In recent times, the discourse around the recommended 70-plus working hours per week in India has gained prominence, championed by influential figures such as Infosys founder Mr. Narayana Murthy. The overarching goal is to propel India towards becoming a developed nation. However, amidst this push, the invaluable contributions of the medical field often remain undervalued in the broader narrative of nation-building.
The Unnoticed Commitment:
While the nation rightfully applauds the dedication displayed by healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a noticeable lack of positive news regarding nation-building activities in the medical field. In reality, the average doctor in India works well beyond 70 hours per week, a fact that often goes unnoticed by news outlets. The work of a doctor extends far beyond a standard 9 am to 5 pm schedule; they remain in a continuous state of alertness to handle any emergency that may arise during their demanding and unpredictable shifts.
No True Holidays:
Adding to the challenges, doctors in India rarely experience true holidays, even during festivals like Deepavali or on Sundays. The commitment to patient care is unwavering, and doctors cannot turn away old patients in need of emergency assistance. Despite this relentless dedication, news media sometimes portrays doctors unfairly, depicting them as money-hungry individuals. Such portrayals not only undermine the invaluable contributions of medical professionals but also perpetuate an inaccurate and unjust perception of their motives and character. It is crucial for society to recognize and respect the selfless service that doctors provide, acknowledging the sacrifices they make for the well-being of the community.
On a positive note, private players in India have actively joined hands with the government in schemes like PM-Jay, contributing to the realization of the nation's vision of universal healthcare. While the compensation under this government initiative is often significantly less, sometimes only one-third of the actual charges, private players continue to participate in the PM-Jay scheme. The government should acknowledge this aspect and work to build a positive image of doctors in Indian society.
Challenges in the Medical Profession:
The medical profession, though experiencing less demand than before, remains the most preferred career choice after the 12th standard, as evidenced by the highly competitive NEET UG exam. However, there appears to be a plateau or decreasing trend in recent times, primarily because public perception of this profession is waning, and other fields are also perceived as lucrative careers with shorter incubation periods.
Empowering the Medical Community:
To uplift the morale of doctors, the general public should be made aware of the challenges in a doctor's life. As a community of doctors, we should engage with the general public and educate them about the intricacies and complexities of medical practice. This proactive approach is essential to improve public perception. Instead of relying solely on mainstream news outlets, we, as a community, should actively engage with the general public through social media. Mainstream media often reflects social media trends, making it imperative for us to take charge of our narrative and foster a more accurate understanding of the medical profession.
In conclusion, the life of an Indian doctor goes far beyond the recommended working hours, with a commitment that extends into every hour of the day and every day of the year. It is time for society to appreciate the sacrifices made by these healthcare professionals and recognize their unwavering dedication to the well-being of the community. Only through collective understanding and support can we truly value the integral role that doctors play in shaping the health and future of our nation.