High school students in India are often required to make career choices for which they are usually not mature enough. They are almost always influenced, even compelled by parents, friends, older siblings, or even neighbors to choose one of the ‘traditional’ careers such as medicine or engineering. This usually overlooks the unique talents, interests or inclination of an individual youngster. Hence a sizeable number of young students either regret their decision of pursuing a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) course or abandon a medical career as quickly as possible.
Dr. Akash Rajpal, currently executive vice president marketing and product management at MedikaBazaar; during his high school years was more inclined towards writing codes for computer games. “But I joined the MBBS course on account of social pressure from my family and friends,” Dr. Rajpal said. However, he explains that after finishing his MBBS, he quickly realized that he was not cut out for clinical practice, and then found his calling in public health financing and management.
“A considerable number do regret joining an MBBS course when it becomes apparent that MBBS is merely the first step and that many years of study were still to come,” said Dr. Gaurav Thukral, COO, Healthcare at home. In his view, the young person who earns perhaps a lakh per month after completing all his studies often finds that others of his age earn much more in other professions.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health http://www.ijcmph.com has placed this idea on a firm scientific footing. The study conducted by Kishore Y. Jothula and others at the department of community medicine, Kamineni Institute of Medical Sciences, Narketpally, Telangana, has analyzed the responses of 150 first year MBBS students to their decision of joining a medical college. The researchers found that as many as 39.33% of the students expressed regret for having joined the MBBS course, the primary objective being “to earn the respect of society” (83.87%) and to make their families proud (77.41%). Interestingly, a relatively smaller proportion of students said their purpose was to make more money or to get satisfaction by saving a life.
In this study as well as similar ones conducted earlier, such as Radhika S. et al. (2012), parental pressure was relatively uncommon cause for the choice of career. Furthermore, most individual stories claim family pressure is among the most typical reasons for the students’ decision.
The level of frustration is likely to be much higher at later stages among those doctors who have entered the profession to “earn the respect of society” as stated in the above study. However, incidents of doctors questioned by patients, accused of negligence and other unsavory practices, physically assaulted and mistrusted by many are increasing day by day.
By Dr. Sumit Ghoshal
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