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The advantages and disadvantages of DNB residency program

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Diplomate in National Board (DNB) is a post graduate degree awarded by the National Board of Examinations under the Union Ministry of Health, India. DNB residency positions are available in 54 specialties. As per Central Government notifications DNB degree is equivalent to MD/MS. While MD/MS candidates are trained at Medical Colleges, DNB candidates are trained at large private hospitals. Choosing to enroll for the DNB degree program has its advantages and disadvantages as we will see below.

1) Easy of entry. This is the most common reason for someone to choose DNB degree program. To enroll in MD/MS you need to clear tough nationwide entrance exam for Govt. Medical Colleges or pay expensive capitation fee at Private Medical Colleges. Most of the DNB candidates are students who couldn't secure their preffered specialty in MD/MS. For enrolling in DNB program, you need to clear NBE common entrance test which is relatively easy compared to MD/MS exams followed by interview at the institution of your choice.
2) Inexpensive. All you need to pay is the yearly fee stipulated by the NBE. Compared to the fees charged by private medical colleges it is a very small amount.
3) Management as per guidelines. Except in large govt medical colleges, many medical colleges in India may not have sufficient resources and equipment to manage patients as per latest guidelines. Hence for residents in some medical colleges there is a disconnect between what they learn theoretically and what they do practically. But in many large private hospitals, the management of the case is on par with international standards. 
4) Some of the latest procedures, surgical techniques, medical advances, expensive investigations are more commonly done at private hospitals. You get trained in them. For example latest radiological methodologies like PET scanning are more likely to be available in private hospitals than in govt medical colleges.

1) Low pass rate. The final exam is considered tough and the pass rate is generally at 15 to 20%.
2) There might be less hands on training in specialities like surgery in some institutions
3) There is less recognition among the general public about DNB degree and this may affect your clinical practise
4) DNB graduates need to complete one year of senior residency in medical colleges prior to appointment as faculty in teaching institutions.
5) Less teaching. The teaching schedule in DNB program may not be as regular as in medical colleges. 

Certain large private institutions provide better training for DNB candidates than Govt Medical Colleges. It is important to choose the institution carefully prior to enrollement. It is generally advisable to join in a large hospitals that has DNB program in multiple specialities. Large hospitals with many DNB residents generally have an uniform approach, have person incharge of educational activities and regular teaching program. Do visit the institution prior to the interview and talk to the residents there. Enquire about  the previous pass rate, what the past residents are doing, regularity of classes and if residents are allowed to perform procedures.

Overall, DNB is an excellent option if you carefully select the institution/department and if you are willing to work extra hard.



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