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Some Myths About Medical Education:

Childhood is the best time of a person’s lifetime. As children, we have nothing to take care of, but our dreams. Even while planning our future, we need not think. “I went to a doctor yesterday, everybody talked to him so nicely. Let’s play Doctor-Doctor today. I will be the doctor.” That’s how dreams are born. For some children, such innocent thoughts and fascinations might never go away, and as a result, they plan all the way through school to pursue medicine seriously.

“Participating in a play?? Ohh!! You wear eye glasses and you look so innocent. I am sure you will play the role of a doctor,” said the neighbor. “Why only the role? I am sure my son will become a doctor in the future. He has that inborn personality,” said the mother.

Such thoughts turn into dreams and dreams turn into reality.

Unfortunately, many of these would-be doctors know little about what it takes to capture that prized medical degree. Some common misconceptions about medical school may wrongly discourage students, while others wrongly attract them.

A few words by Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams, an American physician, comedian, social activist, clown, and author read, “The purpose of a doctor or any human in general should not be to simply delay the death of the patient, but to increase the person’s quality of life.”

Myths exist because we decide to believe something beyond our experiences and rely on others’ opinions. Amidst the new findings every day in the ever-expanding world of medical science and changing patterns of entrance tests, we tend to have unrealistic beliefs. In this article, we list some myths about medical education. Let’s have a look and not believe them!

1. If you clear the entrance exams, you are bound to become a doctor

Entrance examinations are a parameter to gauge one’s ability and not a guarantee for becoming a medical practitioner. Clearing exams is about hard work and not about what you think should ideally happen. You need to realize where your interest actually lies and not just what you are capable of doing. For instance, For an English Honors graduate, becoming a teacher might be a better possible option, but the child student need to prioritize his/her own interests and then decide where he wishes to head. You may become an engineer, an architect, a banker or an accountant due to societal pressure; but to become a doctor out of compulsion affects the life of other people directly, since you deal with the lives of people. You need to ask yourself this question: “Why do I want to be a doctor?” Take your time and be sure about your intentions before you proceed.

2. Studying biology in class XII is your ticket to becoming a doctor

If you had biology in class 12, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will become a doctor. Similarly, if you didn’t have biology in class 12, it doesn’t mean you cannot change your stream and become a doctor. Medical education is not confined to only becoming an allopathic doctor. Just like cracking a medical entrance examination indicates aptitude; failing to cracking the exam does not imply absence of aptitude. If you are truly inclined towards something, don’t feel hesitant to change your streams. No doubt, you must be clear with your interests and priorities beforehand to avoid any wastage of time or confusion. But, you cannot neglect the fact that what you choose today is going to stay with you for your entire lifetime. So, you are not left with any other option than to choose wisely. To help you with the variety of options that you have, after completing Biology in 12th standard, we have a list of options in medical science.

(i) Veterinary Sciences

(ii) Pharmaceutical Studies

(iii) Ayurveda and Siddha

(iv) Homeopathy

(v) Bioinformatics

(vi) Nursing

3. For a medical student to love math is not a good sign

If you are a topper in math but passionate about biology, then trust me, Math is not the destination for you. Being good at a subject and wanting to learn more and more of the subject are two very different things. You need to analyze which one is your passion and move accordingly. Similarly, if you are good at both math and biology, and a medical student, do not think that you are on the wrong path. There exists a platform where your love for both the subjects will work for your benefit. Don’t let your choices become a hindrance. For example, taking up a course in bioinformatics also involves math and a possibility to do research on genetic studies.

4. Doctors have to study a lot

Believe it or not – this myth is true for every profession. The hype created around doctors having to study too much is due to the sensitivity of their job and the responsibility that comes along with the profession. This profession involves the risk of a lot of lives, and one cannot afford to make mistakes. A medical practitioner needs to stay up-to-date with the latest innovations and medicines to be responsible for their acts. When you are serious about something, a 100% involvement is necessary. Having the feelings of sensitivity, responsibility, patience and dedication are the initials for choosing a profession as delicate as medical.

5. Medical students don’t sleep or socialize because there’s too much studying to do.

There’s a lot of truth to this one. There’s an extraordinary amount of material to master, and learning just an adequate chunk dominates the lives of many medical students.

The amount of work is usually a surprise to the students once they enter into studies. They can really be knocked off their feet by that. But how rigorously you may study depends on how compulsive you are and the limits you set for yourself. Some people think they have to study nonstop, get two or three hours’ sleep a night and cram for exams, but some people don’t. All that matters is how much you are passionate about your goal and how desperately you are willing to excel in the field that you have chosen.

6. Medical school takes forever.

Eleven years is not quite an eternity. If you genuinely want to be a doctor, it will definitely be worth the investment. But it’s a sizable chunk of your life to spend on something you’re not absolutely sure of. The program includes four years for a bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and then three years of residency to gain on-the-job experience.

A medical student’s perspective

To clear the air regarding myths about medical education, we talked to some students. Final year students from Lady Hardinge Medical College says that medical students need to put in a lot of hard work, and one cannot survive without dedication. The course often does not leave you any time for extra-curricular activities, and hobbies are hard to pursue. However, she lays a lot of emphasis on gaining practical knowledge through internships and field work. “Medicine is tough, but it is supposed to be. It is no joke. But if you have the passion for the field, you will love your work. There is no greater joy than curing a sick person or easing someone’s pain,” she concludes. For it is always said, “Medicine is only for those who cannot imagine doing anything else.”

These were the top myths about medical education. Similar myths exist about engineering education, for reasons similar to the ones mentioned above! Read about them here.

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