Medicine has always been among one of the most sought-after professions in India. With availability of multiple medical courses in the country, today more number of students are opting for a career in medicine. However, for many Indian students, the dream of becoming a doctor and fulfil their aim of making a difference in one's life is often faced by several impediments.
High cut off rates, lack of seats, unavailability of medical equipment, increasing fees in private medical colleges, and poor return on investment (ROI) are some of the challenges which are steadily deteriorating medical education in the country.
According to recent data released by union health and family welfare ministry, there are almost one million doctors in India out of which, only eight lakhs are in active practice. The data further highlights that there is only one doctor for every 1,600 people which is much below the doctor to patient ratio of 1:1000 suggested by WHO. With Indian medical education sector failing to deliver in terms of quality and quantity of medical professionals, the demand for quality doctors is rapidly increasing.
Why is becoming a doctor in India so difficult?
However, there still exists a disproportionate relationship between the number of students and available medical seats. With only around 65,000 available MBBS seats, nearly 22 number of students will be competing for a single seat. Out of these 65,000 seats roughly 50% are in private medical colleges and most of them are unaffordable for a common student. This further makes dream of becoming a doctor for many NEET qualified students a long and a tedious one.
Many private colleges in India are often located in rural areas and face a hard time in recruiting good, qualified, full-time lecturers/doctors. They offer zero research facilities which is an integral part of medical education as it provides knowledge regarding the several emerging diseases, new treatment strategies and knowledge on the impact of several health programs to the students. Hence, even after paying an exorbitant fees quality of education still remains a major challenge for the students and choosing the right medical university/college becomes critical for them.
Conducting a small research about the fee structure, location of the college, past placements, alumni feedback and other residential and transportation facilities can help the students in choosing the right college/university. While filling the choices of one's desired colleges, they can further make use of the following professional considerations
Rank of Colleges
Internet is full of dubious websites which offers an unrealistic image of university/ college to a student. This often influences the decision of a student and encourages them to take admission in such universities/ colleges.
Various agencies, annually release the ranking of several colleges according to their own set of criteria. Therefore, while choosing the right college/ university which is suitable to build one's medical career, can consider several significant factors like how old is the college/university, the amount of patient inflow, availability of seats, courses offered and variety of cases successfully treated by the college/university can assist the students in choosing wisely.
Good knowledgeable professors can help the students in achieving much more than academic excellence. In medical field there are regular breakthroughs which requires the faculty members constantly updated and inform the students about the new landmarks in medical science.
In order to get the most out of their curriculum, students should check the number of degrees and the amount of clinical experience which the faculty members have while selecting a college/university.
Infrastructure and Patient Foot Fall
Hands-on experience is extremely important for aspirant doctors as without adequate experience their MBBS degrees will be of no use.
The number of patients one interacts the more will be their experience.
Leading medical colleges in the country get a large number of patients enabling students to learn from their own experience.
Although there may be sleepless nights for students due to the immense workload, however, this is extremely beneficial for them in the long run.
Furthermore, the infrastructure of the hospital also plays a key role in enhancing the learning boundaries of the students. Latest technologies in treatment offer greater exposure to the students. Hence, while choosing between different colleges, this should be one of the key deciding factors.
Authored by Saju Bhaskar, Founder & President of Texila American University, an overseas medical education university.