JUNIOR DOCTORS ARE NOT FOR SALE.........
Sometimes I like to tell people that my mother knew I wanted to be a doctor long before I did, but the truth is that the idea of becoming a physician has probably been gestating within me in some form or other since an early age. As I grew up it got reinforced further as I delved into the genre of medical fiction.I started fantasising about the feeling that comes with becoming a doctor and the euphoria of saving a human life. So my happiness knew no bounds when I entered into medical college and stepped closer to my dream. I knew that medicine is not a "9 to 5" job and is by no means the glamorous source of easy money as it is often perceived to be. I understand the hours are long and potentially less social and that the career can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. However medicine is also a deeply gratifying and fascinating career path. I want to be a medic because my passion and aptitude is foremost scientific and to me 5 or 6 years more of formal education followed by a lifetime of further learning sounds like a stimulating career option and, thankfully, a far cry from the monotony some jobs pose. Nevertheless I AM NOT A ROBOT .Yes I insist, I am not a robot. I am a human being with emotions and deserving my share of fun.
Doctors are one of the most talented, hardworking and motivated workforce with a multitude of transferable skills.Yet junior doctors globally find themselves caught in a web of despair and disillusionment they can’t seem to get out of. The apparently long working hours of junior doctors in India, have got them wondering where things went wrong even as they struggle to bring a smile to their faces. With 0.7 doctors per 1000 Indians, the doctor : patient ratio is far below that of other comparable countries like China (1.9), United Kingdom (2.8) and United States (2.5). This simply means that you are always going to be swamped with patients beyond the logical human capacity in India. So the question that arises is whether there is a need for a cap in the number of working hours of junior doctors in India.
Getting a 63 hour a week schedule (7 days x 9 hours) is a blessing and most of the young guns who join in fresh after post graduation know fully well that a 100 hour a week schedule is par for the course once you begin working. But there is a conspicuous absentee from this discussion i.e the patient. And some dissonant voices would admit that, just maybe, these long shifts have a downside on the doctors’ attitude towards patients too. How cheerful, observant and considerate would you be after ten hours on the job?
To reverse the disillusionment that is so widespread in the medical profession there needs to be a reduction in the maximum working hours for junior doctors in India.What’s most important to a doctor, I feel, are the human moments. Medicine is about taking care of people in their most vulnerable states and making yourself vulnerable in the process. Fulfillments in medicine is about managing hopes and until and unless there is no reduction in the working hours of these doctors, we cannot restore the humanism in doctor-patient relationships that has been weakened over the years and forms the essence of this noble profession.