August 14, 2022

Doctors Day- Challenges faced by our White Coat Superheroes!

Doctors and almost all medical professionals were viewed as saviors and superheroes, but that time is long gone. Unfortunately, the current scenario is far from rewarding for medical professionals. With the glorious headlines flooding the internet thanking doctors and health care professionals, it seemed like the pandemic times were the best for doctors in terms of public relations.

A doctor is constantly blazed under the scrutiny of the media as well as the general public. However, COVID did increase the presence of doctors in the media, and celebrating their contribution.

Many medical students naively think that their struggles are over as soon as they enter the doors of a medical college, yet the reality is far from this. After long hours of study in their undergraduate college, medical professionals find themselves tangled in a mesh of scarce and confusing options for their future as soon as they graduate.

Doctors further do specializations and super specializations, making their journey laden with books and education longer than most other graduates. They don’t even get a holistic college experience, often with little to no cultural activities. If you think that the long study term is probably the only challenge, this noble profession is not easier on the field too!

Our medical professionals work day in and day out, putting in more than twelve-hour shifts typically. Troubled sleep, long working, and distressing hours are considered a part of their career with nothing to be reformed. The mental and physical exhaustion leads to them being completely burned out. A survey published in Cureus conducted in 2017 with 500 respondents revealed that almost 45% of doctors were victims of emotional exhaustion and 66% suffered from depersonalization.

Professional ‘Burnout’ is real and has astonishingly prevalent3. Unfortunately, the return of all the effort is more often than not negligible.

After putting in almost double the hours of work and effort, doctors get a measly initial pay. Moreover, there is a little progression in their career. While their peers in other fields are advancing towards an innovative and diverse professional life, medical professionals are stringed to the rigid rules of medicine. With the current medical infrastructure in place concerning education, our doctors are held within the boundaries of information and opinions set in stone; there is no space to grow. Some medical professionals break the barrier but are an exception, not the norm.

The career progression is evident in the difference in position and pays between an individual with a degree in management consultancy and a medical professional in the same period. A survey by The Medicus Firm revealed that nearly 20% of doctors plan to make a career change within 12 months, with about eight percent ‘definitely’ looking to quit clinical practice and the other 10% are ‘most likely to make a career change. This cannot be a drastic change but an issue pilling up for ages to exhaustion. Often they are not even met with basic human etiquette, as should be evident from underreported events of violence, which have been on a steep rise. They incur the wrath for the death of patients, misconceptions due to treatments, payment for procedures, and so much more.

People fail to notice that they, too, are victims of the profit-hungry medical infrastructure. Through the constant accusations, doctors are always asked for advice on medical issues. This affects the social dynamic of a doctor. Everyone has bills to pay, unique circumstances, families to support, and strives for personal and professional fulfillment. The satisfaction of helping a patient, saving lives, and bringing up smiles makes it all worth it in the end. It turns out maintaining a white coat isn’t that easy, huh? Speaking both literally and figuratively.

References:

  1. https://www.cureus.com/articles/4941-burnout-syndrome-among-medical-practitioners-across-india-a-questionnaire-based-survey
  2. https://www.themedicusfirm.com/pdf/TMF_2018_Physician_Practice_Survey.pdf
  3. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/signs-of-burnout/

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