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Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Think Again Doctor Wannabes

i for one fail to understand why there are so many doctor wannabes in the lastest batch of newly-passed-out-pre-university students [matrikulasi, STPM or those with other qualifications]. Those who applied for the medical course in ITPAs numbered 907 and those applying for the similar course in local IPTS is anyone's guess. On top of that there are those heading overseas to study medicine. Put all of them together and if this trend continues, the nation, in the coming years, may have little to fear regarding the shortage of doctors and the need to hire foreign ones.
What may be the reason(s) for there being so many doctor wannabes? Could it be that the educational system or whatever has managed to inculcate a greater sense in its youth to serve the nation and the youths have decided to answer the government's cry of doctor shortage? Has there been more parental pressure on the offsprings to do medicine? Is doctoring getting more glamourous, of late? Or is it that our youths have just got more materialistic and lucre minded as suggested by this NST letter writer.
Whatever the reason, i hope these doctors wannabes are aware of what is in store for them in the doctoring profession. Not only is the road to a medical degree long and windy, it is also expensive, some RM500K or so at a local IPTS. To begin with is the 5 or 6 years of undergraduate study, of slogging while your fellow undergrads are climbing hills and mountains as you have fewer holidays than others, of more sleepness nights burning the midnight oil while the other fellows are out nightclubbing or dancing the night away and of more time spent on the psychiatric couch than students of other courses. Those who make it through are then faced with that year of "slavery" called Housemanship. i have little desire to frighten off those doctor wannabes with the horrors stories of the houseman year. Those who want to have sleepless nights even before entering med school, can write me privately. You can also view "Housemanship survival tips" here. Then there are two more years of compulsory service, where one gets time to be"ruralised" and enjoy green scenery, listen to the birds and brathe in the fresh rural air and for the urbanites, an opportunity to partake of the other side of living.
So with the completion of the 3 compulsory years, the doctor would have grown older by some 8 or 9 years chronologically but in terms of stress levels, he would have probably aged some 10 to 15 years. At that point in time, he would be paid the handsome sum of some RM3000+. His contemporary who chosed to study law [a shorter and cheaper course] would by then be in a superscale post and probably commanding at least twice his pay. So where is the glamour, where is the lucre and in the present days with patients like the above mentioned NST letter writer, do not expect much thanks for the professional care given.
Once having completed the 3 compulsory years there are more slogging ahead, but that is another story for the future.
So to all those doctor wannabes out there, don't have your eyes wide shut, go ask those who are in the profession or have retired or opted out and find out what you can, before you start on this next passage of your life. Things ahead may not be exactly what you think they will be! Get smart, after all you are all the ones with the "perfect score", the creme de la creme. All the same my best of best wishes go out to all of you as you start on that long and windy and weary journey.
Something just popped up, before i conclude. Some of these doctor wannables may actually be more farsighted than i have assumed and their final target may not exactly be just an MBBS or MD but things further than them. For after having undergone the medical course, one may be better armed and prepared for an even more demanding [and i am told a more glamorous, rewarding, earth shaking and attention catching] profession, that of a ruling politician. One need only to open one's ears and eyes to see the shining examples of medical doctors, like the two new Tuns Drs, one Datuk Seri Dr Lim and one Datuk Dr Chua, who have made such successful switches from doctoring patients to doctoring the nation. This may be the direction some of our present doctor wannabes may be heading in the future.




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