Expert Insights on Careers in Healthcare

Whenever we fall sick or feel discomfort we rush to the doctors. We may not listen to others’ advice about keeping good health, but when we are advised by doctors, we quickly realise the downfall of taking our health for granted. 

“Jaan hai to jahan hai!” We have heard this phrase time and again. But what does it take to be in a profession that’s about saving lives, day in and day out? What does a career in healthcare look like today? Learn from the experts about all this and more.

Expert 1: Dr  Anil Kaul, Director of High-Complexity Clinical Laboratory and the COVID-19

Testing facility, Oklahoma State University. 

Elderly or Geriatric care, counselling, wellness, and homecare are new and emerging fields within the industry.  Also, with rapid advances in technology, particularly in fields like telemedicine, artificial intelligence and robotics have opened new avenues where multidisciplinary skills are necessary. Today, students can seek diverse opportunities.

Expert 2: Dr Ankur Batra, Interventional cardiologist, Nidaan Hospital, Sonipat

Health defines the future of an individual, the community, the nation, and the world. Helping others cope with sickness and improving their quality of life can be very gratifying. The profession is dynamic, secure and growing.” 

Expert 3: Dr Mahesh Gupta, Radiologist and Healthcare entrepreneur.

“Any student willing to pursue the medical profession must be very passionate about his or her choice. It is like joining armed forces wherein you cannot have the option of being casual while on duty.” 

The Rewards and Challenges

According to Dr Anil Kaul, the medical field is exciting and ever-changing. Each day presents interesting cases and gives an opportunity to learn new treatment protocols and technologies. As a healthcare worker, you will impact individuals, families, and even communities as you play an important role in the patient’s well being. 

Dr Mahesh Gupta states that heartfelt respect is the greatest reward that a healthcare professional gets not only from his patients but also from the public at large. Both emphasized on the latest example of March 21, 2020, the Janta curfew day, when everyone got together at 5:00 pm to acknowledge the work of health professionals. 

When it comes to challenges, Dr. Kaul pointed at the long and often erratic working hours. Dr. Gupta brought up the difficult and intense situations one has to deal with when treating sick and disturbed patients. Dr. Batra stressed on the importance of keeping patience and presence of mind while dealing with emergency conditions. As a cardiologist, Dr. Batra suggested the gravity of dealing with patients and their families with sensitivity. 

Time Investment

According to Dr. Kaul, there is a lot of time flexibility in choosing a career in healthcare. While a specialist doctor may take at least 8 years, you may also choose to be a speech therapist or a laboratory technician in as little as 3 years. 

Dr. Gupta highlighted the long and vigorous education and training, at least 8-10 years, that the medical profession calls for. After the studies, you may choose to invest your time and effort in a government or private job or maybe start your own practice as well. 

Dr. Batra brought in the perspective to also count the number of hours required to prepare for competitive exams like NEET, etc. The time investment of your life starts from then. 

Growth Opportunities

The growth opportunities are phenomenal in India. Dr. Kaul notices that as India’s population ages, there is an increase in the incidence of chronic or non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity along with growing awareness about personal health and improved diagnostics are resulting in an increase in healthcare jobs. 

He further adds, the Indian healthcare sector is very diversified and full of opportunities in multiple sectors. Medical treatments in India are a fraction of the cost in the western and developed nations and thus have an advantage in becoming a global hub for medical tourism. India’s healthcare sector has been growing at about 25% per annum in recent years. With this kind of expansion, healthcare professionals, with varied educational and professional backgrounds, like nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, radiologist technicians, etc.will be in great demand.

Dr. Gupta rightly states that the world over, being in the medical profession is almost a guarantee for a reasonable pay scale or income. Needless to say, further opportunities depend upon your skills, passion, compassion and the results you deliver. Moreover, there is no retirement age if you choose to establish your own practice. 

Advice for Aspiring Medical Professionals

Dr  Kaul’s only advice to students wanting to pursue a career in healthcare is to have a passion to work and help people. No other profession will provide such an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life and feel such satisfaction about it.

If you have been paying attention to the recent news about COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Modi has announced strengthening the healthcare infrastructure with an increase in healthcare jobs. If you are looking for a job that offers tremendous growth potential and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives, a career in healthcare might be right for you.

On the other hand, Dr. Batra advises the prospective students of medical and allied professions to do a self-assessment. If you are ready to give full commitment, passion, and willingness to work very hard, only then choose it. He advises not to choose this career for reasons like your ability to score high marks or influence and pressure from your parents and other relatives. 

This feature originally appeared in the Health edition of The Plus magazine.

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