Perhaps, no other professional in the world gets as much respect as a doctor. And we all know the kind of money they make specially the specialists. But that's only the upfront.
The core function of a doctor seems to be quite simple - that of treating and healing people suffering from diseases or injuries. As a doctor you'll examine the patients, ascertain the cause the of the disease or injury, prescribe medical tests if needed, interpret the results of medical tests, diagnose either on the basis of the medical tests and experience, prescribe medicines and administer treatment. Apart from treating and healing diseases and injuries, you'll also advice patients on preventive measures.
Doctors perform their functions in conjunction with other health care professionals like nurses, medical technologists and others. But the final responsibility lies with the doctor. So, the profession is of precision.
The margin of error is zero, or has to be minimal. You can understand that. There are no second chances and no trial and error please! A single wrong treatment can further aggravate the problem or even result in death.
If the study for MBBS was not grueling enough you could opt to specialise or even super specialise in one or more areas of medical science. Some areas are called clinical specialisations because they involve direct treatment of patients and some others are called basic clinical science areas because those fields do not involve direct treatment of patients.
Some of the clinical specialisations are:
- ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat)
- Obstetrics & Gynaecology
- Veneral Diseases (or Skin and Veneral Diseases),
- Community Medicine
- Critical Care Medicine
- Forensic Medicine
- Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
- Radiology (or Radiodiagnosis)
That's not all. You could better your prospect with a super specialisation under your belt. They include:
- Cardio-thoracic Surgery
- Paediatric Surgery
- Plastic Surgery
- Endocrine Surgery
You have to be:
- Understanding and caring
- Urge to serve mankind
- Above average analytical and reasoning abilities.
- Good understanding and a strong liking for biological sciences. You must have a strong ability to understand, comprehend, memorise and recall scientific theories, facts and hypothesis.
Other qualities needed are:
- Investigative and critical thinking
- Patience and cool temperament
- To practise as a doctor you got to have at least an MBBS degree. After MBBS you can go for a specialisation in MD/MS (Doctor of Medicine/Master of Surgery).
- If you want to super specialise, then you have to do a DM (Diploma in Medicine, actually a Post-doctoral level course)/ MD/M.Ch. (Master of Chiropractor)/MS.
- Alternatively, you can do a diploma in a particular speciality after your MBBS. You could attempt examinations for becoming a Diplomat of National Board (which offers certificates equivalent to MD/MS).
- You can venture out to UK for FRCS (Fellow of Royal College of Surgeon) or MRCP (Member of Royal College of Physicians) or related qualification after your MBBS.
- Similarly, you can also go to USA after your MBBS/MD/MS to obtain a specialised certificate or diploma. All these will better your career prospects.
- General and multi speciality hospitals - both the government hospitals and corporate hospitals
- Speciality hospitals and critical care centers which treat patients with emergency and multiple health problems, injuries, etc.
- Polyclinics and speciality clinics
- Nursing homes
- Medical Colleges, which offer courses like MBBS, MD, MS, DM, M.Ch., etc.
- Industrial hospitals generally attached to large factories.
- Health care centers run by governments and private organisations in various district headquarters, small towns and even in villages.
- Pharmaceutical companies in their sales support functions, medical documentation function, or as an advisor in the Medical Advisory Board after you have 4-5 years of experience.
MONEY & OTHER BENEFITS
You have to make a very humble beginning once you pass your MBBS. You will have to work as an intern (what they call a rotating intern meaning that you will be assigned duties in multiple departments) for a year to get your registration with the Medical Council of India. As an intern you'll earn a stipend in the range of Rs 3,500-4,500 a month. Registration is a must; otherwise you will not be able to practice.
Then you will have to be a House Staff/Junior Doctor in a hospital or other health care establishment with a salary ranging of Rs 4,000-6,000 a month. If you get a job in a medical college as a Clinical Assistant, then you can expect to get Rs 8,000 a month.
But after this period is over, you can look forward to a rising income curve. After completing MD/MS, you can get a job as a Medical Officer/Senior House Staff/ Senior resident. This again depends on whether you are just doing a job or enrolled in a super specialisation course like DM/M.Ch. Salary in these jobs will be about Rs 10,000 gross per month to start with.
A job in a medical college as a Clinical Tutor will fetch you about Rs 12,000 per month. In corporate hospitals and other private healthcare establishments, you can expect a higher salary after your MD/MS. If you are a Surgeon, you will get allowance for conducting surgery or assisting a senior surgeon. After your super specialisation, your salary will shoot up to Rs 15,000 a month.
Of course, corporate and private healthcare establishments pay you much more depending on your specialisation and years of experience. You can expect anywhere between Rs 20,000 - 30,000 a month.
Thereafter, everything depends on your performance and reputation. If you build up a reputation, your earnings will be substantial. A senior doctor in a corporate hospital can get anywhere between Rs 3-5 lakh a year. In a government hospital, you will get about Rs 17,000-25,000 a month.
In a pharmaceutical company your pay will be in the range of Rs 20,000-40,000 or more a month. If you have 2/3 years experience you could earn Rs 14,000 per month.
After you make a name for yourself you will be working in several establishments and your gross earning can be more than Rs 1,00,000 a month. A super speciality surgeon can mint as much as Rs 1,00,000 or more in a single day and build a few crores a year!
It's a rosy and bright future folks. The healthcare industry as a whole is booming all over the world. It is going to touch a figure of $4 trillion by 2005 according to an estimate. India is not going to be far behind.
In India, it is estimated that, by 2005, the turnover of the healthcare industry will be Rs 75,000 crore, making it one of the largest industry sectors. The corporate hospitals which are coming up everywhere in the country will drive the growth of this industry.
Another factor that will boost the healthcare sector in India is the opening up of the medical insurance field, meaning that the Central Government has allowed private investment in the field. As of now, the corporate and private healthcare establishments are very expensive for the middle class population. Only 0.2 per cent of India's population is covered under medical insurance as against 75 per cent of USA. So, as more and more people will be able to bear the cost of modern medicare, more and more private healthcare establishments will come up.
The Central and State Governments are also planning to follow WHO's (World Health Organisation) norm of one hospital bed for every 300 people. To meet this target, more than 1,50,000 beds are needed as of now.
So this means that the demand for qualified healthcare professionals will increase. No wonder Medical Science is tauted as one of the most prospective professions of the next decade.
56th Evac. Hospital: Letters of a WWII Army Doctor
Lawrence D. Collins, Carlo W. D'Este
Texas A&M University Press
A Country Doctor
Sarah Orne Jewett
A Day in the Life of a Doctor
Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Claudine G. Wirths
Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.