Becoming super specialists in a field of medicine, rather than physicians, is the need of the hour. This is because with growing complexity in diseases and medical problems, people find it easier and more desirable to seek a specialist than a general physician when they’re sick. Thus even a MBBS degree with an MD or MS will get your practice only a decent start in the city.
Dr. Sanjeev Lalwani, Registrar of AIIMS, New Delhi, says, “With the advancements in the field of medical sciences, highly specialised training is the need of the hour. It has led to increasing demand for super specialised contributors.”.
In India, the two recognised super specialty degrees are Doctorate of Medicine (DM) and Magister Chirurgiae (MCh). Both these degrees require a 3-year course of further study and training.
While DM is a medical super-specialisation that can be done in branches like Cardiology, Neurology, Nephrology, Gastroenterology and more, MCh is a surgical super specialty done in Cardio-thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Endocrine Surgery, Neurosurgery, Urology, Plastic Surgery etc.
Specialisation: A Passion
As a doctor, you must have a burning desire for the branch of specialisation you opt for. A third year MCh student, Dr. Pankaj, puts that he had discovered his true calling during his rotatory MS internship. At the emergency wing, he discovered that 90 percent of the cases were related to road accidents that resulted in head injuries.
A keen observer, Dr. Pankaj was always in awe of his senior neuro-specialists, who handled these cases with finesse. This prompted him to pursue MCh in Neurosurgery. He says, “I have assisted 400 neuro-surgeries in last two years as the course gives more relevance to practical component”. His day commences with a 2-hour theory class followed by visits to the OT, OPD and respective wards.
The Evolution of Medical Care
In keeping up with this growing need and prevalence of super-specialisation, hospitals are gradually evolving as super specialty or multi-specialty centres, that deliver higher quality treatment and medical services.
When Dr. Usha Kumar joined Lady Hardinge Hospital in the 90s, 95 percent of surgeries were open surgeries. She pursued an advanced diploma on endoscopy surgery from Germany, and today, is more into laparoscopic advanced surgeries. She uses ultrasonic wave energy to seal vessels; morcellater that can remove tumour of any size from uterus and ovaries.
“Gynaec endoscopy surgery has become sub specialty in Gynaecology. Earlier everything was handled by one doctor to conduct deliveries, infertility treatment or other surgeries. Now many doctors specialise in one area. It helps in minimizing the chances of complications” says Dr. Kumar. “The idea is to move towards greater perfection in patient treatment”.
Elevating Need for Specialists
Health seems to be a decreasing wealth, thanks to the high stress levels our current lifestyle causes. Today, 6 out of 10 Indians (as opposed to 1 in 3 in 1990) succumb to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart diseases, hyper tension and cancer. The number of cases of tuberculosis is also the highest in the world.
Dr. Meenu Walia, the first DNB Medical Oncologist of India says, “In the coming years, lifestyle diseases including cancer will be the biggest challenge. So, there will be a greater demand for oncologists.”. Expressing her job satisfaction, she says- “The most satisfying moment for me is when your patient comes out of deathbed…and one day walks into your OPD 5 years later and says I am alive because of you,”.
Patient care is today more of a teamwork and no longer dependent on a single specialty. “Most of the surgeries are through cardio-pulmonary bypass that controls the function of heart and lungs by a machine. Here the support of cardiologist, cardiac anaesthetist, cardiac radiologist, cardiovascular pathologist, nuclear medicine specialist is inevitable,” says Dr. Balram Airan, Head of Cardio-Thoracic Sciences Centre, AIIMS.
Striding towards Super Specialty
After a post-graduate degree, MD or MS, you must opt for post-doctoral 3-year DM that allows you to specialise in a specific area. For surgical specialisation with MCh, you must have a recognised MS degree. In totality, you devote a minimum of 11 years to become a specialist.
The structure of super specialty courses recognised by Medical Council of India, differs from institute to institute. The primary reason for this is the exposure to number of patients and variety of diseases that may vary between private and government hospitals. As you narrow down the field of work, you understand the problem in greater depth.
Some of the institutes in India that offer super specialty courses include AIIMS, Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi, Amrita School of Medicine in Kochi, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research in Belagavi, Madras Medical College and Kasturba Medical College in Manipal. These courses are fairly expensive though, with the cost per annum being around Rs.24 Lakh.
However, the earning prospects for specialists are very lucrative, particularly in the private sector where it can be almost 5 to 10 times as that of their counterparts in the public sector. For instance, a senior resident employee at an institute like AIIMS can expect a salary of around Rs.80,000.
Super-specialty hospitals will continue to grow in India, fueled by increasing health-consciousness among the people, increasing patients’ willing to pay and a rapid growth in medical tourism. However, professionals should ensure that they diversify their growth to rural areas, making medical care accessible for all and not crowd in just the big metros
At Bajaj Finserv, we offer Personal Loan for Doctors, which comes with 1-day approval and disbursal. You can avail the loan to finance education in a super specialty degree, with which you look to enhance your knowledge and boost your professional career. Get in touch with us to know more. These loans come with a high loan amount of Rs.30 lakhs which will make you reconsider educational loans as an option.