A Day In The Life Of A Woman Medical PG Student… And How We Survived

Finishing your MBBS is not the end of a hard life, it is the beginning if you decide to do a post graduation, and more so if you are a woman...

Doctors, during their post-graduation days, have a tough schedule (henceforth called just PG). They are the backbones of the hospital, while at the same time have to study and appear for an examination to get their postgraduate degree.

So they are qualified doctors doing all the hard work, while also being students putting in many hours of study, and in the absence of their seniors (who come for just a little time) they are responsible for the lives under their care.

It can be harrowing, to say the least. And more so when they have other responsibilities, like family, especially for married women PGs.

Their day starts early, and is more than 24 hrs

A day in the life of a PG starts very early in the morning. The wards are thronged with patients. You have to take the rounds yourself, know each patient’s history by heart, know her symptoms and the diagnosis of the disease, and also know the treatment she has been receiving. Morning blood samples are to be sent, investigation reports collected and attached with respective files. And if the consultant (the boss in the ward) has ordered any new investigation, it is the responsibility of the PG to get it done, by sometimes even escorting the patient to the lab or ultrasound room.

A roster is put up in the notice board which shows who is on night duty that day. The PG doing a night after attending the morning OPD (out patient department, where you go if you just need “to see your doctor”) and the rounds comes directly to do the “night duty” which is a misnomer as it includes the day as well.

When PGs are women

Rita, a PG is having her periods. She is managing to run around after gobbling pain killers. Sunita who is her duty partner consoles her, makes her sit and asks her what work is pending. Rita hands over a piece of paper in which she has written about every patient bed-wise and in the labor room and about what needs to be done.

Sunita takes over and is seen running, donning white apron, her pockets full of small vials to collect blood samples, pens to write, extra scalp vein sets and small swabs of cotton. Her stethoscope hangs around her neck making a clatter as she walks to each patient listening to their fetal heart sounds.

Kamna is married recently unlike her other colleagues who dread to get married at this stage of their career when the days and nights meet evasively like the horizon and there is no time to think of anything other than text books, case histories and patients.

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Suddenly Preeti calls up on the landline of the labor room. “Hey I forgot to drop the O-T( operation theatre) lists for tomorrow. If Toofan knows about it, she will finish me” and we both have a hearty laugh. Toofan is our HOD (head of Department) who can sniff any irregularity anywhere and give us the most rigorous punishment.

I sit down to make Preeti’s OT list for tomorrow. There have to be four copies made, one for the department, one for the OT, one for the Anesthesia department and one to be put on the notice board.
Done! I say to myself as I quickly call back Preeti and give her the update. She is relieved.

Kamna is making frantic phone calls to many. She has her night duty tomorrow as per the roster, but if only she could exchange it for the next week. “My husband is here for just a couple of days.” The vulnerability is so evident on her face. Rashmi is the saviour amongst us. She does extra duties and helps so many girls willingly.

That is sorted smiles Kamna with gratitude. She is the eldest of 4 daughters in her family. She tried to postpone wedding plans till after PG but she was forced by her family… “You won’t get such a good alliance. And think about your sisters! If you stay single for two years, we won’t be able to get good matches for them too.”

Dr. Baveja is the senior on duty tonight. That lazy bones of a senior….He wouldn’t move an inch from the chair he sits from the afternoon till he takes a little nap in the duty room.

Bring file number 1
See Her BP
Check whether her scanning is done

Ask whether Bed number 2 has got her PP sugar taken. If not go and take it.

Ooooh! His list of orders is endless. A sadist, he loves to see girls getting drained.

Priya runs here and there to follow instructions. Suddenly she is joined by Ruhi and Sapna. They say You do half of what he told you… we will do the other half.

Priya was just about to break down but contained herself. We are in muffled whispers….. He will have no grudges bitching about us, his juniors, to the consultants. And these lady consultants? why are they giving him so much of liberty?

We all giggle softly and feel better.

Bharti ma’am, our senior

Wish Bharti ma’am was on duty today. She is THE senior who makes things lighter and easier.

Mostly our duties coincide with hers. She would listen patiently to our woes and help us in all the chores which is supposedly not done by a senior.

All the files are now completed, collected and piled to be screened by the consultants tomorrow. The last ritual for the day is now making phone calls to the consultant about every patient.

The next day, after doing the hectic night duty, we are managing an overcrowded OPD. Suddenly a patient goes into labor and needs emergency surgery. The consultant is heard calling Dr. Sandeep, our male colleague, for assisting the surgery, even though he is not in our unit.

“Ma’am please let me assist you, I have been following her up for the past so many months,” I was almost begging her.

“No no! you see the OPD. Sandeep and I would finish it in a jiffy. He is a very brave surgeon.”

Bharti ma’am looks at us and beckons us to keep calm. “Ma’am if you don’t mind, may I?

Bharti ma’am is a senior resident, known for her dedication. “O.K go ahead…” Bharti ma’am says in the same breath, “I’m taking her with me for assistance” pointing towards me and quickly adds, “Come dear…”


The surgery is done by me, assisted by Bharti ma’am. The new born gives a shrill cry! It’s a daughter!

We all smile heartily from under our masks.

Editor’s Note: For IWD 2023, we’re publishing #MentoringStories in both fiction and non-fiction, for the IWD2023 theme #EmbraceEquitySee all mentoring stories here.

Image source: shutterstock

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About the Author

Lalita Vaitheeswaran

Lalita Vaitheeswaran is a gynecologist having a passion for writing in both Hindi and English. She has authored 6 books of poetry, both in Hindi and English, and a book of short stories in English, read more...

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