Does your child often say, “I want to become a doctor”? If yes, then help develop these 10 qualities and make him go through these 5 steps to achieve his dream.
By Subhechha Chatterjee
Becoming a doctor is one of the most common dreams every child has once in a while. No wonder then, games like ‘doctor, doctor’ or ‘operation’ are some of the most popular ones kids play till date. But choosing the ‘doctor profession’ and pursuing the steps to become a doctor is no child’s play. It is one of the most selfless professions known to mankind.
So, if you are wondering how to encourage your child to become a doctor, make him realise that to make his dream come true, it will take a lot of hard work and dedication. And, at some point, he’ll also have to deal with very tough decisions. To achieve this ambition to become a doctor, he must not only have a keen interest in Science and pursue an MBBS degree, but he should also have the qualities required to become a doctor.
1. Empathy: Is your child sensitive towards others’ emotions and pain? Does he understand what the other person is going through and find it satisfying to offer a helping hand to anyone in despair? When such an empathetic child grows up to become a doctor he will be able to empathise with the patient and understand his source of anxiety.
2. Presence of mind: Some medical situations need doctors to think on their feet and improvise the method of treatment depending on the situation and the resources at hand. So, presence of mind is a quality that is highly valued in this profession and enables doctors to make crucial decisions during emergency situations.
Your child’s ability to take prompt, immediate decisions during a tricky situation will make her a great fit for the medical profession. Even the capability to come up with a workable, alternative plan when the initial plan fails, is a much-needed attribute of a good doctor in the making.
3. Sacrifice: There are numerous moments in a doctor’s life when he has to sacrifice his meals, sleep, special moments with the family, and sometimes even his own health to care for his patients. It is this passion to become a doctor and serve people that drives medical professionals to give up their comforts and happiness on many occasions.
You may have witnessed instances when your child has shared his entire lunch box with a friend who has not got hers, or he may have chosen to miss a friend’s party to spend more time with an ailing grandparent. These are subtle cues that suggest he will have the motivation to become a doctor.
4. Patience: If your child is observant, alert and can handle tense situations in a calm manner, then encourage this quality. Doctors need to be patient to understand their patients’ concerns, analyse the problem and come up with a tentative plan of treatment. They cannot jump to conclusions without giving the patient and the problem due thought. Furthermore, some treatments and medication take some time to heal. So, patience is a quality every doctor needs.
5. Honesty: Honesty as a value is appreciated in every profession. A child who is not hesitant to speak the truth should be encouraged to follow this profession. Everyone wants their doctor to be honest with them. Some pieces of news may be harder to break than the others; therefore, doctors need to be gentle with the patients and their relatives while relaying such news. It’s best that they explain the situation honestly and in simple terms. This makes it easier for the patient to accept his or her predicament.
6. Humility: Your child may often be complimented for excelling in academics and extra-curricular activities. But it is necessary to let her know the importance of accepting praise with humility. Especially, she should realise that the praise is for the effort and not the person. It is a virtue that will enable her to remain grounded despite reaching great heights in this profession. Let her know that a good doctor is loved by his patients not only for the treatment he offers but also for his humble nature.
“As a doctor I feel very grateful when I bump into a stranger who recognises me and stops to say that my treatment worked wonders for him. The respect shown by him makes me feel humbled and drives me to strive harder to become a better doctor,” shares Dr Mansi Khemka from Kolkata.
7. Respect: A respectful child is kind and courteous towards others. He is not judgmental and is thoughtful of others’ emotions and feelings. A doctor needs to be respectful to his patients regardless of their age, gender, class, health status or education. This creates a great rapport between the doctor and patient.
8. Optimism: Hope and reassurance given by a doctor often boosts a patient’s morale and encourages him to take greater ownership of his health. A tinge of optimism and a few words of encouragement can make even a life-threatening ailment more bearable for a patient. So, encourage your child to look towards the brighter side of life.
9. Curiosity: A child’s curiosity encourages her to explore, learn new things and gain more knowledge. The field of medical science is perpetually developing, with new drugs, techniques and medical procedures being discovered and invented every year. If your child is curious by nature, this trait will help him become a great doctor as he will be abreast with all the latest advancements in this field.
10. Teamwork: A doctor often has to work with a team of other doctors, surgeons, specialists, nurses, medical technicians, and other para-medical and non-medical staff. Your child’s ability to work well in a team will help him in this field when he has to consult with various specialists to decide upon a course of treatment.
If you feel that your child has some, or all of these qualities, you can nurture these attributes and encourage her to pursue the noble profession of medicine. However, your child has to clear the medical entrance examination and the degree course. Here are 5 steps to becoming a doctor:
Step 1: After passing Class X, your child should choose the Science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as compulsory subjects for +2/ higher secondary.
Step 2: At the same time, encourage your child to prepare well for the medical entrance exams. You can enrol him in a coaching institute or an online tutorial. Good preparation is important to secure the minimum cut-off marks and get a MBBS/ BDS seat in medical colleges in India.
Step 3: When the time comes, fill in the application forms for medical entrance exams like NEET, AIIMS, AFMC and JIPMER. He can also fill forms for state-specific and other institution-specific exams like MH-CET, PMET and COMEDK UGET.
Step 4: Once your child gains admission into a medical college, he will have to put in his best to complete the 5.5 year MBBS / BDS degree course. This includes 4.5 years of rigorous classroom studies and a year of rotating internship.
Step 5: Following completion of the degree course, your child may choose to specialise in a particular department. For this, he would have to appear for a postgraduate entrance exam to secure a seat in a medical college.
While you do all this, try not to force your career choices on your child. Remember, if your child grows up to be a curious, honest, responsible, respectful and empathetic individual, she’ll achieve success in whatever career she chooses to pursue.
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