Thoughts on being a resident doctor
Dr. Nalini Newbigging, final year MD registrar
There are many reasons why a person decides to dedicate their lives to the practice of medicine.
These reasons range from an ambition to want to do something that is reputed, to having a genuine desire to help ailing humanity. My personal journey into the practice of medicine was private and borderline selfish. A loved one was sick, and I detested the helplessness I felt in not being able to make them well again.
The 3 years of training here are rigorous and not for the faint hearted. 3 years of ward rounds, outpatient clinics, grand rounds, seminars, on-call days and sleepless nights are what await you. Interspersed with rotations in the 5 units of General Medicine are rotations in the various speciality units and the Department of Emergency Medicine , ranging from 2 weeks to 1 month. Days can run into weeks and weeks into months and you may be none the wiser.
In my years of training in Christian Medical College as both an undergraduate student and as a post graduate student in the Department of General Medicine, I have been the recipient of the many privileges this esteemed institution has to offer. From distinguished professors, excellent para-clinical and laboratory support, access to a vast array of diagnostic modalities, facilities for a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, to access to medical literature and guidance in practicing evidence-based medicine.
However, what I have learnt most, is that despite being a doctor, I may not be able to cure everyone and every disease. I do, however, have tools to help ease their pain, to support them through their most vulnerable moments. Yes, there are times when everything goes right and we win the battle against sickness, but there are times that despite our best efforts we lose, but it is in those moments when our training is most tested and that is when we do what we know to do best.
The 3 years of Post graduate training, will push you to be more that you thought you could be, work harder than you thought possible, sometimes pushes you to the brink of breaking. It does however also equip you to not only have a career in General Medicine, but also to thrive. The Department of Medicine in its method of teaching and function equips you to work through each patient, not just as a case, but as a person with a problem for you to solve, it encourages proactive thinking, it applauds ingenuity, it offers support, it encourages camaraderie.
I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and train at CMC, Vellore, it’s a privilege ordained for a few, and, I am one of them. The person I was and the person I have become are the results of a decade of residing in the hallowed walls of the Institution.
“We look for medicine to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure. But it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and at the same time lives on the line. There is science in what we do, yes, but also habit, intuition, and sometimes plain old guessing. The gap between what we know and what we aim for persists. And this gap complicates everything we do.”
― Atul Gawande, Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
MY JOURNEY SO FAR…
Dr. Sumi Susan Baby, first year MD registrar
When I joined CMC Vellore for my post-graduation in General Medicine last year, I was super excited! But as soon as the work began, I started to have mixed feelings. Being an outsider, getting used to the new system, the crowd, the infrastructure, was challenging. There were struggles, (still do!) but somehow I was able to sail through all that. God's grace, amazing seniors and understanding consultants- all of it helped me through this journey so far.. We had a detailed orientation when we joined, which sort of laid the foundation.. Gradually we were given ward postings, under the observation of our seniors. There after we were given our own patients. There have been nights when we would be up all night by the bedside of a sick patient, trying to figure out what is best for the patient. The journey has not and will not be smooth, but was made pleasant by great colleagues and seniors. A suggestion that I would give is, to have a session everyday on approach to basic symptom complexes that is seen frequently in OPD and ward, and also a session on acute management of medical emergencies in the beginning itself. Rest be told, it’s a blessing to be in this college. You may feel like giving up sometimes, but there are always people to talk to, to share your feelings, to support you…Now I’ve become part of the CMC Vellore family and I would like to welcome all freshers to our family.:-)