Dear incoming students,
As your college principal, it gives me great joy to welcome you all to a very important new phase in your personal and professional lives, perhaps the most important. Being a doctor will not only be your professional identity, but also define most aspects of your personal life, and all your worldly interactions and relationships.
You are rightfully proud about your achievement, and perhaps your families are overjoyed at your admission in a medical college today. Many of you chose to become doctors because the chance it’ll give you to heal the sick, some for the respect and stability being a doctor provides, some to fulfill a dream, some for the money that doctors make, and some because your parents wanted you to fulfill their dreams. Or maybe a combination of some of these. All of these are fully legitimate reasons, and none is inferior or superior to the other.
Over the next few years, my colleagues and I will tell you in great detail about the human body, the various afflictions it can suffer from, and how to treat some of those afflictions. There will be long days and nights of study, long duty hours during your internship and thousands of pages to study and master. You have chosen this path, and not any of the other easier paths to success and financial reward, because you believe in the power of healing, and the impact agood doctor can have on a person’s life. And when you put in these long hours and this effort, I hope you will be doing so not just to pass some exams, get your degree or get an admission to your next high course, but because you know that some patient, even your loved ones, will put their faith in your ability and training when they fall sick. I hope you will pay attention, and learn as much as you can, to become the best doctors you can.
A medical student’s semester exams come twice a year, and a doctor takes four university exams. You will still have to pass your exams, but that is only path to get to the destination of being trusted, reliable doctors. I also hope that we will be able to train and prepare you for being kind and considerate doctors, who see their patients as fellow human beings, before seeing them as patients or their afflictions as puzzles to be solved. But nothing in your studies or training will prepare you for the joy the first time you deliver a baby, or for the time when you have to tell a dying patient’s relatives to bid their final goodbyes to their loved one. And those moments will bring your profession to life, give your careers meaning more than just a paycheck or a consultation fee, something your other non-medico friends will never experience.
In your lifetimes, you will receive social respect and financial reward for doing your job as a doctor, but more importantly, the medical degree will give you the authority and responsibility to do many more things in society, such as treating the sick, tending to the elderly, and record the times of births and deaths of your fellow citizens. I call these responsibilities because your word, your decisions, will be taken as the official record for when people were born, when they die, when they need treatment, and even when they bunk school or office! These powers will be entrusted to you by your teachers and professors when you graduate with your MBBS degree, and today, I ask you to think of these powers and rights as responsibilities, as a sacred duty towards yourself, your chosen profession, and your country. Your diagnosis and prescription for patients will determine, to some extent, how they feel that day or week or month, whether they recover from injuries or sickness, and sometimes even whether they live or die. These are not magical powers, not powers you have gained because you aced the NEET exam. These are powers you will receive after thousands of hours of preparation, hard work, and commitment to this field, and of course passing some tough exams! When you make these diagnosesor decide these courses of action, I hope you remember the responsibility this field entrusts with you, to do your job honestly, faithfully, patiently, and most importantly, with fealty to your conscience and training.
A nation invests considerable financial and other resources in making its future doctors, who will take care of their fellow citizens, but it is not just about this transaction between doctors and the society. Your work will be rewarded financially and with respect, but your own duty towards your profession goes far beyond just the rewards of the effort. It is a sacred duty that the nation and the society entrusts to a very select band of its children, for them to be responsible and competent doctors. I hope that all of you will also remember this trust when you treat your patients, and keep in mind that their interests come before yours, whether they be medical, financial, or legal. There will be good days and bad, patients who thank you and those who blame you, patients who get cured with your efforts and those that don’t, despite the best of your efforts. All of these together will make your professional lives, and all of it together will make your professional experience.
On a personal note, I want to say that this profession has given me a very satisfying and rewarding life. I wish all of you immense happiness and satisfaction in your professional and personal lives.
Dr (Col) Rajat Srivastava (Retd)
Principal & Controller
Govt. Medical College, Bharatpur