Tuesday Talks #2 with Dr Mahin Bhatt

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Dr Mahin Bhatt is a medical intern from Mumbai with a keen interest in clinical medicine, medical research. He has received research grants from ICMR, Oncology Scholarships at Tata Memorial Hospital and King’s College. In his Final Year MBBS, he secured the first rank in all of Maharashtra.


In today’s Tuesday Talks, Dr Mahin Bhatt tells us his honest opinions on competitiveness in the medical field. He believes that healthy competition is important but obsessing over competition endlessly can mess with your peace of mind. You must focus on your goals and priorities instead of aligning them with the general consensus.

Is there competitiveness amongst the medical students? What kind?

We start our medical journey with competitive exams, making competition an intrinsic part of our field. Once you enter medical college, you realise that your peers are equally brilliant. That’s when a slightly negative competition kicks in. You start comparing the number of hours others study, the books they refer to, how many marks they score. You start obsessing over what others are doing rather than focusing on your own goals.

Is there competitiveness amongst doctors in the medical profession?

When you become a doctor, you start competing based on the number of cases done and practical experience gained in complex procedures and surgeries. When you start your private practice, it is more challenging as you are competing with every other specialist in your field. You strive to have a bigger profile and patient base. But ultimately, at the core of this, everyone is focusing on improving their patient satisfaction. You may be the most knowledgeable doctor out there, but if your patients aren’t satisfied, you will not grow in your career.

Can you recount any personal experience in this context?

In my first year of MBBS, I was aiming to secure the first rank. In my preliminary exams, I missed my goal by a few marks. That stayed in my subconscious, and even though I did not engage in negative competition, I did start comparing myself to others. In the final exams, when I stood first, I was happy, but not because I had surpassed everyone else. I realised that I was competing with myself and not the others. At that moment, I concluded that competition is more about our perception and imagination of others. So, it is better to focus on ourselves and our goals.

How did you deal with the prevalent competitiveness?

In my final year of MBBS, thanks to the lockdown, I realised that constantly thinking about what others are doing did me no favours in terms of improving my performance. I decided to give my 100% to the task at hand. Once I did that, the competition ceased to exist. It not only comforted and liberated me but also made me more successful.

Does that mean one should not be competitive at all?

No, you still have to be aware of the advancements in your field and the work done by your colleagues. These are a part of your progress too. Your goal should be to learn from others rather than wanting to be better than them. In practice, it becomes crucial because every day is a challenge, and every patient is an exam. The number of patients you have treated or the number of good patient reviews you get does not matter. The biggest priority is treating and caring for the patient in front of you. Your goal should be to be better with every passing patient, every passing day.

What is your opinion on competitiveness in the medical field?

I feel healthy and positive competition has been the driver of scientific and technological advancements. Even if overt competitiveness is not involved, still it is always a quest against something. Many developments have happened due to the fear of the unknown and our lack of understanding of the universe. Hence, making those advancements and gaining knowledge gave us control over the situation and led to our development as a species.

What if there was no competition in the medical field?

In the modern world, every scientific progress has had an element of competition positive, or negative – spurred by jealousy, admiration or a truly scientific inquisitiveness. If there was no competition and everyone was complacent, we would not have achieved these many developments. Healthy competition leads you to study and learn more about the body which would ultimately help improve lives and save lives.

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