Unless you have been hiding under a stone lately, chances are you would have come across the words Doctors & Medical Profession in the print or electronic media for sure. The reference most likely would have been either the "Loot" being carried out by the private hospitals throughout the country or the vast number of vacant seats in medical & dental colleges.
But this is where it gets interesting. How can both these scenarios co-exist? If a medical/dental degree is the license to loot, shouldn't there be a be line for such seats in the colleges? The truth, as often the case is, is somewhere in the middle. Our media has once again done what it does best. Taken a few isolated cases & blown them up to tarnish a whole community of people who spend their entire lives actually serving others.
This particular piece is an attempt to draw attention to what actually goes into becoming a Doctor. And whether in the current environment, it is worth being one.
1. TIME - A commerce graduate takes a total of 5 years to finish post graduation. An Engineer, 6 years. A Medico? Anywhere between 9-12 years. In fact it takes 5 years+ to just finish graduation! And then starts the entire rigmarole of specialization, super specialization. In other words, that time of your life you probably spent earning money & then blowing it up without a care in the world, a doctor spent that locked in his room cramming for the next exam.
2. MONEY - 9-12 years of studying does not just reflect the time taken, but also the money spent each year in tuition fees, boarding lodging & other miscellaneous expenses. And thats a lot of money. Really, a LOT of money. And here we are not even talking about the money that has already been spent on the coaching institutes before getting a seat in a medical college!
3. EFFORTS - Internal Assessment, Theory exams, Practical exams, Viva-Voce, Projects, Seminars, Assignment, Publications, Dissertations, Paper, Poster......Phew. All in a day's work for a medico. For them, the world is a blur that moves from one deadline to another for years altogether. With little or no respite in between.
4. REWARDS - Finally, after spending countless hours & rupees, a person gets his degrees & is ready to step into the world. It's time to collect the rewards, as they say. And this is where the reality really bites. For there is no placement, no job interviews, no MNC's waiting with fat salary & lucrative packages. The entire edifice has to be built from scratch! Those whose parents are already in this field have it a little easy as they have some support to fall back upon. But those who don't, they need to get the dough required to set up a independent practice. Failing which, the only option is to try & get a job. And this is where the joke gets really funny. After spending a decade studying, the salary offered to a freshly passed out Dentist is Rs 15000/month, which is less than what a salesman gets in a mall. (No disrespect)
5. RESPECT - Often we hear it being said that 'Medicine is a noble profession'. In years gone by, this phrase represented the respect that was bestowed upon the doctors. Nowadays though, it's a stick used to beat up the doctors with, in order to get them to drop their charges. There are numerous examples of people who visit a doctor & come back complaining about the exorbitant charges. Here exorbitant generally means Rs 500 as consultation charges. And that same Rs 500 won't even get you a decent pizza in today's times! So people are comfortable shelling out more for a meal outside than they are to pay to a person who is actually trying to cure them. And those who do, do not wait a second before calling the doctor a money making monster. Respect anyone?
6. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - An extension of the cliche, 'Medicine is a noble profession' is the sense of social responsibility that the doctors are made to feel at every step. There isn't any problem with that, but why are only Doctors obliged to have this responsibility? Are the Engineers, Lawyers, Policemen & other professions not a part of the society? So why not them too, to the same extent as the doctors? The moment Doctors go on a strike (and it takes lot for them to do that) to get their voices heard, the whole world points accusatory fingers reminding them of their responsibilities. A doctor never abdicates his/her duty unless they're left with no choice. Yes, Doctors have a greater responsibility towards the society, but the society too has a responsibility towards their doctors. We are so quick to remind the doctors of their responsibilities. It's about time the society too took a along hard look at itself.
No one is remotely implying that all the doctors are good. Far from it, there are certainly a small minority that are monsters in the guise of doctors, but they are just that, a small minority! And such small minorities exist in every profession in this world! Is it justifiable to paint a whole profession as bad for the misdeeds of a few?
The amount of hard work that goes into becoming a Doctor or a Dentist is unimaginable to those who haven't been through it. So next time, if you meet someone who has, just appreciate it. That's all that there is...
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