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The Rat Race


Life of a medical graduate is a rat race. Right from the point when a student starts preparing for pre medical tests till he/she becomes a specialist or a super specialist, they keep running to ace some exam.

In this race no one ever questions the road on which they are running. Most of them don’t even know why they are running. They are on that road just because they were told to. All that matters is to reach the finish line.

The Start Line:

Lets start from the PMTs.16 year old students are supposed to study Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology to clear their high school exam. At the same time they are also expected to study the same course more thoroughly for medical entrance exams. When the course is same and the kids are same why do we need different exams to judge their aptitude?

In practice this system has only led to rote learning of course syllabus over years. Students cram up their study materials without understanding completely, not because they don’t have the aptitude to understand but because the system doesn’t need them to.

And that’s just the starting. Once the students enter into healthcare courses after clearing PMTs they are met with a curriculum completely different from what they were taught for 10+2 years.

The same race repeats the next time they have to give an entrance for Post Graduate courses. Instead of focussing on treating maximum number of patients during internship a student is supposed to study anatomy and biochemistry that they learnt in 1st year. This not only leaves them unprepared for the challenges in the real world when they start practicing alone but also puts the general population at risk.

The Race:

The curriculum of medical education is such that it promotes the rat race. In the first year you race to ace anatomy, physiology and biochemistry without realising it’s application. What would a 1st year understand by dissecting a digastric muscle in 1st year when he/she doesn’t even know when and why to reflect it? Till the time students reach 3rd year to study surgery all the dissection they had done in 1st year is forgotten.

Teaching medicine subject wise is a wasteful exercise. Medicine should be taught system wise. Say you are dissecting the tongue today on a cadaver, if you are taught about the anatomy, its blood and nerve supply, its attachment and functions, associated pathologies and surgical modalities  during the same course, it would be more helpful and easier to retain.
Instead of making students run blindly towards scoring marks at the end of every year we need to ask if that exercise is fruitful or not.

The Finish Line:

Medical students study for years to become doctors and specialist, but even after one finishes the course it’s hard to understand where they stand. The race doesn’t end here. Once they step into the world they race against the next doctor in their city to get maximum number of patients. The competition based result centric education system has changed the core of medicine in our country. While trying to fight the battle between passion vs examination protocol we lose the sight of why we wanted to become a doctor: the patient.

That folks, is the funny thing about rat races. It doesn’t matter if you are a winner or a loser, you end up being a rat.


About The Author:

This article was written by Dr Prerna Motwani .


6 thoughts on “The Rat Race

    • Definitely not by keeping quite. We can voice our displeasures till the government hears our pleas and expect a better future.

  1. Wow Mam. That’s what I realised from my days in DPS RK Puram till the end of my internship in UCMS. I am really happy that at least someone else thinks the same.

  2. The problem was always there and even the superiors of our profession are aware of the fact too. But what we are interested is the solution.

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