Work-teaching Balance: A Young Rheumatologist`s Perspective

Sanket Shah MD, DM
Consultant Rheumatologist and Immunologist, RheumaCare, Ahmedabad
GCS Medical College, Ahmedabad

Balancing acts in life often feel as mythical as unicorns—except for the bank balance. My journey, one of a young rheumatologist, may not mirror everyone’s reality, yet it echoes the diverse tapestry we all navigate. This narrative, raw and honest, captures a snapshot of my evolving perspectives, recognizing that time and experiences mould and reshape our outlooks.

Stepping into the medical practice arena, the options seemed vast—academic institutes, private practices, corporate setups, or bustling multi-specialty hospitals. Amidst a blend of clarity in subject basics and confusion about adapting post-degree, I ventured into the academic world during the thick fog of the pandemic. Rheumatology practice often defies revenue generation, especially when clinical skills take precedence, making one a lesser attraction in this circus. However, amid this, I found my spotlight among the inquisitive minds of budding students, an audience thirsty for knowledge. While it fuelled my motivation, it didn’t resonate universally.

A shift to cabin practice in a metropolitan hub painted a vivid picture of the circus in full swing. Finding like-minded companions in Ahmedabad, akin to monkeys in sync, elevated the performance. Amidst this, the quest for work-teaching balance without compromising the bank balance (excuse my Gujju genes) became imperative.

Opportunities for teaching emerged, initially in medical colleges, where discussions with students became a regular affair. Collaborating with senior mentors, we delved into core rheumatology and bridged topics like journal clubs and conference poster presentations, despite the differing enthusiasm levels. Diving further, joining a science club became a bridge between PhD students, basic scientists, and clinicians seeking to reignite their passion for research and teaching. The impact might not have been manifested in ground-breaking research, but the social connections and the broadening of my intellectual horizons proved invaluable. Reflecting, it resonated with the experiences at places like JIPMER, where curiosity was endlessly fuelled.

My dedication to teaching within the medical field has led me to a professional association with MedCAS, an online platform tailored for discussions on medicine with postgraduates. This engagement not only aligns with my passion for teaching but also ensures that I remain updated in this ever-evolving field. Collaborating with mentors and colleagues from diverse medical backgrounds on this platform has been invaluable, providing me with a dynamic stage to share insights and knowledge. Within this virtual space, I find myself assuming the role of a teacher, constantly engaging and exchanging ideas with the same enthusiasm as a virtual monkey on stage.The circus of roles, from monkey to lion and, perhaps someday, to ringmaster, embodies the fluidity of our life as doctors. We will do our bit from the passion and of course the needs.