Career FAQs: Medical

What are the skills required to do well in this career?
If you want to be a doctor, you should be empathetic towards people and be inclined to serve the community/society. You should also be willing to learn throughout your professional tenure, and be prepared to put in a lot of hard work. And you should be able to make decisions and handle emergencies. There are three cornerstones for a successful career in medicine:
  • Passion for learning in general
  • True intellectual curiosity about medicine in particular
  • Strong desire to help others, and the society at large Being smart and doing well in sciences are obviously important components of being a successful doctor. However, do not pursue a medical career merely based on your academic performance in sciences. Although this is a necessary requirement, you must also be able to relate well with people. Wanting to help others and enjoying helping others are necessary attributes of a good doctor. A doctor should have a good memory, as she/he should be able to recollectinformation and apply it relevantly, whenever required. A continuous effort needs to be put in to stay abreast with contemporary medical information/practices, as medical research is an ongoing process. Ability to comprehend, make critical decisions, situation judgement, diagnostic reasoning and emotional intelligence, are some of the defining traits to be a successful doctor.
  • What are the various professional paths in this career?
    The increasing complicated lifestyles giving birth to a variety of ailments have made it impossible for General Physicians with an MBBS degree to handle all ailments. It is here that specialisation in a particular branch of medicine becomes a necessity. The major Specialisations include General Medicine, General Surgery, Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat), Psychiatry, Anaesthesiology, etc. There are also Super Specialisations which require a further 3-5 years of study in areas such as Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Clinical Haematology.

    The demand for medical professionals is tremendously increasing with the unfortunate upsurge of diseases and ailments day by day. At the same time super speciality hospitals are mushrooming both within the country and abroad offering employment opportunities. These, along with the liberalisation of economy, could bring better opportunities for these professionals in terms of remuneration, research and working facilities. Other than Allopathy, medicine also covers different systems like Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, etc.

    Some of the career paths which can be taken by a medical professional are as under:
  • Anaesthetist: As an anaesthetist you'll provide wide-ranging support to patients who are undergoing surgical, medical or psychiatric procedures. It's your responsibility to assess and reassure patients, administer appropriate anaesthetics before surgery, monitor their wellbeing during surgery and provide care after medical procedures. Patients can include babies, pregnant women, the elderly and those undergoing operations. Anaesthetists are the largest group of specialist doctors in hospitals. You'll spend the majority of your time in the operating theatre, although you may also work in other areas of the hospital, including wards.

  • Cardiologist: Cardiologists are doctors who specialise in heart disease or illnesses related to the heart. Qualifying can take up to ten years, but you'll be working in an incredibly rewarding, life-saving profession. As a cardiologist, you'll specialise in diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases that mainly affect the heart and blood vessels. Some of the conditions you'll encounter include arrhythmia, angina, high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, cardiac arrest and coronary heart disease. You'll typically either treat ongoing, long-term illnesses, or respond to emergency, potentially life-threatening situations. You may also be involved in end-of-life palliative care due to heart disease. Cardiologists treat adult patients only - paediatric cardiology is a separate specialty.

  • Clinical radiologist: If you're a natural problem-solver with a keen eye for detail and enjoy working with cutting-edge technology, then a career in clinical radiology may be for you. Clinical radiologists are medically qualified doctors specialising in the investigation and diagnosis of a range of clinical conditions and diseases, using a variety of imaging techniques such as:computed tomography (CT) scans, fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and X-rays.As a clinical radiologist, you'll be responsible for reporting most imaging procedures and will also perform many of the interventional procedures. You'll work closely as part of a multidisciplinary team that includes radiographers, other doctors and medical staff from a range of specialties and will provide expert guidance and advice.As a clinical radiologist you may focus on either diagnostic radiology or interventional radiology, or on a mixture of the two. Diagnostic radiology involves finding out what is clinically wrong with patients using a range of imaging techniques. You can develop a special interest in a variety of clinical areas including paediatric, musculoskeletal or cardiac. Interventional radiology is concerned with image-guided pin-hole surgery to treat a variety of conditions, from life threatening aneurysms and haemorrhages to joint, tendon and muscle injuries, in the least invasive way.

  • Dentist: Dentists diagnose, treat, and prevent problems in a patient’s mouth, focusing on the teeth and gums. Dentists are trained to identify prevalent oral conditions so patients can receive treatment as quickly as possible. Many of them perform dental surgeries, and they are all capable of filling cavities and removing teeth in their offices. Dentists may hold their own practices, or they may work with other dentists in a joint practice.

  • General Practice Doctor/General Physician: As a general practice doctor you'll usually be the first healthcare professional a patient sees, and your work plays an important role in getting them the treatment they need. General practitioners (GPs) provide continuing medical care for patients in the community. They're usually a patient's first point of contact, seeing them in the surgery, at their home or within other settings such as care homes. When diagnosing illness and recommending the required treatment, you'll have to take into account physical, emotional and social factors to provide a holistic approach. Part of your role will be to refer patients to hospital clinics for further assessment or treatment and you may also run specialist clinics within the practice for patients with specific conditions. You'll work in a team with other healthcare professionals to discuss care options for patients and their families, helping patients to take responsibility for their own health.

  • Massage Therapist: A massage therapist is a person who uses touch to manipulate muscles in the body. This can relieve tension and stress while allowing the patient to relax. Some massage therapists specialize in specific massage techniques, and others branch out into alternative therapies, like acupuncture. Massage therapists work in offices and clinics, but many commute to their client’s homes for appointments.

  • Neurologist: A career in neurology will suit you if you love complex problem-solving, the diagnostic process and the idea of working with a diverse range of patients. A neurologist is a doctor who is involved with the management of conditions affecting the brain and nervous system. The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system, which is connected to the rest of the body by a network of motor, sensory and autonomic nerves. A wide range of diseases are treated by neurologists, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, headaches, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, motor neuron disease, epilepsy, spinal cord diseases, muscle diseases like muscular dystrophy, infections affecting the nervous system, brain tumours (where surgery is required, the patient will be referred to a neurosurgeon).

  • Ophthalmologist: A career as an ophthalmologist will suit you if you're scientifically-minded, want to work with a whole range of medical staff and patients of all ages and are committed to helping others. Ophthalmologists are medically trained doctors with specialist skills in the diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of diseases of the eye and visual system. They manage patients of all ages, from premature babies to the elderly, with acute and long-term eye conditions. As an ophthalmologist you'll deal with a range of conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, squints, eye injuries, infectious eye diseases and degenerative conditions resulting from ageing. You'll work in outpatient clinics, the operating theatre conducting surgery, laser eye surgery clinics and community clinics. There's also a limited amount of ward-based work available. You can also work as a medical ophthalmologist if you're trained in general medicine as well as ophthalmology. As a medical ophthalmologist, you'll manage eye disorders that are specifically related to whole-body disease, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and stroke. You'll treat the patient as a whole - not just their eye condition.

  • Pathologist: If you're keen to learn about the science behind disease, a career as a pathologist could be for you. A pathologist is a doctor who interprets and diagnoses the changes caused by disease in the body's cells and tissues. There are varying amounts of laboratory work involved in pathology, depending on the specialty and the role itself. Some pathologists don't tend to have any patient contact, whereas others combine lab work with clinical, direct patient care. It's a myth that pathologists only deal with dead bodies - this is only the case with forensic histopathology, a sub-specialty of histopathology. Pathology is involved in over 70% of all diagnoses in 'live' patients.

  • Psychiatry: This could be the career path for you if you have a strong scientific mind, excellent communication skills and the desire to improve the lives of people living with mental illness. Psychiatrists are medically qualified doctors specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with mental health disorders, such as dementia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia. Psychiatric disorders can be caused by physical illnesses, and many patients with mental illness are at greater risk of physical illness. Because of this, psychiatrists are skilled in recognising mind and body symptoms to evaluate and assess risk and draw up treatment plans, which may include prescribing medication.

  • Surgeon: A career as a surgeon will suit you if you're a medically-trained doctor, have good hand-eye coordination and are comfortable making decisions under pressure. As a surgeon, you'll operate on patients in order to treat disease or injury. You will perform operations by cutting open the patient's body to repair, remove or replace the diseased or damaged part. Surgery is one of the most sought-after careers within medicine and competition can be fierce. Becoming a surgeon can take many years and you'll need a high level of commitment to succeed. New surgery techniques are continually evolving so surgeons learn new skills throughout their careers.
  • How is medical education imparted in India? Which are the popular programs?
    In India Medical education is offered at four levels:
  • First degree - Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
  • Postgraduate diplomas in specific areas such as Child Health (DCH), Laryngology and Otology (DLO), Diploma in Gynaecology and Obstetrics (DGO) and postgraduate degree in broad specialities – Doctor of Medicine (MD), Master of Surgery (MS)
  • Postgraduate degree (Super Specialities) - Doctor of Medicine (DM), and Master of Chirurgical (MCh) also known as post-doctoral degrees
  • Research degree M.Phil. and PhD.

    MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) is the most popular and designated degree of doctors. These are the two bachelor degrees in one domain as the Bachelor of Medicine and the Bachelor of Surgery.The MBBS is an undergraduate degree programme in medical field, and it takes 5.5 years for the completion of the degree(4.5 years academic education + 1year mandatory internship).To get admission into MBBS programme in India, students have to complete their 10+2 education with Physics, Chemistry & Biology and score minimum 50% marks (40% in the case of reserved category); age should be between 17 years to 25 years. In addition, you have to meet the eligibility criteria for the entrance test.

    BDS stands for Bachelor of Dental Surgery. In India BDS degree is awarded at the successful completion of four years of study and one year of internship to the students as per the old regulations of Dental council of India. According to new regulations, the BDS course comprises of five years with no internship period. Post graduate courses (Master of Dental Surgery. MDS) are also available in different specialties. It requires 3 years of study after BDS.

    Dentistry is the branch of medicine that is involved in the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, the maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures, and their impact on the human body. While pursuing the course, one learns about different aspects of Dental Science, which includes various forms of treatment including surgical procedures. Dental materials, Dental anatomy & Oral histology, Oral Pathology, Community Dentistry, Pedodontics, Oral Medicine & Radiology are some of the topics that are generally taught.After pursuing BDS course, one can work as dentist in government or private hospitals or open up his/her own clinic, to serve the society.
  • Which are the top institutes for studying medicine?
    The most favoured Medical Colleges of India are:
    What is/are the entrance test/tests for seeking admission to the MBBS/BDS courses?
    The Ministry of Human Resource development (MHRD), Government of India (GOI) has established National Testing Agency (NTA) as an independent autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organisation for conducting efficient, transparent and international standard test in order to access the competency of candidates for admission to premier higher education institutions. As per regulations framed under the Indian Medical Council Act -1956 and the Dentists Act-1948 and as amended from time to time, NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST (NEET (UG) will be conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBBS/BDS Courses in Indian Medical/Dental Colleges run with the approval of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India except for the institutions established through an Act of Parliament i.e. AIIMS and JIPMER Puducherry.Admissions to all seats of MBBS/BDS will be done through NEET (UG). Following are the seats, available under different quotas: -
  • All India Quota Seats
  • State Government Quota Seats
  • Central Institutions/Universities/Deemed Universities
  • State/Management/NRI Quota Seats in Private Medical / Dental
  • Colleges or any Private University
  • Central Pool Quota Seats

    The NEET (UG) consists of one paper containing 180objective type questions (four options with single correct answer)from Physics, Chemistry and Biology (Botany & Zoology). The total number of questions is 180, 45 each from Physics,Chemistry, Botany& Zoology.This is a single exam in pen-and-paper mode, with a total duration of 03 hours. Each question carries 4 marks, the maximum marks for the test being 720. For each correct response the candidate will get 4marks.For each incorrect response one mark will be deducted for the total score.

    The exam is managed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, for providing admission to the MBBS programme in AIIMS Institutions. It is a national level entrance test for admission into nine AIIMS Institutions located in New Delhi, Bhopal, Rishikesh, Patna, Jodhpur, Guntur, Nagpur, Raipur & Bhubaneshwar.The duration of the exam will be 3½ hours, with a total of 200 multiple choice (objective & reason-assertion) type questions. Each correct response gets a score of one mark, and each incorrect response gets a penalty of ⅓ mark.

    JIPMER (Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research) is a national level entrance exam to get admission in UG medical MBBS courses at JIPMER Karaikal& Puducherry campuses. The exam is conducted in an online mode and spans across 2.5 hours; 4 marks are awarded for each correct answer., and one mark is deducted for a wrong answer.
  • What is the syllabus for entrance examination fort the MBBS course?
    Questions in NEET are based on a Common Syllabus notifiedby the Medical Council of India and implemented in the year 2013.

    Class 11th
  • Physical world and measurement
  • Kinematics
  • Laws of Motion
  • Work, Energy and Power
  • Motion of System of Particles and Rigid Body
  • Gravitation
  • Properties of Bulk Matter
  • Thermodynamics
  • Behaviour of Perfect Gas and Kinetic Theory
  • Oscillations and Waves

    Class 12th
  • Electrostatics
  • Current Electricity
  • Magnetic Effects of Current and Magnetism
  • Electromagnetic Induction and Alternating Currents
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • Optics
  • Dual Nature of Matter and Radiation
  • Atoms and Nuclei
  • Electronic Devices

    Class 11th
  • Some Basic Concepts of Chemistry
  • Structure of Atom
  • Classification of Elements and Periodicity in Properties
  • Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure
  • States of Matter: Gases and Liquids
  • Thermodynamics
  • Equilibrium
  • Redox Reactions
  • Hydrogen
  • s-Block Element (Alkali and Alkaline earth metals)
  • Some p-Block Elements
  • Organic Chemistry- Some Basic Principles and Techniques
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Environmental Chemistry

    Class 12th
  • Solid State
  • Solutions
  • Electrochemistry
  • Chemical Kinetics
  • Surface Chemistry
  • General Principles and Processes of Isolation of Elements
  • p- Block Elements
  • d and f Block Elements
  • Coordination Compounds
  • Haloalkanes and Haloarenes
  • Alcohols, Phenols and Ethers
  • Aldehydes, Ketones and Carboxylic Acids
  • Organic Compounds Containing Nitrogen
  • Biomolecules
  • Polymers
  • Chemistry in Everyday Life

    Class 11th
  • Diversity in Living World
  • Structural Organisation in Animals and Plants
  • Cell Structure and Function
  • Plant Physiology
  • Human physiology Class 12th
  • Reproduction
  • Genetics and Evolution
  • Biology and Human Welfare
  • Biotechnology and Its Applications
  • Ecology and environment

    Detailed syllabus is available at
  • What are the prospects in this career?
    Medicine is a vocational degree, allowing you to develop both the practical and clinical skills specific to medicine and the professional and personal attributes necessary to become a doctor.

    It is a career replete with choices. In what other career can you choose among delivering babies, taking care of children, handling emergencies, removing someone's cancer, or talking to someone who needs psychiatric help? Better yet, you can teach others your medical speciality, while still practising your profession. Alternately, you can do research in whatever speciality you choose, with the potential to make a real breakthrough in preventing or treating illness. In addition, being a physician is honourable and is held in high esteem. It allows you to live just about anywhere, and provides job security. However, all of this comes at a price. The many years of preparation, the discipline, the awesome responsibility, the worry about malpractice and the long hours can take their toll. Medicine is a unique field and it demands a unique person.

    Most medical graduates go on to become doctors. Opportunities are available in both government and private hospitals. There are also opportunities for those wishing to practise medicine in the Armed Forces, research institutes, private healthcare establishments, residential nursing homes, air ambulance services, university teaching etc.
    Can you give some useful links to explore this career in greater detail?
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