I am writing this article as a celebration of achieving 1 Million views, today! I started this blog in January 2010 but the article that really caught everyone’s eye was the title above. I wrote the 1st Part on 07/09/2010 and it achieved almost 2000 views in a single day. At that time, my blog views were just less than 2500/month! My 2nd part published on 08/09/2010 shot the number of viewers to about 2800 in a single day. These 2 articles were followed by various other articles, which contained a lot of information regarding our healthcare system in this country (see For Future Doctors page). Till today, these articles are still viewed and commented on a daily basis. Since the publication of these articles, the number of views to my blog increased tremendously reaching almost 40-50 000 views per-month currently, the highest being 62 351 views in March 2012.
My latest article published 3 days ago on 7/03/2013 seems to have attracted a lot of attention. It achieved the highest single day view in the history of my blog. On 8/03/2013, it achieved 7 222 views in a single day!! Incidentally, it is also the 5th anniversary of the 2008 General Election (the political tsunami)!
Thus, as a celebration of achieving a million views as well as the highest single day view on 8/03/2013, I am writing the third part of this infamous topic. I based this 3rd part on what people think about a doctor that is NOT the truth. Somewhere in this blog, a commentator by the name of cardiprin (an MBBS graduate who quit housemanship and doing something else) wrote some interesting quotes from non-medical people. I will elaborate on these quotes.
1. Have a very secured future
This has been proven wrong many times in this blog; the latest was the last article, which I wrote on 7/03/2013. Many countries are now struggling to create jobs to all their medical graduates including Australia, UK and some European countries. Jobless doctors are a norm in Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and even India. With 36 medical schools conducting close to 46 medical programs plus thousands more from overseas, surplus of doctors is inevitable in Malaysia by 2016/17.
As I had mentioned recently, MO post in Selangor, N.Sembilan and Malacca is full. Johor Bahru district, which has only 90 posts are being filled up to 110 posts, utilizing posts that are for upcoming Klinik Kesihatans. This means that the post for the upcoming Klinik Kesihatan has already been filled!
As I have written over here, based on the government’s own statistics, it is obvious that we will have surplus of doctors within the next 3-4 years. The new housemen are being warned that they may not be able to secure an automatic MO post in the future. How they will select is yet to be determined. When this time comes, you have to go where the post is available and the maldistribution of doctors will eventually be solved.
2. Nature of Job – sitting in a cozy consultation rooms, joking along with their patients, and ends up with big bucks every month.
This is the most ridiculous statement that I hear from non-medical people. Do they really know what doctors do behind the scene? Many has this impression that a doctor’s job is just sitting in a clinic and prescribing drugs after hearing your complains. It is NOT as easy as that. It may be true for many General Practitioners (GPs) out there who do not do any ward work but as I have mentioned many times before, post-MBBS GPs are a dying field. In the future, even to become a GP, you will need postgraduate degree.
As for specialist, sitting in a clinic is only part of their job. They have emergencies to handle, patients in the ward to manage, surgeries to do and complains to answer. You are “on-call” 24hrs a day and 7 days a week as your patients are your responsibility. There are NO housemen or medical officers in private hospitals to do your job. It is just you and your patients! A small mistake will invite a lawyer’s letter at your doorstep. AND don’t forget that to reach the status of a consultant in private hospital, you would have undergone at least 10-15 years of training post MBBS!
3. Are rich
Another big misconception. The era of rich doctors are gone. Many of the current doctors are struggling to survive. Many clinics had closed down and the incomes of specialist in private hospitals are slowly declining day by day. Many private hospitals have started to “employ” specialist with a fixed income unlike before where every consultant is self-employed. BTW, don’t think the hospital is going to pay you huge amount of salary! I know one private hospital chain, which is offering only RM 20K monthly salary, which after PCB and EPF deduction will come to about RM 16K net salary per-month!
As you will be aware by now, the only way you’re going to make huge amount of money in medicine (return of investment), if ever, is by going to private sector. To do this, you need to complete at least 10-15 years of training after graduating. Being in private means, you are working almost 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and can be called at anytime of the day. The stress level is high and it is not an easy life as many would like to think.
In private, it is a business, with one big difference: you are the ONLY asset to your business. Your business runs only if you are physically there! Patients come to see you and not your clinic! If you take leave or go for a holiday, your income will be zero. If you meet with an accident and unable to work, your income is zero. If you become handicapped, your income is zero forever after that. This is the huge difference between a business in any other sector and medicine, which many do not realize.
4. One can become a specialist merely by attending lecturer classes and passing up assignments/coursework, like MBA
Oh Gosh, what kind of society are we living in? To be frank, I have had medical students (3rd and 4th years) who think that Master’s program is a fulltime program like undergraduate. They think that they just need to attend lectures, tutorials and will be thought like an undergraduate!! What they don’t understand is that it is a FULL TIME working with part-time learning! You are practically doing your full-time clinical work and part-time studying. It is learning while working! NO formal teaching is involved.
Worst still, we have parents and students who think they can become instant specialist after graduating!
5. Highly respected
This era is GONE. Most of the younger generations do not give a damn who you are! I had been scolded and given sarcastic remarks by some young fellows who have not even entered university!
6. Are angels and are very passionate about their profession
Angels? Yes, doctors are still the most trusted profession by the public but sorry to say, the number of doctors with unethical practices and profit driven are increasing day by day due to stiff competition. They are not passionate about their profession but more passionate on how they can fill their pockets! It is about survival nowadays! Just look at this news that just appeared today
As what my friend once said: doctors are the best businessmen as the public fully trust them and get cheated in broad daylight! Looking at the trend of students doing medicine for money and good future, it is not surprising at all.
7. Can issue MCs and prescribe drugs (including graduates)
So what? Even pharmacists are selling drugs without prescription. Traditional medicine practitioners are dispensing drugs, which, most of the time contains modern medicine and steroids. According to our great Health Minister, even Sinsehs/TCM practitioners can give MCs ….………. It is up to the employer to accept or not. BTW, housemen are not allowed to give MCs as you are not a fully registered doctor.
8. Can easily retire at a young age
Has anyone seen any doctors retiring young? Please enlighten me! The only doctors who I have seen retiring young are those who quit medicine and go into some other business or profession. Most doctors will die working, as the day they stop working the income is zero! That’s the reason why many doctors are venturing into other business nowadays. I know many who had started food business so that they can leave their job as a doctor one day and relax at home.
Looking back, many regretted not investing the money they spend to become a doctor in some other business! I use to tell the same to many budding doctors whose sole intention in doing medicine is for money! Why waste spending RM500K and endless years of studying when you could have done something else at less than RM100K and use the rest to start-up a business?
9. Had gone through tremendously difficult exams – failure rates are high
Another joke of the year! Do you know that almost all medical schools in Malaysia have almost 100% passing rate? Those who fail just have to repeat the exam in few weeks and eventually will pass the exams. That’s the reality. That’s the reason why you see the deteriorating quality of graduates in Malaysia, not only for medicine but for everything else as well. We also know how many “so-called” graduates from overseas who buy their “certificate”.
10. Can solve all their health problems
“To Cure Sometimes, To Relieve often and to comfort always” has always been the motto for medical profession. To survive you need a lot of luck and fate. Many budding doctors or students feel that doctors can cure and save lives all the time. Yes, we can treat many people with drugs! Without drugs, what can we do? Did doctors create these drugs? Surgeons can operate and correct many disorders but can they do it without anesthetic drugs, antibiotics, equipments etc?
I use to tell medical students that doctors don’t save life. They prolong life! If doctor’s can save life, no one should die. That’s the reason you see many VVIPs dying despite the best medical care and with all the money they have. I have had medical students who went into depression when they entered clinical years. This is because they create a bond with a patient who eventually dies in the ward. Frankly, to be a doctor, you need to be emotionless! Any emotional attachment will lead to depression and resignation from clinical duties.
Medical profession is probably the least exposed profession in this country. Many non-medical people do not understand the real life of a doctor. They also refuse to accept the fact when it is revealed to them. They always accuse us of trying to protect our “rice bowl”. I use to tell them that by the time the person who enters medical school becomes a specialist like me (15-20 years), I would have retired or gone 6 feet underground. So, why do I give a damn about my rice bowl?
Students on the other hand are either totally ignorant or refuse to believe what people say. Furthermore, current generation do not read much and wants everything to be spoon-fed. I would blame it on our education system for creating parrots! That’s the reason the number of medical graduates being referred to Psychiatrists is increasing day by day. Soon, probably the psychiatry department should start a separate clinic days for “depressed” housemen! One of the main reasons for this problem is due to the fact that they had the same perception as written above coupled by pressure from parents in forcing them to become a doctor.
Well, the SPM results will be announced soon. I am sure many will still do medicine. My advice is always the same: NEVER DO MEDICINE FOR THE WRONG REASONS………………….. you will regret it later……………
Next: how medical schools changing their marketing strategy, knowing very well, surplus of doctors is inevitable in the next few years…………