When I finished my mbbs and was about to start internship, i had three pathways from which to choose. One was go for a higher degree in one of the basic subjects(had genetics in mind), the other was to go for public health and the third was pursuing a career in clinical medicine. Thanks to all the seniors around me, I actually had the privilege Alhamdulillah to be very well informed about all these opportunities so I could take a very well informed decision, whatever pathway I chose. For this, I will always remain grateful to my seniors.
I chose clinical medicine and one of the biggest reason for this was the enticement of the degree of MRCP. With MRCP, i sensed that there was opportunity to proceed very fast to a respectable position if I worked hard enough. So from the very first day of my internship, I started studying for MRCP. Did not focus on any other degree which was a risk but it did help to keep me focussed. Sat for my part one within 3 months of finishing my internship, sat for my part 2 written within 7 months of finishing part one and sat for paces within 1 year of finishing part 2 written. By the grace of Allah, the MRCP pathway gave me what I hoped for – getting a respectable degree in the quickest possible time compared to the other pathways. So, from my own experience I will like to encourage my juniors that if u want to target MRCP, then if Allah wills, it can be achieved quite quickly if there is adequate effort and focus.
The next question is, what then after MRCP? This has been a problem, especially off late given the fact that BMDC is so negative towards it. But in spite of the fact they have stopped giving recognition to MRCP, both the private and public institutions are still offering jobs as specialists/junior consultants to mrcp holders. Even in Dhaka medical college hospital, recently a junior consultant post was given to someone who held only MRCP degree.
But there is also the risk that we might enter a place in BD as a specialist/junior consultant but then see ourselves stagnate out in that position for years to come. So we need to find out what to do next after MRCP.
Thankfully, there are different ways-
1. Continuing unpaid training and pursue one of the national degrees like FCPS. That is what a lot of MRCP holders do but then again, some people do not want to continue unpaid training because of financial reasons.
2. Get a job somewhere in a private institution(if we are not a govt. doctor) as a specialist, keep on working there and try to get some higher foreign degrees. The Royal College now runs specialty certificate examination(SCE) in various sub specialties and we can always give one of those exams in the sub specialty we are working. If we are working in internal medicine, we can give the SCE exam in acute medicine which has great demand now. SCEs are not recognized by BMDC but like i sed, so is not MRCP but in Bangladesh, any foreign degree that you have tends to count. SCE exam is a written exam held in Bangladesh too.
3. Apply for the Membership of American College of Physicians. Once we become a member of the ACP, the earliest it takes us to become a fellow of the ACP(earning the post nominal FACP) is two years. Go to the ACP website and you can find it clearly explained about what you need to do after becoming a member to obtain the fellowship. The FACP fellowship is a very prestigious fellowship held with great esteem all round the world and it can help you get good jobs and proceed in your career.
4. Like a lot of my senior bhaiyas and apus, we can go to UK and start working there with a view to landing a training post there. Once we land a training post, we get out after around 4-5 years with a CCT degree and then that should mean great opportunities as a consultant ahead.
5. Look for the FRCP fellowship. Again that is a very prestigious fellowship held with great esteem all round the world. The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh gives the FRCP Edin Fellowship to members of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh(any one with the MRCP degree can become a member) to people who have been consultants for 11 months or more. The Royal College of Physicians of London is more flexible with the awarding of the fellowship. If we hold an MRCP degree for more than 10 years, we can directly apply for the fellowship but we need to get yourself ready for that in the next 10 years. We can also apply for the fellowship once we have worked as a consultant for at least around 3 years and some fellow of the Royal College nominates us for that. We can get more information if we go to the websites of the royal college of physicians of london and the royal college of physicians of edinburgh or the royal colllege of physicians of glasgow.
But whatever the pathway we choose, I think it is prudent that we don’t stop after MRCP. The fellowships by the various american and royal colleges of england look at our activities post mrcp.They want us to do community services so we have to ensure that. Let’s work for the betterment of our community. They want us to do research, publish, and engage in teaching activities. They want us to get involved with the various associations of doctors and play a role in those organizations as well.
Sorry for the hugely long post. Hope it helps people out.
Dr. Raiyan Rahman
MBBS(DMC), MRCP (UK)