Ranjana Srivastava: An insider’s guide on what it takes to be a doctor

If you’ve ever come across one of Ranjana’s books, her regular columns in The Guardian or heard her talk on the TEDx stage, you’ll know she has been an active voice in the medical community sharing her insights and personal experiences on what she refers to as the ‘art of medicine’.

As an oncologist, Fulbright scholar, award-winning writer and a recipient of the Monash University Distinguished Alumni Awards, Ranjana has always believed that being a doctor is about more than just delivering bedside medicine.

A recipient of the 2017 Medal of the Order of Australia for service to medicine, Ranjana is widely known for writing about subjects relating to medicine, humanity and ethics. Not shying away from her own personal experience as both a doctor and patient, she has been open about the improvements needed to positively impact the doctor-patients relationship.

Aside from her everyday job, Ranjana has always believed it is important to give back to society. Having successfully published multiple books, she has recently ticked off another major achievement by announcing the release of her fifth book titled, ‘What It Takes to Be a Doctor: An Insider’s Guide.’ The book has been nominated as a finalist for the Australian Career Book Awards, organised by the Royal Society of Arts Australia and New Zealand.

As an insider’s guide for future doctors and their parents exploring the realities of becoming a doctor in the modern era of medicine, tackling the difficult questions such as ‘What is a doctor’s life really like?’ or ‘Is there an end to all the studying?’ the book provides an honest depiction from current physicians, who want future medical students to learn from their experiences and commit to not just a job but a vocation.

Speaking about why she chose to write this book, Ranjana says “Throughout my career, I’ve been involved in medical student interviews, mentoring young doctors and speaking to countless students and their parents about what it’s like to be a doctor. This book is my way of making that knowledge and advice available to anyone contemplating a career in medicine. I would like every student to derive the same joy and satisfaction that I get from being a doctor, but this means being prepared for all its highs and lows.”

Ranjana knows firsthand that medicine can be an all-consuming career path and says “it is vital for aspiring students to know as much as possible about what they are signing up for. The media portrayal of doctors as heroic lifesavers is true in some instances but far more often the work of medicine lies in everyday gestures of compassion, empathy and respect and in fact, these are the things that keep us going.”

Acknowledging the support of a wide medical community in writing this book, Ranjana says “I am particularly grateful for Dr. Michelle Leech, the Deputy Dean of Monash Health, who has spurred me on to write this book and contributed an eloquent foreword.”

What It Takes to Be a Doctor: An Insider’s Guide is now available in print and eBook through a range of retailers.