MBBS at AFMC - In an interview with Careers360, Air Marshal CK Ranjan, AVSM, VSM, Director and Commandant, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, elaborates on what it means to study at the premier institution. Read the full interview below to find out more about MBBS at AFMC.
Careers360: How would you describe the learning environment at AFMC Pune?
CK Ranjan: Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, is a premier medical institution of India. The College, which was established on May 1st, 1948, is universally regarded as a centre of excellence in medical education and research. The Graduate Wing was added to the college on August 4th, 1962 and the College of Nursing was established on November 10th, 1964. The college is located in an environmentally-friendly campus stretching over 343 acres. It is home to a mixture of heritage buildings and ultra-modern facilities. The unique ambience provides a tranquil atmosphere that is conducive to medical education and research. There are a total of thirty academic departments, with over 320 highly qualified and experienced teachers. AFMC, Pune has been consistently ranked among the top three medical colleges of the country. In 2017, it received the award for the best medical college in Maharashtra.
Armed Forces Medical College is a fully residential college for male and female cadets and provides world class facilities for their stay and all round development.
The teaching is conducted in a scientific and methodical manner with small group tutorials on every topic, training in the simulation lab etc. Students in the clinical terms receive training at the affiliated teaching hospitals. These include Command Hospital (Southern Command), Military Hospital (Cardiothoracic Centre), Military Hospital Kirkee, Artificial Limb Centre and Cantonment General Hospital, Pune. Learning is feedback based with healthy student-teacher participation. Students have access to e-learning portal through campus wide network on Wi-Fi. We have introduced institutional vertical mentorship programme for monitoring the progress of individual medical cadet. Outstanding co-curricular and sports facilities like synthetic track, basketball court, swimming pool, gymnasium etc. are available at the campus. Students are encouraged to take part in various group adventure activities sponsored by the college during vacations. They are also encouraged to take part in organised games and physical fitness activities.
Careers360: There is a general feeling that education in AFMC is quite regimented. Is it a mistaken notion?
CK Ranjan: Medical education at AFMC is conducted as per standards and syllabus laid down by MCI and MUHS, Nashik (Affiliated University). Theory, practical classes and clinics are held regularly and are conducted by dedicated faculty from Armed Forces Medical Services posted at AFMC and affiliated hospitals. They are given familiarization to Armed Forces by visits to Army, Navy & Air Force units and NCC training while at the college. Undergraduate medical students have the status of Medical Cadets. Military training is imparted for eight weeks at Officer Training School Lucknow, after completion of internship.
We strive for holistic development of the students, physically, mentally and academically. The cadets are groomed to become excellent professional doctors and also as officers to serve the armed forces and the nation. Core values of good turnout, punctuality, integrity is given importance, as also the development of good communication and soft skills, so important to the practice of medicine. Graduates of this college have a very proud record of dedicated service to the nation, in support of the three services. Keeping in mind the challenges of equipping them with medical knowledge, skills and an attitude that enables them to function optimally in the harshest of terrains and difficult circumstances, there is a need to focus attention on their all-round development. This is achieved through emphasis on developing physical fitness and mental robustness in addition to a caring and empathetic attitude to their patients. There are however no curbs on their personal freedom.
Careers360: MBBS Students have to sign a bond before enrolling at Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. Can you give details about the same for future aspirants?
CK Ranjan: The undergraduate students (MBBS) of AFMC are medical cadets in receipt of free medical education and several allowances/grants, free lodging, messing, travel facilities, free medical care and extensive sports and recreational facilities from the Government of India.
They are expected to join Armed Forces Medical Services after completion of the MBBS course. They have to execute a bond at the time of admission for MBBS course and in case they do not wish to join the Armed Forces Medical Services, after completion of MBBS they have to pay Rs. 29 lakhs to the central government, which is a part of the amount expended on their education.
Careers360: What kind of job opportunities an AFMC MBBS graduate can eye for in Armed Forces?
CK Ranjan: MBBS graduates of AFMC are offered commission in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) in the rank of Lieutenant (or equivalent) in the Army/Navy/Air Force. They can opt for permanent commission which is for a minimum period of twenty years and short service commission for a period of seven years. After one year of internship they are promoted to the rank of Captain. Promotions to higher ranks are granted based on seniority in the lower and middle ranks and seniority cum merit in the higher ranks through an elaborate system of performance appraisal based selection system. They can rise up to the rank of Lieutenant General or Equivalent as one continues his/her service in the AFMS. The pay and perks are comparable to the other Central Govt Medical Services. They have ample opportunities for professional growth while in service with opportunities for postgraduation as well as super specialisation.
Careers360: What are the possibilities of pursuing post-graduation from AFMC? Which is the most popular PG branch at AFMC?
CK Ranjan: The MBBS graduates of AFMC who join the AFMS are permitted to appear for NEET (PG) after three years of service. Once they get selected they are offered PG seats in AFMS institutions which include AFMC at Pune, Army Hospital (R & R) at New Delhi, Command Hospital (Central Command) at Lucknow, Command Hospital (Eastern Command) at Kolkata, Command Hospital (Western Command) at Chandimandir, Command Hospital (Air Force) at Bengaluru and INHS Asvini at Mumbai. There are 327 MD/MS/DNB seats for PG aspirants in Armed Forces Medical Services.
Armed Forces Medical College, Pune conducts training for award of MD degree in 17 disciplines and MS degree in six disciplines of medical science at present. The popularity of a branch is almost similar to that of the central counselling conducted by the DGHS, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Radiology, Dermatology, Medicine, Orthopaedics and Paediatrics are among the sought-after specialities. The most popular postgraduate branch at AFMC is Dermatology/ Radiology.
Careers360: Given the high demand for MBBS seats in the country and AFMC being one of the most sought after colleges, do you have any plans for expansion?
CK Ranjan: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has approved the increase in intake of MBBS students to 150 from the academic year 2018-19.
Careers360: What are some of the challenges facing medical education in India?
CK Ranjan: At the National level, there is a need to produce a very large number of healthcare professionals to meet the requirements of an expanding population. The challenge before medical colleges is to uphold the standard of medical education through application of modern tools of the teaching learning process, inculcate values of selfless service into students and create an evidence based system of ethical practice of medical science. At the same time there is a need to adopt newer practices and techniques to keep medical education up to contemporary world standards.
The most important element in the process is the quality of interaction between a teacher and his/her students, through which the knowledge, skill and attitude that goes into the making of a practitioner of the art of medicine is passed on.
The duty of any medical institution is to provide infrastructure, equipment, clinical material and opportunity to facilitate this process. At Armed Forces Medical College, we have refined our internal processes over the last 70 years. That is perhaps the reason why we remain at the forefront of medical education in India.
The challenges in medical education that exist today and measures to address them are as follows:
There is a need to shift from didactic teaching to a skill based training, to ensure that fresh medical graduates go out in the environment as empowered medical practitioners.
There is also a need to integrate the theoretical knowledge with the technology available so that it can benefit a large number of patients.
In view of the rising population of India and the availability of limited medical resources, there is a requirement for paradigm shift from curative medicine to preventive aspects of medicine.
The undergraduate curriculum needs to be rehashed to make it relevant to the Indian Medical Graduate (IMG) and the country’s needs.
There is a shortage of dedicated full time faculty in a number of colleges. At AFMC we are fortunate to have highly qualified and dedicated faculty as per MCI norms.
Medical education needs to be aligned to the health status of society. There is a gap in supply and demand. The need is for primary care in the periphery, but we see tertiary care mushrooming in metros.
The challenge before medical colleges is to uphold the standard of medical education through application of modern tools of the teaching learning process, inculcate values of selfless service into students and create an evidence based system of ethical practice of medical science
The duty of any medical institution is to provide infrastructure, equipment, clinical material and opportunity to facilitate this process. At AFMC, Pune, we have refined our internal processes over the last seventy years. That is perhaps the reason why we remain at the forefront of medical education in India.