It is universally acknowledged that a career in medicine and the years of medical school prior to it is much more gruelling than most other careers Bangladeshi students opt for. Add to that the many unfortunate events that surround medical students, where every other year there's admission test question leakage, or some other mishaps in the administration, and you are left with a system that provides little to no opportunity for growth.
What does that say about the potential of pursuing this arduous profession in this third-world, overpopulated country of ours? Should you really choose to study and practice medicine instead of going for a more comfortable career with better monetary rewards? Hopefully, this article will help you answer these questions by weighing out the pros and cons of the degree and the profession.
Becoming a doctor takes five years (eight if it's an MD degree from the US) of undergrad schooling to get the MBBS certification. Then there's another year of internship, after you which you
“The medical field boasts of the most respected scientists and philanthropists in the world, with doctors being chief among them. But as glorifying and satisfying as the career might sound, it is not for everyone," says Dr. Tandra Talukder, anaesthesiologist for over 30 years at the Azimpur Maternity Hospital. This job comes with long hours and a lot of stress, and usually medical schools do a good job of preparing you for the real world. But don't think that the profession isn't rewarding; it gives you a real chance to make a difference in people's lives.
Doctors begin their professional lives with the Hippocratic Oath, and just as the oath says, they must truly promise to do no harm. They should be mentally prepared to put their patients before everything else in their lives.
“If you're the type of person who genuinely enjoys helping others, this career path is chock full of opportunities to provide services to others. You can stay in touch with humanity throughout your life, you get to meet different people from diverse backgrounds, and actually make their lives better," opines Dr. Tasnia Hossain Lamia, Resident Medical Officer of Cardiology at Square Hospital Limited.
“For those who value constant mental stimulation, the medical field is a perfect career to apply your practical knowledge in. Doctors continuously learn on the job as medicine and technology constantly update and evolve. Not only that, it's rewarding to be a doctor because depending on the type of hospital you're employed in, you may get the opportunity of teaching students and sometimes even the patients about medicine. This way you get to serve the community easily and directly.” says Dr. Sharraf Samin, presently practicing at BSSMU.
One of the biggest selling points of this profession is money. Doctors do get paid a fair amount for the highly specialised services that they offer, but it doesn't come easily. In order to get to the point where you will be earning a good salary, you will have to power through years of working for little to no money. But it does get better once you establish a name for yourself, and it's smooth sailing after that.
On the flip side, the sheer amount of pressure this job has might cost you your mental peace. There remains a considerable amount of hard-work involved even after you earn an MBBS degree.
Dr. Prothila Chowdhury, currently completing her internship from City Hospital says, “The long hours of toil and study aren't behind you just because you've graduated or completed your internship. It'll remain an arduous process till your last breath. You'll have to be prepared to pull off many overnight and emergency shifts whenever you are called. So you must know what you are signing up for before you get your feet stuck in it.”
A doctor who preferred to remain anonymous was of the opinion that he didn't get into the medical career of his own accord in the first place. “My family thought that this is a much celebrated way of life that will offer me a high quality designation. So now I am here.” Does he regret it? “Well, when the long night-duties don't seem to end and I keep losing track of holidays or months passing by, it does get very tiring and miserable. But then I tell myself that I let this happen to me, and get over it.”
This clearly shows how your profession can take a toll on your emotional well-being. That, paired with the long hours, difficult procedures, and overwhelming responsibilities, often cause anxiety and depression among doctors. You will sometimes feel that this is a thankless job. So don't give in to family pressure if you think you are not cut out for the job.
Dr. Rubab Sharmin, a practicing gynecologist for over 20 years at the Lubana General Hospital offered her two cents saying, “Decide on the area you want to specialise in, such as cardiology ophthalmology, surgery etc. There was a notion that if you're a girl, you better not go for surgery. But gone are those days of sexism." So if you want to pursue a certain specialty, don't let these irrelevant factors deter you.
Finally, research is a huge part of the medical profession. Unless you regularly stay updated with the innovative world of medicine, submit articles to journals, and attend conferences, you will fall behind your peers. You must constantly gain knowledge and apply it in your professional life.
Eshanee is a junior at IBA, DU. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org