Monday, July 24, 2017

Medicowesome secret project: Stalking the Future

What is the secret project? How can I participate?
Name: Devanshi Modi
Passion: Writing

From the moment that I have joined MBBS, my relatives and my folks haven’t missed out on any opportunity to make me realize how clueless I am about my future by asking me just one question, "Beta, what do you want to specialize in?" While I’m perfectly capable of answering it with many sharp retorts, I choose to settle with a polite smile and end up saying, “I haven’t decided yet”, because my superego manages to prevail every single time. Now that I’m in the final year, I can’t even use that excuse of, “I haven’t been exposed to all the fields yet.” And yet, in the past four years I haven’t been able to answer the question of, “What next?”

The problem is that my family, relatives, friends from other streams and even most of my peers are very peacefully settled with the idea that once the MBBS student graduates, he will specialize, maybe super-specialize and then keep practicing in a health care setup till his last breath. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this idea and it’s probably the best thing that one could do with their set of knowledge and skills after spending half a decade to graduate. However, what I can’t get past is, the rigid mentality that a doctor must constrain themselves to a clinical practice, an academic environment, or join the administrative services when, this is also the time, where doctors are wading across to other streams to explore, learn about another field and apply what they know.

For instance, how peculiar does the idea of obtaining an MBA or Diploma in Management after a MBBS/MD sound to one? I bet you are already imagining your scoffing relatives and scrapping the idea in the largest dustbin that you can find. However, it is this very idea that gains importance with each passing day. Dual degree programs of MD/MBA have been a reality overseas since a few years and recently in our country as well, there are doctors albeit small in number who are pursuing the same at reputed institutes like IIM and ISB. What do they do with a degree that is largely taken up by every other engineering or art graduate student? Manage the health care setup in the most efficient way possible to provide better health care facilities. But that again, would be restricting yourself. One can venture into the pharmaceutical industry where professionals who have dabbled in management and medicine are eagerly sought for to handle their operations as consultants and frame better insurance policies or for that matter be a part of their Research and Development sector. Our healthcare setup is suffering because most doctors lack knowledge about managing limited finances and handling a setup as massive as ours. I think it is about time we fix that.

While we are on the subject of dual degrees, it will be a job incomplete if I don’t mention the MD/MPH (Master of Public Health) and the MD/PhD programs which are the obvious choices as courses for people who wish to be a part of regulatory bodies like the WHO or be a part of a dedicated research institute respectively.

Medical journalism is an upcoming field thanks to the widely ill reported pieces of news that are published in the newspaper, social media, and the television. I’m not even underestimating the importance of this field because while we have Google to reduce the knowledge gap between the
patient and the doctor, people still have no idea about medicine regardless of how smart they become by reading a couple of articles. The newspapers have often published case reports and researches that are not just wrong but at times almost ludicrous. So by pursuing this field, you can do greater good by at least letting people know that a hysterectomy was performed in a woman and not a man. If you need evidence, keep glancing at the medical reports in daily newspapers and you’ll know what is needed to be done.

Careers are cropping up for illustrators as medical literature expands and the demand for better visualization of what is on paper grows. There are some beautiful software programs out there that we need to appreciate for whatever we are able to imagine about the human body. While this particular field is rarely taken up by doctors since this is a more artistic profession, it is never too late for us to be a part of it because who better understands the depiction of the human body than a doctor himself?

What I’m trying to get to with this post is that, there is a world beyond the MD/DNB/MS/DM/Mch/FRCS/MRCP (good God, do they ever end?) that is worthy enough to explore and the best part about that world is that it’s not necessary to leave your conventional medical world for it if you can manage to balance it. Mind you, this isn’t a career guidance article but simply a medium to share whatever information I have gathered when I had way too much time on my hands. People who are thinking of asking me about the ‘scope’ (one of the textbook words I have come to hate) of these fields, I am someone who is still trying to figure out my own life so there is hardly a point to that question. Go look it up; how far is the search engine that we otherwise use for cute cat and dog compilations or to stalk a crush? Stalk the future for a change and maybe you will like it better than the crush.

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