Lost out on Medicine? Help's here

Lost out on Medicine? Help's here


Lost out on Medicine? Help's here

Ashwini was quite happy when she got her CET results, and thought that she had come close to her goal of becoming a doctor. The results initially gave her hope of fulfilling her dream, but when the counselling started, she realised that her ranking was not high enough to get a merit seat. “Right from childhood I wanted to be a doctor,” sighed Ashwini. “I worked so hard for it. Biology has always been my favourite subject and I am very keen to be useful to society. It is such a noble profession.”

Ashwini is not alone in her dilemma. There are perhaps thousands who have dreamt for years and years of becoming doctors. Medicine is one course that has stood out compared to others. Every medical student gets hands-on experience for years, and even after qualifying all the exams, there is a one-year internship that puts the student through rigorous “on-the-job training” that includes rotation in all departments and all shifts.

Why a doctor?
It is not a question of whether medicine is a good career or not. It depends on WHY any person wants to be a doctor, and what his or her expectations are. In order to know whether you will make a good doctor or not, tick off the following check-list:
aAre you good in Biology, and do you enjoy Life Sciences?;

aAre you good in Chemistry and can you analyse well?;

aDo you have a good memory, sharp concentration and good retention?;

aAre you willing to work hard for many years to become a qualified medical professional, and then a few more years to become a specialist?

aCan you delay gratification when all your peers may be earning big money while you continue with your studies?;

aDo you enjoy interacting with different type of people, and do you have good communication skills?;

aDo you have good physical stamina and the ability to keep long and erratic hours?

If you have answered yes to most of the above questions, you are likely to do well in the medical field. But not getting a medical seat could spell the end of your dreams, right?


Alternative options
Ashwini did not lose hope. As soon as she found that she was not getting an MBBS seat, she enrolled for a four-year degree Bachelor of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology (BLSPA), offered by a college affiliated to Bangalore University, and she is now happy that she will be working with children who have hearing impairment, speech defects and other related problems. She was also pleasantly surprised to learn that last year’s BSLPA graduates have all acquired good jobs, either in Government hospitals, or abroad. Some have set up their own clinics and are looking forward to being self-employed professionals.

Unlike Ashwini many students are not aware that there are very good alternatives to MBBS, if you wish to work in the medical field. To start with, you still have an opportunity to join: BHMS (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery); BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery); BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery).

Each of these are of the same duration as MBBS, and include internship, enabling you to register in the respective medical council for licence to practice as a Doctor. There are three-year post-graduate MD courses also in each of these fields. Karnataka now boasts of dozens of colleges in these streams of medicine, and the fees is much lower than what one would pay for MBBS.

The famous Vivekananda Kendra for Yoga has now been given a deemed university status, and offers a 5-1/2 year Bachelor in Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (BNYS), which also makes you a holistic doctor. Details are available on www.svyasa.org, and admissions are open.

For others, there is the five-year BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), which can be followed by a three-year specialisation through MDS, the four-year B.Sc. Nursing, and the four-year B.Pharma. In each of these fields, higher studies and specialisation is available.

Though there is a slight surplus of dentists currently, the situation is likely to improve very soon, and there will be a greater demand in the years to come.

What Ashwini chose was only one of a dozen different paramedical courses ranging from three to four and half years, such as Operation Theatre Technology, Dialysis Technology, Cardiac Technology, Medical Records, Speech and Audiology, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Medical Lab Technology, Radiography, Optometry, etc.

Many of these fields also offer shorter diploma courses. Visit institutions like St. John’s Medical College, Baptist Hospital, Samvaad Institute of Speech and Hearing, S R Chandrashekhar Institute, Hosmat Hospital, and explore this highly lucrative and fast growing field. Admission is comparatively easier, courses are of shorter duration, and there is tremendous job satisfaction in improving quality of life of human beings.

For those who wish to carve a new path and serve people with special needs, Mobility India (www.mobility-india.org) at JP Nagar, Bangalore, offers a Bachelors in Prosthetics and Orthotics, i.e. aids and artificial limbs for the disabled. It gets you a degree from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) and is recognised by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).

If you have a love for animals, you may opt for a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) and become a doctor for animals.  This course is offered at various colleges affiliated to the University of Veterinary  and Fisheries Sciences, headquartered at Bidar.

And in case you would like to combine health-care with technology, then a few selected colleges in Karnataka offer B.E. in Medical Electronics or Biomedical Engineering (through CET and COMED-K). Medicine is becoming very high-tech and these technologists will play a significant role in saving lives and facilitating medical procedures.

Hospital administration
If you are a people’s person with leadership qualities, then after any of the above mentioned wide variety of courses, you can take up a two-year Masters in Hospital Administration (MHA), or post-graduate courses in Health Care Management.  These are offered not only locally, but also by prestigious institutions like BITS-Pilani, Administrative Staff College of India, Apollo Hospitals, etc. Similarly, you can take up study of psychology at the degree and post-graduation level, and then compete for a seat in the two-year M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology offered by NIMHANS, AIIMS etc., and become a mental health professional.

So, if you have a dilemma like Ashwini but have been unable to get a seat in MBBS, do not leave your dreams and move away into unrelated fields you may not be happy with.

You can be a successful professional in the medical field, by selecting any of the above alternatives. Admissions are open in most of the courses if you take a decision fast and move ahead. You will not regret it, and you will be proud of being a person who took the road less travelled and became a pioneer in serving humanity, even while earning a good income for yourself.

Once you settle down to a routine

Some of you may be waiting for the next year or semester to start. Others who have joined professional courses are awaiting the commencement of your course.  When you start off a new academic year, there is a sense of complacency.

Those who wish to excel, be different, and have a desire to carve out a unique future for themselves, need to look beyond routine. Like the proverbial turtle who overtook the hare, this is the time to look forward, plan, and take up some important activities that will build your future. The most important of them are:

Future plans: Start exploring what you wish to do after completion of your current course, fixing your career goals, and meeting people in those professions to find out how life will be for you later.

Additional courses: Check out your routine and see how much time you can spare. Instead of blindly going for coaching classes, try to take up part-time courses that will supplement your main course, give you additional skills, and take you closer to your goal.
Personality Development:  Often highly qualified young professionals do not make a quick start in their career because they lack communication and presentation skills. Take up activities to improve the way you interact with people.

Those who are different from others, who stand out in a crowd, and those who can “sell” themselves inevitably overtake all the others. That is why in marketing jargon, you are encouraged to identify and emphasise on your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) i.e. how you are different from others.  Whether you are in high school or in post-graduation, this is the time to build yourself up based on your USP, so that when you finish your education, you are far ahead of your peers and competition.

(Dr. Ali Khwaja, eminent career counsellor, outlines the wide range of alternatives for those who wish to pursue the medical field, work in health care, or contribute to the welfare of society.)

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