Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Writing this early morning 12.40 a.m. on 02/12/2014

Yesterday was the 1st of December. Let me tell you about this day. Globally, the 1st of December is observed as the World AIDS Awareness Day. This was therefore done in our hospital as well. Sr. Maria Anna Li Barasi is a seasoned nurse and in charge of the awareness program. She worked hard the previous week to organise an awareness desk near the main entrance of the hospital; she disseminated folded red ribbons to all the doctors, nurses and other workers to be worn on their coats/lapels; she also gave out information booklets to patients, their relatives and health-care workers. 

We had an opportunity to click pictures with our colleagues; this enabled many among us to bond better with our friends. Alas, there was no party or any sign of it, since this was a working day. The OPD ran light, giving us greater opportunities to socialise with each other. 

As December is already under way, I am now awakening to the responsibility of studying more. My exam (the final installment of the Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (MRCPCH) U.K.) will be as per schedule around the end of the third week of January 2015 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. This means there are just over 45 days left for the exam! I have yet to receive intimation on the venue of the exam, but I have already booked my onward journey a full 6 days in advance, so that I get to adjust to the city and to perhaps meet other candidates and do last minute face-to-face revision with them.

The certificate that I will hopefully earn will give me the chance to flaunt a "UK acquired" qualification - nothing more. Had I been a few decades younger, I could have used it to migrate to the UK, and join their National Health Service (nhs.co.uk). In the current situation, MRCPCH helps resident doctors in Saudi Arabia to get re-classified as registrars; in the UAE, it helps to get slightly higher salaries when you apply for a job. For those who are already specialists, the certificate means little more in terms of re-classification or increase in salary, but I have to try to excel in the license exam the next time if I need to be re-classified. This won't depend on my MRCPCH, but on what my percent score is when I re-attempt their license exam (a computer-based test conducted by Prometric). In India, it gives a slight edge over Indian doctors with their MDs or DNBs, but not much. It might, at my age, help me to get a fellowship in the UK or Canada or Australia to study a specific sub-speciality in Paediatrics, but I think it might be a bit late for me to do that. 

However, the way I see it is that I have used my spare time here in the Kingdom fruitfully. I have read a lot of Paediatrics in the last three years. And they do say that knowledge is never wasted. Knowledge is power, after all. In addition, it will help enhance my image among my friends, family, acquaintances and others. Especially, it will show my colleagues from other countries that Indians are worth their salt! This applies to Saudis, Egyptians, Sudanese, Syrians, Pakistanis and my fellow-Indians as well. 

My room-mate Dr. Afzal is already an admirer of my courage and strength of purpose. He believes strongly that I cannot but succeed in the exams, since, according to him, I already have a good grasp of the subject. However, I choose to stay grounded. An exam is an exam, and one never knows when things might go wrong! The passing grade for this exam is over 85%, so it is not at all a cake-walk. 

I am keeping my fingers crossed, as they say, and hoping that my first attempt is also my last - because appearing for the final installment of the MRCPCH exam is an expensive matter. This year, I have sent nearly 130000 Indian rupees as my exam fees. In addition, I spent more than 100000 to do two courses - one in India and one here in Jeddah. Add to this the several books I have purchased, travel fees to India when I went there in June to attend a course, travel to Jeddah for the September 2014 course ... and other miscellaneous expenses, and you will see that it is certainly not easy for everyone to raise enough funds to give the exam. 

Hence, I need your prayers, dear readers. Thank you for reading and for your good wishes.

No comments: