Doctors are always frowned upon by the society for earning good. The truth behind those earnings is hardly visible. While our engineering counterparts are earning and on their feet by the age of 22, an average doctor does not start earning before the age of 26/27. This provided, he/she has never had a gap year. I would retriate that the exorbitant hospital fees are not doctor’s fees. Most of the hospitals are these days managed by wealthy business houses and the incoming /outgoing are managed by financial analysts. A doctor is just a salaried employee. Most of the high earning doctors work 18 hours a day, justifying their salaries to these analysts. Most of the doctors miss their children’s milestones, not to speak of the moments in schools where both the child and the parent would have wished to be. At times, they have left their own sick loved one just to tend to many others.
My first stipend in Internship was a mere Rs 1700. The average I needed to survive was somewhere around Rs 5000. This was almost 18 years before in the year 2003. I would usually feel ashamed to ask my parents for anything by that time. Internship grounds you, makes you realise you are just toddlers in the big world of medicine. No one becomes a doctor just by finishing the coveted MBBS. You realise at that time all you have is just a little more understanding of the diseases. I didn’t even know what specialisation I should choose, whether I was cut out for medicine or surgery. I was fascinated by Pediatrics though.
The final year exams are probably the last you are with the people who have become a part of your circle. Most of my batchmates went back to their home towns to finish the Internship. Being from a small town and from a non medico family, I was hardly aware of the legalities of whether I could go back to my hometown. But frankly speaking, I was more or less comfortable in my space. I didn’t want to go back home with the uncertainties in future. What good I was as a plain graduate? Would anyone employ me after graduation? Did I even have any skills to be called a doctor? I had a year to prepare for post graduate entrance exam and I wanted to utilise it well.
Interns were like glorified nurses whom everyone could boss around, just that they were addressed as doctors. Did I learn any skills during that period of 1 year? Well, I learnt to put a cannula inside the viens. I learnt to draw blood. I learnt to prescribe medicines for common ailments. I learnt to put sutures to small wounds. I even managed to deliver a few kids. I did an episiotomy and stitched one of them. We sometimes would be subjected to sleepless nights during residents strike etc. A few of us friends had an enjoyable time during the rural posting in Paithan, near Aurangabad. I do remember being a part of the polio campaigns. At the end of internship, I was good enough to be posted as a general physician in some district hospital. But was that enough? Would I have been able to save a life, if required? I do not have an answer to that, because I never faced such a situation. Yet, somewhere in my heart I’m afraid of knowing the answer. I would have been a good team player but left on my own, I am not sure. I guess, that’s where the medical education in India needs to change for good.
Towards the end of internship, I was more worried about the PG entrance, so would resort to studying long hours again. The fear over future loomed large more near and more bleak than ever. The date of state entrance had still not been declared, and I had not managed to crack the all India entrance.
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