Dr. Navin K Sharma, MBBS (IOM)
Study of medicine remains the number one dream and reality for top-ranked students of Nepal for the last four decades. Past 8 out of 10 SLC board toppers in the country joined MBBS after completing plus two in bio. With the start of private medical colleges in 1997 and once the intake started in self-finance scheme entry is not limited for extremely laborious top notch students and hundreds of average students started joining medicine with the hope of making life comfortable and improving social dignity. The only field which gives you a separate identity by adding Dr as prefix before your name right after Bachelor Degree are MBBS and BDS. Number of medical council registered doctors has jumped from 3,000 in 2000 AD to 13,000 at the end of 2015 AD with estimated 10,000 active doctors working currently in Nepal and some 2,000 abroad. We still need 12,000 more doctors in shortest span of time to meet WHO criteria of Doctor Population ratio. Nearly 300 young graduates of MBBS go to USA, UK and Australia every year for further education(commonly MD) with added intention of settling there. In UnitedStates, doctors known popularly as physicians are among the highest end earners with annual average salary of USD 2,50,000 left behind only by some reputed company CEOs andGovernors.
About the course and related fields
Medical degree in bachelor level is known as MBBS in UK dominated education system and is directly recognized as MD in United States, Russia, Philippines etc. It is a minimum of five and half years intensive study course including one year of compulsory internship at the end. In the US one can join medicine as MD only after 4 years of undergraduate in premedical after 12 years of schooling (+2 or A Level). In SAARC countries including Nepal, students join MBBS after +2 or A Level in bio group science with minimum of 50% marks in aggregate and in each subject of physics, Chemistry and Biology separately also. A Level needs minimum of grade C in all three subjects. Omission of any of the three subjects in both years of +2 or A Level makes the entry strictly invalid.
Students have to sit for entrance exam that comprises objective questions of Phy, Chem and Bio of roughly equal proportion and for the first time in Nepal, there will be a single National Common Medical Entrance starting soon. In the new system, there will be some questions from ethics, social science and communication skills, fate of English is undecided so far. Bachelor of Dental Science known as BDS is another highly sought subject that takes one year less for completion, frees you from frequent night duties and less stressful job duty. Eligibility criteria and entrance exam are almost the same. Contrary to the popular belief, BDS is not limited to teeth only but includes the whole of oral cavity and lower part of facial surgery also. One can shift from dental to basic science subjects like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry etc in master degree. B. Sc. Nursing is another fast growing subject with roughly 1,300 nurses being produced every year from Nepal and India. Some students have gone to States and Australia for Bachelor level where job is almost guaranteed with monthly salary of 5,000-8,000 USD. Nurses graduated from Nepal and India cannot go directly for job in any of the western country. They will have to study at least 2 years there, maximum of half credit can be transferred. Proficiency in English and communication skill has been the biggest barrier so far. If you have a slightest chance of going abroad for career in Nursing please start building basics of English from today. Few months TOEFL or IELTS or SAT-I course will not improve the English to the required level. Number of scholarship seats are around 70, under self finance it costs roughly 9-12 lacs for the total duration of 4 years. Bachelor in Public Health (BPH) is a course of 4 years that will prepare you for administration and research in health with emphasis on improving health status of the community or the whole country and not an individual patient. Entrance or entry is easier, seats are plenty (about 600) and even in donation it costs less than 5 lakhs for 4 years.
B Pharm is related to production, distribution and dispensing of drugs with a lot of emphasis on research in new drugs. Entry criteria and cost are similar to BPH. Nepal graduate need further course to become eligible to work abroad.
BMLT is related to medical lab technology, graduate can work in health lab or can set up new lab with self investment. Master degree can expand into many divergent newly developing fields like serology, immunology etc. BMIT is related to imaging technology that is the core part of X-Ray, CT scan or MRI.
Entry into MBBS
As a student of A Level or plus two, you must know a few facts that are not discussed commonly and many of your seniors did not notice.
1. Competitiveness of entrance:
It’s not you who competes in reality, in fact it is your marks that is the level in MCQs of Phy, Chem and Bio. Your job is to secure around 90 percent marks objective questions and that will be enough to secure seats by beating others. You cannot jump to 90 from current level within 3-4 months of preparation but gradually crawl to it in a year or two. There is no need and no definite advantage in being selected in first chance. More than 75% of doctors who studied in scholarship got the seat in second or subsequent attempt. Your MCQ (multiple choice question) or objective level in PCB is almost fixed with 5% chance of stretch in either side and it can be improved slowly and definitely towards the 90 marks.
2. Success in entrance needs ABC and hates DE.
Your study must be deeply absorbing and not with nervous temptation of turning the page, emphasizing and repeating the basics and not in complicating details, with focus and concentration the key not merely the hour of study. Dependency upon teachers aid has been the commonest cause of failure in entrances of any level or in real life. Excercises in the books are meant for you, don’t seek for help until you are exhausted of all possible ways. Stretching of effort expands your mental strength to a new level. E in the last stands for Exam, most students study for getting marks and never get above average mark. One needs to study with a real purpose of understanding and with curiosity, not merely for marks. Your marks in objective questions precisely reflects level of understanding and not the mocked-up facts.
3. Anyone can get 90
You may feel frustrated to think how you can get selected in a competition involving thousands of students. But your tasks suddenly becomes within-reach once you just focus on getting to the level of 90. Student of any category, with any percentage in SLC or plus 2 can reach 90 by running or walking or crawling but in slight different frame of time. In a life of about 90 years and economically productive career of 40 years, counting of few months spent in finding your dream career is meaningless. Effort of few more months or attempt of one more time may uplift the height of your life to many fold.
4. Preparation in college not after college
All the questions to be asked in the entrances are from your text books. No part of your inside-college study with deep understanding will go in vain. Selection in medical entrance is largely decided within the college. Your job is just to study one topic at a time, repeat it and start solving objective questions from any of the available guides. The cycle is study-understand repeat-practice of question and revolve the cycle till you start getting 90 marks in each topic of PCB of +2 or A Level.
5. Study in Donation
Cost is around 40-45 lakhs as tuition fee and entry is much easier for any level of students. But just consider one fact. How long does it take to earn that much money for your parents? 5 years, 10 years or 15 years? I know your parent may be ready to invest for improving your future. But is it justified that they are ready to devote 5-15 years in saving that much money just for you and you are not ready to spend one year to enter in scholarship ?
Via: CHELSEA WAVELENGTH year -6, issue-2