Women in the medical profession have redefined the healthcare sector with their dedicated approach towards work. In their everyday lives, women have to carry multiple responsibilities. Managing professional and personal duties at the same time is a challenging task. The medical profession requires the utmost dedication. A little lapse here and there in duty could affect the health of patients. One truly needs to be passionate and hardworking enough to enter this profession.
During COVID-19, thousands of doctors fought against the coronavirus in India to save countless lives. One such doctor is Dr. Srabani Sarker. When COVID hit, she was practising at the time in Mumbai, India’s worst-affected city. She worked 12 to 16 hours a day at a time to help COVID patients recover and go home safely.
Dr Srabani works as a consultant anesthesiologist at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH). She intends to bring awareness to people about maintaining their health and make them realize that life is beautiful.
In the following interview, she provides details about her profession, her inspiring career journey, and her plans for the coming years.
Kindly tell our readers about yourself and your professional journey so far. What was your inspiration to step into the healthcare sector?
I, Dr Srabani Sarker, am a consultant anesthesiologist currently working at a government medical college and hospital. I have done my MBBS from NRS Medical College, Kolkata, and my MD, DNB from Lokmanya Tilak Medical College, Mumbai. I have worked at Grant Medical College and Hospital as a consultant anesthesiologist.
I have grown up watching my father, who is also in the healthcare sector. We live in a society where people are really not aware of their health, though the scenario is changing over time. People do forget that health is wealth. I have always had a passion for helping people and making them realize that life is beautiful indeed.
Tell us about North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, its mission, and its vision. What role did you play in furthering the development and outreach of the hospital and the educational institution?
NBMCH was established in the year 1968 in West Bengal. It is a tertiary centre and a reputed medical college of West Bengal. It caters to a huge population of northeastern India and a part of the population from Nepal and Bhutan. Its super-specialist branches are well established, and emergency services are always available with the excellent nursing staff.
Recent ventures of NBMCH include the development of a ‘Cancer and Palliation Centre’. The anaesthesia department plays an integral role in providing a better quality of life to cancer patients. Being a consultant in this medical college, I have had the gracious opportunity to be a part of this venture and as well being responsible for training post-graduate residents.
As a doctor, what challenges did you face during the COVID-19 pandemic? What is your opinion on managing the COVID-19-like pandemics in better ways in the future?
During the pandemic, I had been working in the worst-hit part of India, Mumbai. As a frontline worker with minimum resources, it was too difficult to manage all patients, but we tried our best by doing a rigorous duty of 12 to 16 hours in a PPE kit without food and water for straight ten hours, and it was too difficult as a female during menstruation as well. But duty and patients came first, as always.
The pandemic has changed our perspective altogether. It made us more tolerant and more grateful for what we have. We have grown as a society and have learned to help and support each other.
People have also shown support to us COVID warriors as well. They have abided by the laws by following the use of masks, getting vaccinated, and following doctors’ advice. The main way of managing things is to get properly educated about the scenario and disease and follow up with your doctors.
What is your opinion on the necessity for hospitals and healthcare providers to align their offerings with newer technological developments, especially when catering to the ever-evolving healthcare needs?
The medical field is an ever-evolving field. So, I am also in my learning phase to keep up with the change. Speaking as a healthcare professional, it is required of us to keep learning and move forward. Many workshops are being conducted to give an overview of new advancements.
I am fortunate enough to be a part of the training schedule conducted by the West Bengal government, where I had to train medical officers and nurses regarding this pandemic situation and patient handling in ICU as well.
In your opinion, what could be the future of healthcare and medical education post-pandemic? And how are you strategizing North Bengal Medical College and Hospital operations for that future?
In my opinion, more stress needs to be given to the mental health of students.
Apart from that, many practical approaches should be implemented from the early years of MBBS. Communication skills among the students should be improved such that future responsibilities of counselling patients will follow smoothly.
Multiple HDU/ICU/HYBRID CCU, all under the Anesthesia department, are operational and provide the best treatment. The entire critical care sector is being catered by our Anesthesia department. The anaesthesia department is also playing an integral part in the newly developed cancer centre as well.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring doctors?
Follow your dreams. If you are sure enough to love and dedicate your life to medicine, you should take up this field. Consistency and perseverance are the keys to success. Follow your heart, and do not ever give up.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Also, how do you envision scaling North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in the coming years?
I am a student, and I will keep learning. I plan to explore the new and upcoming branches of pain treatment, alleviating chronic and acute pain, giving patients a better quality of life, and bringing smiles to their faces.