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Dr. Rajiv Colaco speaks his heart out about DNB and Nanavati hospital


My experience, views on DNB and Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai

Firstly I would like to thank my friend Dr. Jateen Ukrani, the upcoming psychiatrist for giving me an opportunity to voice my views on DNB and my institute and I congratulate him for his selflessness (the selflessness I can personally vouch for since we've had a long association together) in setting up this one of a kind website to help DNB aspirants all over India to overcome the confusion in choosing their prospective DNB postgraduate seats. Hats off to you bro!

My experience

For me getting into a postgraduate seat,  like most of us, was a daily battle against time plus a struggle to keep myself as sane as possible. The fact that most of my batchmates were moving ahead in life with PG was not helping at all. On the contrary it was depressing to the point of no return. At this point I have no qualms in mentioning that I have spent exactly four (YES FOUR!) years in pursuit of a postgraduate course post MBBS - initially the stubbornness in me targeted only and only to get into MS and only MS - the very thought of getting into DNB was a scary proposition considering the low pass rates and the (then) stigma attached (In MBBS we were always fed on a diet of stereotyping DNB graduate doctors as third rate doctors but in retrospect it seems like just another attempt by some insecure morons to defame DNB and its alumni). All thanks to my stubbornness and one-track mind, I lost out on several opportunities to just leave the past behind and move on. But it was my DNB general surgeon brother who finally stepped in, counselled me and advised me to give DNB CET a shot. I did write plenty of DNB CET exams till the June session of 2013 when I managed to land myself a decent enough rank (843) to get my dream branch (orthopaedics) in my very own city of Mumbai.


Destination DNB

So now I got the rank and I knew what I wanted. So what did I do next (apart from celebrating)? I drew a list of institutes offering DNB orthopaedics for the June session in 2013 from the indicative seat matrix, contacted each one of them, spoke to their residents and asked them about the first hand experience - in terms of surgical hands on,  patient load, academics, stipend,  accommodation and made a list of them in order of preference starting with government institutes then moving onto private charitable/renowned institutes.

I did have a bit of a bias towards Mumbai for the following reasons:

1. First and foremost the most obvious reason being I wanted to be in my home city - just a short drive or train ride away.

2. Being a metro the case load and spectrum tends to be a lot more (not necessarily applicable to pure corporate setups)

3. Academics - even if not present in-house will be available in other hospitals - there are plenty of classes to attend at hospitals in and around Mumbai and so much to learn.

Had I got a better rank I would've probably chosen somewhere even out of Mumbai but deep down within I wanted to get here. So here was the order at that time .. Hinduja>Nanavati>Saifee>Fortis.
Hinduja went somewhere in the 600s so I was (luckily) left with Nanavati Hospital (which I had prior information about thanks to some sources) so I gladly took it up.

Now you may ask me why is it that I took up DNB in a seemingly corporate hospital like Nanavati instead of maybe trying for the next session for a government (and hence better hands on) hospital, especially considering the fact that your future surgical skills are dependent on the cutting that you get during your residency - in a way it's true that it's best to learn the maximum during your residency but it doesn't mean that we must totally debunk private/corporate hospitals. We do get cutting chances albeit not too often and maybe not too early in our residency - obviously no one is going to give you a scalpel on day one. And likewise there are so many private medical colleges where the amount of cutting one gets is next to nil. So these places fare better. One can definitely make up for the shortage of cutting even later on by taking up one or two posts in a municipal or government hospital - which is what I plan to do once I'm done with DNB.


To summarise, the general rules in choosing a DNB hospital (in the following order):

1. Choose your dream branch (and keep another branch as a backup just in case). List out the hospitals, gather phone numbers and addresses.

2. Personally talk to the residents for first hand experience as a resident (or better still if its nearby, VISIT the hospital). Make a list of hospitals and arrange them in terms of surgical hands on,  patient load, academics, stipend,  accommodation - with an order of preference starting with government institutes then moving onto private charitable/renowned institutes. Assess for yourself each institute, don't blindly believe any random Tom, Dick and Harry's opinion.

3. As the days in counselling go by, check the Natboard website for the daily "seats remaining after xxx rank" update and cross out the ones that are not available.

4. On the day of the counselling, be cool, go with confidence, hope and prayer and choose wisely - either a seat or an opt out (waitlist). Waitlist is another bone of contention - it can go in your favour or against your favour (the favour factor being determined by your rank and the number of seats of that particular session)

5. There are a lot of naysayers and negative influences in this world who will discourage you along your path - saying that DNB is not equivalent to MS/MD or not recognised or difficult to pass. DNB is equivalent to MD/MS and no doubt its difficult to pass the final exam but it is not impossible - just a little hard work is required. Don't listen to them. Your priority in life is to move on and thats about it. No one controls your own destiny - but YOU!

Now about Nanavati Hospital per se

Well it's a renowned nearly-400 bedded multispeciality hospital located in Vile Parle (W) Mumbai not too far from the tony, high-profile suburbs of Juhu and Bandra. Been around since 1950 - pretty much an iconic structure in itself (this fact is further supported by Munnabhai's "Nanavati Hospital aarelaooo" rant in the "M bole toh.." song of the movie :p). The profile of our clientele vary from the who's who to the who are yous - VIPs to general ward patients. Also it's one of the oldest dnb institutes around - many of the consultants who work here and have made a name for themselves have been working here for generations ever since the time they were housemen. Apart from the general public,  corporate referrals are plenty especially from the airline industry, Airports Authority of India and Mumbai airport considering its close proximity with the airports. For general wards, the facility to avail of the charity quota - weaker (50% paid) and indigent status (100%) attracts patients of lower socioeconomic status.

As of now it is a 400 bedded hospital but the new management (Radiant) promises to upgrade and increase bed strength and upgrade facilities which translates to more patient load.

Regarding DNB here - there are primary and secondary seats in Radiology, Orthopaedics,  Paediatrics, Anaesthesia,  ENT plus primary DNB seats in Medicine. There used to be seats in OBG and Dermatology but there hasn't been any renewal of accreditation since 2012 for these departments. Anyway here's my review of each DNB related department in Nanavati Hospital (as per my observation and knowledge - personal perceptions may vary. Again you SHOULD contact the residents in the respective departments for a clearer and more in-depth view into the department and its functioning! If you want to contact them I can always get you in touch with them)

1. Orthopaedics - Arguably one of the busiest (and ahem...the best) surgical department in Nanavati Hospital. We have about 15 consultants who operate a large spectrum of cases ranging from trauma to replacements to paediatric orthopaedic cases (soft tissue releases, tendon transfers, deformity corrections) to arthroscopies. Hands on is initially less but as the years go by, your chances of getting hands on increase - that again varies from consultant to consultant. The case spectrum is very good out here - fair mix of everything. Academics is good - We have a class and xray discussion once a week on Wednesdays organised by our HOD and other honorary consultants and are encouraged to present cases by our consultants as much as possible. Consultants who operate here have been/are presently honoraries at various renowned institutes like Cooper, KEM, Wadia, etc. Apart from DNB seats, there are D.Ortho (CPS) seats here. Basically its the best of all worlds in this department!

2. Radiology - A very busy and dynamic department all thanks to the latest addition - the 3-Tesla MRI apart from the old 1.5T MRI, Xray, CT, USG and Interventional Radiology facilities. Most of the faculty in this department are well renowned and are in the big league of radiologists in Mumbai and across India.

3. Paediatrics - Again another busy department - apart from the paediatric wards (general, second class and higher AC ward) we have a PICU and NICU well equipped for intensive care. Don't know much about the academics but the case spectrum is good.

4. ENT - Six consultants. Good amount of work including endoscopic surgeries. Initial few months you're put in surgical oncology - another added bonus as you get to see a lot of head and neck oncology cases which are much needed as a part of the ENT curriculum.

5. Medicine - Tremendous amount of ward work - 3 units with several physicians plus posts in Neurology, Gastroenterology and the final year in ICU. Academics is present in the form of weekly clinical seminars in the auditorium conducted by various physicians and intensivists. No case discussions but the case spectrum yet again is very very good.

6. Anaesthesia - Good department with lots of work - rotations between the main OT, neuro and cardiac OTs plus ICU postings. No academics to speak of but a lot of hands on - intubations, blocks, etc.

Stipends - 30k, 32k 34k for the first, second and third year respectively. Talks are on to increase stipend

Accomodation - Doctors' Quarters on the 3rd Floor - sharing accomodation + food (3700/month)

This in a nutshell sums up my experience and views on DNB and Nanavati Hospital. I hope this article has been of some help.

The final word of advice

If you have a good rank, then choose your institute wisely and carefully. If you don’t, still no problem - have patience, work hard and give it your best shot. It took me four years to get to a residency post but its better late than never! Patience and perseverence always yield fruitful results!

In case of any queries you can always hit me on facebook at


Thank you once again, all the very best and Godspeed.


Dr. Rajiv Colaco

DNB Resident - Orthopaedics

Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai

DISCLAIMER :  This information is for Guiding DNB /MD Aspirants only. This is not a review of Overall Patient care in These hospitals which may not be affected by what is being discussed here. The Information Provided here cannot be used for any other purpose or to asses the patient care in these hospitals. This is just a review of a postgraduate course running in the mentioned hospital and is meant for guiding medical aspirants only.     

Note : The information provided here may change over a period of time eg. the stipend may increase/decrease over a period of 1-2 years . Please confirm these details from a current resident if the date of publishing of the blog is more than one year old .


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