic streams read our blog on Choosing your Academic Stream.
The MBBS course – as it stands currently – involves 41/2 years – divided into 9 semesters – of study followed by a year of internship. During the study period, the student is introduced to the theoritical aspects of medicine – such as the anatomy, the various systems within the human body, and the study of drugs and their chemistry, psychology, and so on. During the internship year, the student is exposed to the actual field practice assisting senior doctors working in teaching hospitals.
Of note here is that the concept of academics has changed following the announcement of the New National Education Policy.
The eligibility criteria for MBBS are to have passed HSC with PCB (Physics Chemistry Biology) as well as English as a part of your curriculum. You will then be required to appear for a central entrance test for NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test).
Colleges admit students on first come first serve basis beginning from the top scorers and moving down the line. As such merely passing HSC may not guarantee admission into MBBS.
Since most admission processes have been digitized, you may check online for the college of your choice. Join us on Facebook to be sure to get your list of top medical colleges in India.
According to the Medical Council of India there are more than 500 colleges offering MBBS courses with a total of nearly 80,000 seats as against more than 15 lakh applicants each year.
Having completed your MBBS you may choose to exit the system and begin practicing, opt for a specialization, or do both simultaneously – although the last may be a tad difficult to manage.
Traditionally, the most popular choices include MD (Doctorate) or MS (Master of Surgery) in a chosen medical specialty. Join us on Facebook to get your list of specialties and sub- specialties.
Some students prefer to go an alternate route and begin working with government hospitals, defense services, or multispecialty hospitals an grow internally. Others opt for research in various areas such as bio-technology, genealogy, and other areas of medicine. There is also the option to begin your own private practice if wish. Yet another option is to enter the field of medical administration which requires a certain mindset and understanding of the medical profession. Yet another up-coming alternate is the medico-legal profession wherein students pursue 2 or 3 years of law school and provide legal advice and aid to those within the profession. Also, palliative care centers and assisted living are emerging areas where an MBBS graduate might find employment.
Want a list of career opportunities in healthcare? Stay Tuned for our HR section!
In fact, healthcare has grown to be a global industry with managed care becoming increasingly popular in India. This has opened up a multitude of opportunities for those who wish to work within the industry yet but prefer to stay on the periphery.
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