National Doctors Day: The challenge of being a non-medical doctor

Published: July 1, 2019 1:12:12 PM

I was at times ridiculed for wasting a precious seat in a country that was fraught with an acute shortage of doctors.

Today a varied variety of positions are making their way for qualified MBBS doctorsToday a varied variety of positions are making their way for qualified MBBS doctors

By Dr. Gaurav Thukral

The recent assault on doctors leading to a nation-wide agitation initiated various conversations in person and on WhatsApp groups. The topics varied from how doctors have given so much sweat and blood to reach where they are and how the general public is not cognizant of the same. Media, kickbacks from pharma, government apathy, half-cooked knowledge from Google and many other things were held accountable for most of the mistrust in the patient and doctor relationship. But one of the very interesting conversations was initiated by one of my batchmates who is a practicing physician with his own hospital. He remarked that doctors like me who were not in direct patient care had made a smart move and are not confronted by the challenges arising out of the aforesaid atmosphere.

This really got me thinking. Till today I was always asked that why did I leave my practice of medicine after spending almost eight years of hard work to learn the same. In fact, I was at times ridiculed for wasting a precious seat in a country that was fraught with an acute shortage of doctors.

In a sense, this was a U-turn to the same thought process. So, this Doctor’s Day I chose to reflect upon the unrecognised challenges faced by doctors who impact healthcare but are not directly dealing with patients. The so-called NON MEDICAL DOCTORS.

I have a group of doctor friends who are in other challenging jobs like IPS, IAS, IRS and I have seen them serving in the hinterlands, packing their bags every now and then, at the behest of their political bosses. My medico friends in politics have their woes beyond imagination.

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But let’s talk about the ones still in mainstream healthcare. Those who chose to become medical administrators, hospital heads, pharma advisors, Medtech Salespersons, Quality Managers, PE fund partners, and many more who chose to digress. All these people somewhere deep down had this feeling of doing something different but deep underneath gripped with the fear of what if they failed in this uncharted path?

After their years of hard work and studying medicine, they had a new learning curve to tread. The world of excels, business plans, EBIDTA, ROI, operational excellence, balance scorecard were quite alien and not easy to understand. Add to it the pressures of corporate healthcare, revenue generation being the prime most. And, if you are in the start-up mode then how all efforts have to
result in a fast-growing profitable model that will pave the way to IPO.

Some of my friends will quip that no one forced us to the job we are doing. Absolutely I agree to the same and believe that this cadre of doctors is creating a huge impact. 30 years ago, as a doctor either you joined a medical college, government job or put up your clinics. But today a varied variety of positions are making their way for qualified MBBS doctors. This Doctor’s Day I would like everyone to appreciate these cadres of HCPs who are making the difference in their own way. They have their own set of challenges, varied problems but are working towards changing the healthcare landscape of the country.

(The author is COO, HealthCare atHOME. Views expressed are personal.)

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