Career Information

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A favorite dream of parents is that their ward becomes a Doctor. This profession is one of the toughest careers to pursue in India. A Doctor is someone who can identify and help in the cure of illness. For someone to be considered a doctor, one must obtain the MBBS degree through an authorised medical college. MBBS is the abbreviation for ‘Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.’ This is a required degree to become a fully licensed medical professional. One can start individual practice as a doctor or take up assignments with hospitals to practice medicine in India after successful completion of MBBS course. In order to get enrollment in a medical college, medical aspirants need to pass an entrance exam by appearing for NEET, AIIMS or JIPMER and clear the test.

Starting Salary

What does a Doctor do? What are the activities carried out by a doctor?
A doctor has two broad categories of duties. The first is finding the cause of illness or providing diagnosis to the patient and the second is providing treatment to the patient based on the diagnosis. Some doctors are also in charge of performing research work for finding new ways of treating illness including conducting research on illness, finding medicine or cure procedures. There are a few doctors who also take the responsibility of teaching young doctors and other medical practitioners. As a doctor one has to keep reading and researching about the latest medical innovations and procedures. Doctors are also required to study about medicines and laboratory findings. Most doctors spend a part of their time with Medical Representatives who try to sell their medicines of their respective companies, but also inform the doctors about procedures and innovations of their company. Almost every doctor employs medical staff who carry out the administrative work required in the profession including patient appointment management, clinic patient queue management, fee collection, record keeping and other non medical activities.

Difference between a Medical Doctor and a PhD Doctor
One can be referred to as a doctor on completion of the MBBS degree. However, most people refer to an MD when they mention a doctor. MD is an acronym for Doctor of Medicine and is used for someone who diagnoses a patient's cause of illness, and tries to cure the illness through medicine or other medical procedures. When someone is referred to as Doctor, but is not a Doctor of Medicine, it usually is a representation of a Doctorate in some field which may or may not be in the field of medicine. For example if someone has completed a PhD in Philosophy, that person is addressed as a Doctor which implies that she has obtained her Doctorate in the subject. A PhD may be awarded in any subject by a competent university, on completion of the thesis of study which usually is done as a 5 year program and involves a lot of research work.

Why should one pursue a career as a medical professional?
Why not? This is such a noble profession and has so many perks associated with it, that rather than ask why one should pursue a career in medicine, one should ask why not. This is one the most stable, ever in demand, paying, respected, challenging, satisfying and gratifying careers. The question which would be more relevant in case of this profession is, are you cut out to become a doctor? Since this is such a fulfilling profession, it has a lot of challenges in terms of getting the chance to become a doctor. First and foremost is the toughest challenge of clearing a required pre medical entrance exam to get admission into a medical college. As mentioned above medical entrance exams in India are one of the toughest exams to crack. Even after one gets admission into a medical college, there are further challenges like being able to cope up with the syllabus and curriculum which is one of the most grueling and challenging among all degree programs. Getting admission to MS or Master of Surgery or MD - Doctor of Medicine after completion of MBBS also requires doctors to clear another tougher entrance exam. On top of that the working conditions are extremely tough even during internship and learning phase, as one has to be in the midst of patients and relatives who are undergoing tough times both physically and mentally which may easily brush off to the doctors and interns. The number of doctors is not adequate for the population of India and so there is always more work that needs to be done and thus the work demand even after you become a doctor is extremely difficult. Since the field of medicine is undergoing rapid changes with ground breaking research work and new medicines and medical procedures, along with the fast paced technological advancements in diagnosis and treatment, it becomes essential for doctors to continuously study and upgrade knowledge of the field. In Spite of all the challenges faced by doctors, it is still one of the most sought after careers and also one of the most rewarding careers.

What specializations can be pursued in Medical Practice?
The most sought after specialization after completion of MBBS is the MS or Master of Surgery. MD - Doctor of Medicine is also a preferred specialization after completion of MBBS. A specialization as DNB or Diplomate of the National Board is also available for Doctors. Post graduation courses are for 3 years duration and there are entrance exams for seats for Post Graduation which are tougher to crack than the Pre Medical Examination like NEET, AIIMS or JIPMER. Post graduate diploma courses are of 2 years duration.

What Courses should one pursue to become a Doctor?
MBBS or ‘Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery’ is the obvious course to enroll for in order to become a Doctor. MBBS is a 5.5 years duration course where 4.5 years is for academic studies and there is a compulsory internship of 1 year which MBBS students have to complete. The course is divided into 9 semesters and each semester is of 6 months duration.

Key Subjects in Medical Practice
Anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, physiology, and forensic medicine are the key subjects taught in MBBS courses. Most medical colleges also have a medical hospital attached to the campus. Real world training is imparted to students in the out-patient department (popularly known as OPD) and in hospital wards. Case based study with assessment of medical history of patients, examination, diagnosis of illness are part of complete patient management which is an integral part of the MBBS course. Clinical procedures and practical skills required to take care of patients are also imparted in this comprehensive course. There is a system of rotation of departments which ensures students get ample opportunities to explore different aspects of medicine, clinical decision making and grasp research methodologies and treatment procedures and functions. The rotation continues during the internship year which is the final year of the MBBS course.

Entrance exams for becoming an Doctor in India

There are 3 major entrance exams conducted in India for admissions into medical colleges and institutions. These are NEET, JIPMER and AIIMS. NEET stands for National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test . NEET exams are conducted by the CBSE Board ( Central Board of Secondary Education). The NEET exams are held once each year and is the primary exam required to get a seat in a total of 66500 seats available across 470 medical colleges in India. JIPMER MBBS is the entrance exam for admission into Jawahar Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry. This test is conducted by JIPMER Puducherry once a year and there are only 200 seats available on clearing this entrance exam. 150 seats are available for JIPMER Puducherry Campus and 50 seats are available for its Karaikal campus. JIPMER was declared as an institute of national importance and was allowed to conduct its own examination through an act of parliament. AIIMS is an acronym for All India Institute of Medical Sciences. AIIMS MBBS is the most prestigious entrance exam for medical in India as its successful candidates get admission into any one of the 9 AIIMS institutions having a total capacity of 800 seats across its campuses. AIIMS New Delhi is the most prestigious institute for medical studies in India and is an Institute of World repute. The other AIIMS campuses are located in Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Guntur, Jodhpur, Nagpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh. There are more than 15 Lac students who vie for the available seats each year and this makes Medical Entrance Examinations one of the toughest entrance exams to crack in India.

Career Path for Doctors

On completion of the MBBS course, students are allowed to use “Dr.” as a prefix with their name. There is a lot of prestige attached to this designation. MBBS is a bachelor's degree on completion of which students graduate to become doctors. Doctors can start their own practice by setting up their own clinics or working as consultants with existing clinics. Doctors can also take up jobs with private or government hospitals. They can work in hospitals, nursing homes, health corporations, pharmaceutical companies, medical colleges or even do back office medical work. Doctors have multiple career paths ahead of them including that of scientists, researchers, professors, lecturers and consultants.

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