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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Those who practice as physicians in our society are increasingly looked upon with some suspicion. Dig a little deeper and one is apt to find that they are more to be pitied than to be censured.

A physician is denied the fundamental right to some solitude. Even at a social gathering, she is likely to be surrounded by wannabe patients who are keen to seek her impromptu advice as to the latest affliction the party of the other part has heard about and imagines oneself to be suffering from the same.

Close relatives are not too considerate either. A distant relative could call late at night, skillfully steering the conversation from children’s career prospects to the current bout of migraine she happens to be suffering from. If anyone in the circle of friends or relatives happens to be admitted to a hospital, the physician ends up spending sleepless nights, adroitly juggling her official commitments and personal relations, often messing up both.

Latest advancements in medicine keep them on their toes. So does the competition from various streams of medicine, such as Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and many other local variants of each of these streams. Superstitions, local beliefs, religion, social norms are but some of the constraints which need to be kept in mind. Legal tangles, such as those apply to road accident cases, keep them on the defensive.

In advanced countries, they face tough customer care regulations. In emerging economies like India, they suffer humiliation – occasionally violent – at the hands of irate relatives and well-wishers if the latter perceive the medical service provided to their kith and kin to be deficient.

Return on Investment considerations

To be a mere graduate in any discipline of medicine does not amount to much these days. Even to become a graduate, the hapless souls have to experience at least five and a half years of the tyranny of the classroom, with the trauma of a stint as an intern thrown in for good measure.

Monetary rewards obviously vary depending upon their choice of a career. They could choose to be in their own private practice, or join a private sector outfit, or become a part of the public health delivery mechanism.

If public spending on health infrastructure is woefully inadequate, private players end up playing an important role in the medical education scenario. Many aspiring physicians opt for a private sector skill provider. As a consequence, hassled parents end up shelling out sackfuls of the green stuff. Return on Investment considerations then determine the choice of their career.

The blue-eyed ones

The resourceful ones set up their own practice. If the going is good, some of them end up laughing all the way to the bank, what with hefty commissions coming in from such allied medical service providers as marketeers of branded medicines and diagnostic clinics.

Those who happen to be associated with five-star private sector health facilities have tough business targets to meet. This is not to say that patient care necessarily gets compromised, but an overdose of medical investigations surely leaves the patient and her family deprived of mental peace and some hard-earned green stuff.

When the costliest of medicines and gadgets get recommended by physicians, stakeholders of pharmaceutical companies and those in the field of medical equipment laugh all the way to the bank. Admittedly, quite a lot of money gets pumped into research and development, but it is open to debate as to how much profit could be considered rational and socially justified.

Much like the marketing honchos in the private sector who bring in business and resultant moolah, such physicians happen to be the blue-eyed boys of any entity which boasts of being a corporate facility.

The grey eyed ones

Physicians who are part of the government healthcare delivery system and happen to be conscientious by nature are often overloaded with work. Monetary rewards are often not commensurate with the efforts being put in. The eyes of a majority of them would be a dull grey, revealing a soul which is tormented and has given up hope.

Besides having to publish research papers in peer-reviewed journals and making presentations at medical seminars, students have to be guided, examinations have to be conducted and internal meetings need to be attended. Administrative chores cannot be ignored.

Above all, routine patient care cannot be made to suffer. Patients, whether of the ‘in’ or the ‘out’ kind, descend in droves, all eager to jump the queue and catch the attention of the physician. The plight of those in most of the emerging economies is most distressing because the per capita availability of physicians leaves much to be desired.

Of Attitude and Inner Resilience

Much depends on the attitude of a patient. One could come across persons with a cheerful disposition headed for their second open heart surgery, relishing a deep-fried item with much glee. One could also run into those who worry endlessly over such transient ailments as a bout of common cold or sinusitis.

Physicians obviously deal with a baffling variety of patients with much finesse and aplomb. Nerves of chilled steel get deployed. A sense of detachment pervades their handling of a patient. Their inner resilience deserves to be applauded.

With such fine qualities of head and heart, one can merely admire the quality of their work which keeps upholding the reputation of their profession. The Hippocratic Oath might appear to be relegated to the background, but is surely alive and kicking.

In many streams of alternative medicine, the patient is taken as a composite whole and treated holistically. The inner resilience of a patient is accorded a higher weightage. Allopathy, the mainstay of masses in the times we live in, does it the other way round, where each organ is looked at and treated separately. In mathematical parlance, alternative streams could be likened to Integral Calculus, whereas allopathy could be likened to Differential Calculus.

Shoring up one’s inner resilience

There are indeed ways for patients to improve one’s inner resilience, so as to be able to handle the harsh slings and arrows of Fate in a more positive manner. A deeper inner connection helps. To achieve the same, regular introspection and meditation helps.

As the Mother has said, the right approach would be to simply disallow negative thoughts to gain a foothold in one’s psychical system. Patients obviously need loads of patience to be able to put this advice in practice!

(Note: Inputs from Dr. Shivani Salil Dr. Shruti Bhatia are gratefully acknowledged.)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/of-patient-satisfaction-quotient-motivation-and-kinds-of-patients)

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Art SavitriThere is a deep link between art and our consciousness. Here is a post which explores this vital link and even celebrates it!

Creative by Nature

“Developing mastery in an art influences how we think about challenges and see the world. Every one of us has the potential to be an artist, to harness and express our innate wisdom and creativity.”

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You’ve probably noticed how the most beautiful paintings, music and poetry evoke a sense of connection, peace and gratitude. Great works of art celebrate and express the beauty of Nature, that “the universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper,” as Eden Phillpotts put it.

With the best art we are reminded that we live in a Creative Universe that is itself a work of art, filled with masterpieces of rivers, stars, mountains, children, clouds and flowers. The greatest artists, poets and musicians down through time (like Picasso, Walt Whitman, Mozart and Van Gogh) have tried to communicate this message to us. That art surrounds us everywhere.

They encouraged us to look carefully, and to develop our own creative potential. When…

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Respected Madam,

As a pro-active Education Minister, you surely wish to leave a distinguished mark on the history of educational reforms in India. Permit me to share with you some broad areas which you may find relevant.

1. Re-engineering our education system 

India no longer needs to produce only administrators, followers and executors. She also needs innovators. She needsMay 2014 033 people who can think big. Those who can think out-of-the-box and can come up with novel solutions to her unique set of problems. She deserves a system which places less emphasis on rote and more on development of creative faculties.

2. Doing away with the ‘centum’ craze

We need to offer an eco-system which does away with the mind-numbing race to score higher and higher marks. These days, if a student manages to secure 99% either in languages or in any stream of humanities, we are led to wonder if the testing system itself is credible.

3. Excelling in research, avoiding re-search

Let the institutions of higher learning focus on teaching and research. An over-emphasis on organizing seminars and other extra-curricular activities is leading to a situation where the core job of faculty – teaching and research – is getting diluted. The fact that not a single Indian institution of higher learning figures in the list of top 200 universities prepared by The Times Higher Education Supplement makes one pause and think.

4. Credits are good, monochromatic mediocrity is not

The proposed Choice Based Credit System is commendable, but makes better sense at the post-graduate level. What we do not need is a monochromatic and mediocre spectrum of higher education which spoils the beauty that India innately is – diverse and federal. Let the autonomy remain and even be encouraged. Institutions of higher learning need to excel in their respective domains; to do so, they need autonomy. Standardization across the country is an idea which could be allowed to rest in peace.

Thiruvalluvar

Thiruvalluvar

5. Values, ethics and morals

We need citizens who not only demand rights but also respect and discharge their own obligations. One of the goals we need to have is to blend the material and the spiritual. Courses which propagate higher values, ethics and morals need to be designed and offered. Scriptures from various religions are a repository of great wisdom. Great seers and thinkers like Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo have left behind a rich legacy of concepts and thoughts. We need to encourage institutions which can translate and communicate these in a relevant and effective manner to the youth of today.

6. Educated in India

In an increasingly globalized world, the need is to attract Ivy League institutions and true blue academicians to India. Policies need to be announced to attract some of our best minds into teaching and research. Schemes need to be devised to ensure that our teachers are motivated better. An open-minded policy on foreign languages would help the youth connect better with the world. Much like our mission to ‘Make in India’, let us strive to create a brand ‘Educated in India’. Let India become the hub of higher learning in the Asian region yet again and regain its past glory.

7. Goals are found, means need to follow

As a percentage to GDP, India spends less than 3.5% on education. This will not do. Revamping the conceptual infrastructure of the education system is as critical to the long-term growth of India as the creation of physical infrastructure is. What we sow now, our coming generations shall reap. Objectives of our educational infrastructure cannot be fulfilled only by an increasing participation of the private sector. Funding for education deserves to be accorded a higher priority.

I submit the above with all humility at my command. I do hope these would get considered and a due diligence carried out by subject experts on your panel. Discussions with major stakeholders would ensure that a radically new education policy is announced soon. The future of India is in your capable hands.

Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to participate in a discussion of this nature.

An ordinary citizen of India

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/enriching-our-management-education-further

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/degrees-of-separation)

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