Among the most sought-after careers among the youth is the medical field. The power to heal has traditionally placed this profession several rungs above any other. Also enormous strides made in medical research for alleviating pain and curing diseases, pose great challenges to young men and women who opt for this profession.
A doctor's profession involves a lot of hard work and at the same time, it brings along with it the satisfaction of having cured patients and of having alleviated pain and suffering. Doctors all over the world are treated with great respect and the scope and prospects in the medical field are always bright.
The field of medicine is very vast and specializations within it are increasing by the day. While an MBBS degree prepares a candidate for practice, it is not sufficient for providing specialist treatment to patients. A three-year MD/MS course in any area of specialization is therefore essential. Thereafter, the specialist can also go in for further super-specializations within the specialist areas.
While medicine, in general, encompasses both, traditional Indian as well as modern allopathy, this chapter only deals with careers in allopathic medicine. Careers in traditional systems of medicine are discussed in detail in the chapter entitled `Traditional Medicine'.
Areas of Specialization
The major areas of specialization include:
Doctors possessing an MBBS degree, with no particular specialization, can work as General physicians. However, an MD degree in General medicine provides a specialized training in this area of medicine.
The work involves acute disease management, which includes diagnosing, treating the patient, or referring the patient's ailments for specialist treatment, prescribing preventive medicine, helping patients to understand how to prevent, look for, and deal with their problems, as also counseling of patients.
These practitioners usually work in the capacity of family doctors for patients of all age groups, including children and old people.
An MBBS degree followed by a three-year MD course in General medicine. Postgraduate diploma courses in General Medicine are also available in certain universities.
A specialization in General surgery also requires a three-year specialized course after MBBS. General surgeons are taught surgery for all organs of the human body. They can also opt for specializations in different fields of surgery including orthopedic surgery, plastic neurosurgery, cardio-thoracic surgery and other such fields.
Surgeons also diagnose and treat injuries, diseases and disorders of the human body, by prescribing medicines or surgical operations.
An MBBS degree, followed by a three-year MS course:
This branch of medicine deals mainly with children, from newborns to adolescents. Pediatricians diagnose and conduct treatment of the diseases peculiar to children, and study the nature of growth and development of children.
A recognized degree in medicine (MBBS), along with a three-year MD course in pediatrics.
Cardiology deals with ailments and diseases of the heart. Cardiologists diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the heart. Heart specialists can also perform specialized work, including by-pass surgeries, angiographies, angioplasties and other forms of surgery for the heart.
A three-year MS course in cardio-thoracic surgery, after MBBS.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Obstetricians and gynecologists conduct the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders in females in the reproductive age group. While gynecology deals with the problems of diseases and disorders of the female reproductive organs, the obstetrician handles pregnancies and childbirth.
However, most practitioners of this field handle both areas. Obstetricians and gynecologists also conduct specialized surgical operations, including cesarean operations, laproscopies and hysteroscopies. They also deal with cases of ovarian cancers and cancers of the other reproductive organs.
A three-year MS course in obstetrics and gynecology after MBBS.
Neurologists specialize in diseases and disorders related to the human brain. They handle the treatment of problems related to the nervous system and other problems in the human body, arising from disorders in the brain.
A three-year MS course in neurosurgery, after MBBS.
Dermatologists deal with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin, and related problems.
A three-year long MD course in dermatology, after MBBS.
Ophthalmologists are eye specialists who diagnose and conduct treatment for the diseases of the human eye and its related parts. They can also check the eyesight and prescribe corrective lens, but nowadays, it is an optometrist (with a diploma in optometry that usually handles these aspects of
eye care. Ophthalmologists are also trained to conduct special surgeries, including laser surgeries of the eye, operations for the removal of cataract, treatment of glaucoma, and other such diseases and infections of the eye.
An MD/MS course in ophthalmology, after MBBS.
Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists
ENT specialists deal with the diseases and disorders of the ear, nose and throat. These three organs are physiologically interconnected and so, one specialist can handle nasal problems as well as throat and ear ailments. ENT specialists also conduct hearing tests and prescribe hearing aids.
A three-year MS course in ear, nose and throat surgery, after the MBBS course.
This is an area of specialization that diagnoses and treats mental disorders by means of counseling or medication.
A three-year MD course in psychiatry, after MBBS. Other specialized MD courses are available in some other disciplines including community medicine, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, forensic medicine, communicable diseases, venereology, preventive and social
medicine, anesthesiology, anatomy, plastic surgery, radio diagnosis, and hospital administration.
Facilities are available for super-specialization in different fields of medicine and surgery, after the completion of MD/MS. These include neurosurgery, cardio-thoracic surgery, conito-urinary surgery, plastic surgery, pediatric surgery, gastroenterology, endoctrinology, clinical haematology
and other subjects.
In these areas of higher specialization, the period of training is two years, after obtaining the MD/MS degree. A M.Ch. degree is offered in the fields of neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery and pediatric surgery. Doctors with postgraduate specializations are eligible for a Ph.D. in any subject.
For the Ph.D. degree, the duration is two years for those who possess MD, MRCP or MS/FRCS degrees and three years for those who possess a M.Sc. degree in medicine.