It looks like we are making headlines again. Few days ago, the Chief Secretary of the Government publicly announced that housemen are the highest number of civil servants being terminated. As for me, it did not come as a surprise. This is something that is well-known to the medical profession. Many housemen just go missing without any notice. I had said this before that it is better for them to give a resignation letter than just go missing in action. The government’s procedure is as such that it will take almost a year to terminate someone from civil service. During this time, no one else can occupy your post. This is one of the reason I support giving housemanship under contract. It will be much easier to terminate someone who goes missing. It will also keep everyone on their toes.
Today, NST published several reports on these issues as below. I had said it many times since I started this blog that you should know what you are getting yourself into when you decide to do medicine. That is the reason why I started this blog in 2010. Unfortunately, many still refuse to believe what is written and in denial. Parents on the other hand do not even bother to ask their child what they want to do in their life. They pressurize their child in doing medicine by promising a good life and money.
Medicine is a stressful job. It is not about sitting in an office and having a chat with a patient and pocketing RM 50-70. IT is much more than that. The time taken to be competent and the amount of responsibility taken is huge. With increasing literacy rate and demand of patients, it further adds to the stress level. Some times I get amused when the person who makes the most fuss in a clinic or a hospital actually sends his own child to be a doctor! I know another parent who do not believe in western medicine and takes only complementary medicine but sent his son to do medicine overseas! Is this called hypocrisy or they simply believe that medicine brings easy money for their children?
As a response to the issue, our Health Minister says that all future housemen would be given counselling! Sometimes I simply don’t understand the logic behind some of the answers coming out of our politician’s mouth! Why do counselling after they graduate? Why don’t we start counselling before they even enter a medical school? Or even conduct some form of standardised entrance exam and interview? Tell them and their parents the reality out there. Unfortunately this will not happen as it will affect the enrolment into our 35 medical schools. Then the medical schools will start making noise as they will be loosing money! The very moment our policy makers decided to commercialised medical education and put quantity ahead of quality, we know where we are heading!
For those who intend to do medicine, please read this blog or buy my books! I had many comments which said that I am discouraging many budding doctors by being very negative. I had explained many times that what I write over here are the REALITY out there which you should know before putting your foot into medicine. If you only going to realise it after you graduate, then it is simply too late…… Trust me : Life in Medicine never gets easier…….
My Books are still available and can be purchased directly from me by following the instructions over HERE. Each and every budding medical students should read this book before deciding to do medicine. Softcopy is available at Google Play Store.
Doctor dilemma: Why are Malaysia’s housemen buckling under pressure?
BY FAREZZA HANUM RASHID AND VEENA BABULAL – 15 FEBRUARY 2017 @ 2:03
MANY housemen find it difficult to cope with the pressure when they cannot adapt to the rigorous training regimen in hospitals. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said this had led to many housemen not completing their training, especially those who studied abroad, as the systems were different. “In some countries, interns are not even allowed to touch patients, and they do not even know how to get a patient’s history. “There is also the language barrier. If they studied in Indonesia, the common language is Bahasa Indonesia, but in Malaysia, we use English,” he said, adding that this had increased the pressure on housemen. Dr Hilmi said there were about 10,000 housemen from various backgrounds in Malaysia, including graduates from local, overseas and unrecognised universities. He said of the number, at least 20 per cent had difficulties with training and were asked to extend their internships up to six to eight months. “Last year, 1.2 per cent of housemen were either terminated or had quit because they could not take the heat. “Many went to other countries to complete their internship, while those who did not show up for many months were sacked.” On why it took so long to identify absent housemen, Dr Hilmi said there were so many housemen that sometimes their superiors did not notice that they had gone missing. “That is why some have gone missing for up to 400 days,” he said after launching World Leprosy Day at the Gombak Orang Asli Hospital in Selangor yesterday. He was responding to Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, who had said trainee doctors made up the highest number of civil servants who were given termination notices. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said about 20 to 30 per cent of about 5,000 housemen who joined the service every year opted to extend their housemanship. He said there were cases of housemen leaving the profession or were removed after they disappeared after finding out that they could not meet the expected requirements of working as a doctor. “I’ve seen some who resigned within 24 hours. “Many don’t resign, but they are not in the system because they don’t go to work. “Later, when we identify them, but can’t trace them, we have to take disciplinary action,” said Dr Subramaniam at a seminar on workplace health here yesterday. He said stress was the main reason housemen dropped out, were absent or extended their housemanship. “People who take up medicine and don’t know what it is all about (often find that) they can’t fit in the system.” However, he said, the number of such incident s had dropped as the ministry had taken steps to intervene by counselling the housemen. He said the respective sections had been instructed to counsel and train housemen before they began their programme and to offer them transfers to other facilities to help them adjust. Dr Subramaniam said universities should consider using an aptitude test. He said to address the problem, the ministry’s main job was to ensure that working conditions were conducive. He said universities might need to regulate interviews to ensure the screening system was compatible with the ministry’s requirements. He said imposing such requirements on private institutions was a tall order as a strict vetting process would reduce the number of students who passed,thus leading them to collect less fees. He said housemen who dropped out and wanted to rejoin the service would not be given a second chance. “Once they drop out, it is the end of their medical career. “The Malaysian Medical Council will not recognise them as practising doctors. “The ones with major disciplinary issues will not have a certification of good standard and they will find it difficult to find jobs in other countries.” Ali Hamsa had said some housemen were laid off because they went missing for up to 400 days. He said some of them had studied abroad on government scholarships. It was reported that sponsoring a medical student overseas could cost as much as RM1 million or more, while the cost in local universities was far lower, but still hefty. Ali Hamsa attributed the policy of permitting hospital interns to follow their spouses overseas for study purposes as another possible reason many went missing from work, and called for a policy review.
Planning to become a doctor? Get set for burnouts, depression
BY FAREZZA HANUM RASHID AND VEENA BABULAL – 15 FEBRUARY 2017 @ 2:00 PM
While many consider being a doctor a dream profession, a growing number of those working in the field find it miserable. Numerous reports can be found on how a growing number of physicians and trainees are going through dark periods of turmoil due to stress. Dr Elaine Cox, in an article on health.usnews.com, said statistics on the number of doctors-in-training and those practising medicine who faced stress was alarming, with about one-third of physicians reporting experiencing burnout at any given point. “As a matter of fact, doctors are 15 times more likely to burn out than professionals in any other line of work, and 45 per cent of primary care physicians report that they would quit if they could afford to do so. “Physicians have a 10 to 20 per cent higher divorce rate than the general population and, sadly, there are 300 to 400 physician suicide deaths each year.” She said the lack of control over schedules and time could contribute to high-stress situations for physicians. “This can result in poor sleep patterns, interference with family activities and events, and poor self-care. “Because there is a patient in need at the end of every phone call and every office or hospital interaction, setting limits is beyond difficult. “The result can be physical and emotional exhaustion, leading to cynicism and burnout. Add to that the increasingly litigious society in which we live, and there is a recipe for quite a few failures.” Dr Cox said in a study published recently, medical students reported a rate of depression that was 15 to 30 per cent higher than the general population. “This can lead to poorer performance, such as 6.2 times more medication errors, exactly the opposite of what we are striving for through the education process.” She said many physicians did not recognise and seek help when they experienced early signs of burnout, primarily because of fear. “Frequently, privileges and licences could be denied if physicians are under treatment for substance abuse or depression. Without those certifications, the source of livelihood, not to mention identity and many years spent in training, is lost.” She said many feared that the struggles they faced would be noticed by the doctor they were getting the treatment from, and, as a result, many self-medicate, which was not a good strategy. Alexandra Sifferlin, writing for Time.com, said research showed that almost 40 per cent of doctors in the United States experienced emotional, physical and psychological burnout from their jobs. “The more doctors feel stressed about their jobs, the more they feel burned out and defeated by the healthcare system, leading to less motivation to improve conditions, both for themselves and for patients,” she said. 2106 reads NST Infographic