Jul 29, 2010

So you wanna be a doctor? Part II

Ever wonder why we say “doctors practising medicine”? Because being a doctor is a LIFE-LONG learning process.. You can NEVER be an expert, maybe just specialist.. Being a doctor requires dedication, commitment and EQ, not to mention the readiness to sacrifice self for the greater good..

Thus I really want to question the eagerness and obsession of those “supposedly” top (SPM and STPM ) students every year who wanna do medicine.. Maybe I am being skeptical, but I just don't think that all of them choose to be in this noble profession because they possess a heart of gold and are willing to sacrifice themselves to help others.. And not that I am being elitist, but I seriously believe that not every Tom, Dick or Harry can be a doctor, just because they are smart (or just book smart)..

It takes both nature and nurture to produce a good doctor.. Yes, GOOD doctors. Not those “panadol-dispensing” doctors (panadol is a common brand of aspirin in Malaysia and Singapore) who give MC upon request or those doctors who seemed to worship Dr House at being obnoxious without his brilliant brains to match. Doctors need good EQ. Period. They need good bedside manners, must work well with the nurses, other doctors and all other medical personnel. Before you can be obnoxious, you need to be good in what you are doing first. Before you can be good at what you are doing, you need to learn and familiarize yourself with the REAL medical world, not from the books but from your peers, your seniors and your superiors.

Here are some cold facts:
  • To be a doctor, you need to sacrifice the best 10 to 12 years of your life for a dream that might not be what you want when your secondary schoolmates are earning big bucks (buying cars, houses and settling down)..
    Medical Student (5 to 7 years, depending on where you study) ->Health Officer (2 years if you pass each rotation) ->Medical Officer (3 years)
  • As a doctor, you are dealing with people’s lives. Anything and everything that you do or don’t do determine the life and death of your patients. You are responsible for them dying or living.
  • As a doctor, you could get sued for things that are not your fault. You became the obvious scapegoat when the family couldn’t accept the cruel fact that the patient’s time is up.
  • As a doctor, you are expected to perform miracles. People don’t take care of themselves but expect doctors to cure them of anything and everything. They smoke heavily, drink their livers to death, and eat uncontrollably. Then when they get sick, they expect you to cure them overnight!!
  • As a doctor, you need to be motivated from within. All you will ever have is just the knowledge that you have helped the patient. No one is going to pat you on the shoulder or give you high-fives when you did something good. If you are one who needs constant EXTERNAL reassurances and encouragement, being a doctor is not for you.
  • As a doctor, you don’t stop studying after you graduated with a medical degree.. You need to pass multiple exams before you can get your doctor’s license, and even more exams if you wanna be a specialist in a specific field.
  • As junior/trainee doctor, you have NO life. You can forget about hanging out with your friends at the mamak stalls, chilling at Starbucks/Old Town Cafes in weekends or even catching movies. Any free time that you might have will be spent either catching up on your sleep or catching up on your readings.
  • As a doctor, you won’t be appreciated, especially if you are working for the government.. you will get complained for the slightest things (“you made my child cried because you used a needle on my child to take blood” DUH!!) or worst, get sued by patients.. you are expected to provide excellent health care services even when you are treated like 4th class citizens in the hospitals, after your bosses, the patients and the nurses (yes, in that order)

Have you been to your local hospital or any government hospitals? Ever wonder why doctors there seemed to be in a perpetual bad mood? I will tell you why in my next entry..

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