In the best-case scenario without any breaks, you can be an anesthesiologist at 26 years of age.
I know many anesthesiologists in India. Most people in India who want to become an anesthesiologist become one by the age of 30 years. I did my anesthesia training in one of the best places in the World PGIMER, Chandigarh, I will explain how all the steps on how you can become an anesthesiologist in India. I had the honor of receiving my anesthesia degree in front of the Great A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Ji, Honorable Former President of India, a scientist, and above all a great human being.
There are many subspecialties after anesthesia training. I am specialized in Pediatric Anesthesia. Pediatric anesthesia is an excellent upcoming specialty, this is because 30% of the population in India are children. Without further ado, I will explain the ins and outs of this process.
How many steps are there to becoming a pediatric anesthesia doctor?
I will keep this very simple. Here are the 5 basic steps you need to become one:
- Step 1: Going to school. If you are thinking this is obvious, you are absolutely correct.
- Step 2: Going to college
- Step 3: MBBS
- Step 4; Anesthesia specialization (MD)
- Step 5: Pediatric Anesthesia specialization (Fellowship/DM Course).
Let’s talk about each of these steps in detail now. if you are interested to watch this in a video format, check this out on YouTube. This picture is an actual one from my anesthesia Convocation.
What is the school structure in India?
If you have a child in school or have been to school in India you already know this. The grades are classified as classes and here is how it runs:
- Lower kindergarten
- Upper kindergarten
- Primary school (Classes 1, 2, 3, and 4)
- Middle school (Classes 5, 6, and 7)
- High school (Classes 8, 9, and 10)
Class 10 is also known as SSLC in some states. SSLC stands for Secondary School Leaving Certificate. Generally, this is considered a major milestone and decides what happens next.
What happens after class 10?
Students enter college after class 10. This is called Pre University Course or PUC. In some states, this is referred to as Plus 1 and Plus 2 (which in other words mean plus 1 and plus 2). Now in this, it is important to pick these 3 subjects which will make you eligible to get to MBBS.
The next big step is to clear the NEET exam. I did not have this exam but rather I had an exam of a similar format. The NEET exam is established to set a standard for MBBS admissions in India. You can find the link to the NEET exam by clicking this link.
What is the next step in becoming a doctor?
What a relief. NEET is done and you are competitive. Alright time to get into MBBS. MBBS is a bachelor’s degree. This is different in the USA where it is a master’s degree. MBBS is highly desirable for students as this is the only pathway to becoming a Doctor in India. Of course, I am not talking of other allied branches like Ayurveda or homeopathy.
MBBS is done in medical colleges that are attached to hospitals where students rotate to see patients. There are two types of medical colleges
The government-run is desired by students as they are pocket friendly and have great experience for students. There are some private hospitals that are good but they run the risk of drilling a hole in the pocket, in other words, are expensive.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences located in New Delhi is a prestigious medical college for MBBS. There are a total of 562 colleges in India that produces a large number of doctors. The training can be variable with some offering outstanding training and some being mediocre. This is something to keep in mind as you think of MBBS.
What happens during MBBS?
During MBBS, a medical student gets exposure to numerous different things. Although there is some variability in general this is how the syllabus in MBBS is structured.
The MBBS is a 4.5-year course divided into three 1.5 years
First 1.5 years – Preclinical. Subjects in this period
Second 1.5 years – Paraclinical.
This period is a combination of theoretical learning, practical learning in the lab, and practical learning in the hospital with real patients.
The subjects during this period are
- Forensic Medicine
Third 1.5 years. This was mainly time spent in the hospital along with some theoretical learning.
The subjects during this period are
- Community medicine
- Internal Medicine
- Obstetrics & Gynecology
Each of these periods consists of passing exams to move on to the next steps. In addition, there are numerous assignments that occur periodically. Once the final exam is passed, officially a doctor can practice under someone else.
What is the next phase after MBBS?
After passing MBBS, there is a 1-year compulsory internship. This is done in a hospital where the student now undergoes exclusive rotation in a hospital to learn the practical aspects of medicine. This is where there is exposure to the art of prescribing medicines and assisting in surgeries.
How to become an anesthesia doctor?
After MBBS, a doctor in India is licensed to practice medicine in a very limited scope. Typically students (who are now officially doctors) enter into a specialization of their choice.
The first part to become a pediatric anesthesia doctor is to become an anesthesia doctor. To become an anesthesia specialist, there are two pathways in India
- MD Anesthesia
- DNB Anesthesia
Both these pathways are 3 years long. The MD training is done in major hospitals while the DNB training can be done in stand-alone hospitals. Like MBBS, the training can be variable.
The first step is to clear a competitive exam and score high to become an MD anesthesia. Some of the places that offer MD anesthesia with national and international reputations are:
- AIIMS, New Delhi
- PGIMER, Chandigarh
- CMC, Vellore
- JIPMER, Pondicherry
- Numerous colleges in each state
How long is anesthesia training?
The anesthesia training is 3 years long. During this training, doctors are exposed to all specialties where surgery and medical procedures are done. During any medical and surgical procedure, the critical person is the anesthesia doctor who ensures the patients are kept safe and comfortable.
Some of the specialties where anesthesia exposure occurs include:
- Cardiac surgeries
- Lung surgeries
- Head and neck surgeries
- Regional Anesthesia
- Pain medicine
- and many many more areas.
There will be multiple assignments, theoretical training, and discussions during anesthesia training. All students have to complete a mandatory thesis without which they cannot be a specialist anesthesia doctor. Following thesis completion and passing an exam, the doctor is now officially an anesthesia doctor licensed to practice anesthesia.
How to become a pediatric anesthesia doctor?
After completion of anesthesia completion and obtaining an anesthesia degree, the anesthesia doctor applies to do pediatric anesthesia training.
There are two ways to become a pediatric anesthesia doctor after passing anesthesia exams.
- Fellowship – 1 year long
- DM degree – 3 years long
The 1 year-long fellowship is available in stand-alone hospitals in the following cities
- New Delhi
- and a few other cities
The fellowship is provided under the guidance of the Indian Association of Paediatric Anaesthesiologists, which is the main pediatric anesthesia society in India.
The 3-year DM course is available at only two hospitals at the moment
- PGIMER, Chandigarh
- KEM. Mumbai
Following this training and passing an exam, the anesthesia doctor is now a certified pediatric anesthesia doctor.
If you are interested to know how pediatric anesthesia is done, check this video out on anesthesia in a 1-year-old baby
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