Alhamdulillah, I survived my fourth week of working and the first & second on-call nights. But this is just the beginning – just like what we have been told by many other senior doctors and lecturers when we first graduate in July, ‘Graduation is not the end of your life as a student, but it’s the beginning…’ True indeed. Although we (think we) have encountered so many cases when we were still in school, there are still a lot more to learn and to re-learn.
Oh, I guess this is the only profession that other people would bother to know which university we are graduated from. Every senior doctors (even the junior doctors and the nurses) have different expectations to different medical schools. Do not take it to heart if we feel like we are down-graded just because we’re not graduated from the top universities.
In my department, all new HO need to undergo 16 minus 2 days of tagging (minus 2 because we get either day of weekends off) from 7 am to 10 pm. If you’re lucky, the senior doctor will just allow you to go back once you have clerked and presented a new case (admission) eventhough it’s 9pm. But you are ‘luckier’ if they hold you up to 12 midnight. Either way, the most important thing is – you learned something. No point if we stayed for more than 10 hours in the ward doing nothing.
1- Be pro-active, offer help to the HO on-call or even the nurses. Ask if we do not understand.
2- Allow ourselves to accept challenges – from patients, senior doctors and even the nurses and colleagues. Usually people will make it easy for us during the week of tagging. But never take advantage of the ‘tagging status’, we ought to learn as much and as fast as we can during this first 2 weeks. Once we’re off-tag, we will be held responsible of everything. And prepare ourselves mentally and physically for a bigger challenge every day.
3- Manage and organise our time properly. Make note when your senior doctor/specialist/consultant usually come in the morning, afternoon or at night, therefore we can plan when to go for prayer, lunch or dinner. Do not procrastinate. Because we never know, there are times when we are super-busy (a.k.a. jonah), we would not even have time to empty the bladder.
4- Learn to write illegibly as fast as we can. Some senior doctors will not repeat what they have said, and it will irritate them if we missed important findings or management plans. If we see our colleague’s busy writing on the medical notes for their patient during ward rounds, help them to endorse the medications or to get anything that the senior/specialist/consultant wants. And for those in hospital with computerised system, learn to type fast.
5- If we know that we’re slow, come to the ward much earlier, so we can finish reviewing the patients, their old medical notes, taking bloods, making orders (for radiological investigations etc) before morning rounds.
6- Talking about blood taking, do it as fast as we can. If we cannot get blood after poking twice or thrice, get our colleagues to help us. Treat our patients just as we treat ourselves, our family and close friends. But never just stop it there when you failed to take the blood or inserting the branula/cannula, remember, blood investigations/intravenous fluids are a part of our management for the interest of patient.
7- If the senior doctor/specialist say ‘trace’ the bloods or whatsoever investigations, trace it by all means. Call up the respected lab/department/hospital/clinic to get the required information, especially if it is related to planning of further management.
8- During case presentation, just go straight to the points. Patient’s details, followed by relevant background medical history and current problems/diagnoses. We do not need to elaborate on the details (like we did in med school) unless we are asked to. Focus on the main problems, but do not overlook other relevant issues.
9- Learn to write a proper clerking/progress notes, referral notes/letter, discharge summary.
10- Learn to communicate – with colleagues to pass over things to be done after office hour to HO on-call, with MO if you are unsure about management or anything about your patient, MO of other department for internal referrals, nurses and attendants to ensure that they get the jobs done (e.g. taking sputum/urine sample, sending patient for X-Ray & etc.
11- Offer help to our colleagues, especially if we are relatively quite free.
12- Above all, do not forget about prayers!! Do not wait until we are free to pray and even if we have finished our work, do not procrastinate. If you are to busy to stop working, ask your colleague to cover for you while you’re praying. It is not uncommon to see doctors/nurses missed their prayers, but do not let ourselves be a part of that group. There are times when we have no choice but to pray at the end of the prayer time, but do not make it a habit!
13- For female doctors – remember, although you’re doing procedures that might need you to uncover some parts of your hands, please try your best to cover up your aurah at maximum as you can. And never ever think that once your part of hands/body have been unintentionally exposed previously, you can allow it to be exposed again in the future. We are muslimah, we have dignity. And covering aurah and avoidance of excessive contact with patients or male colleagues are a part of conserving our dignity.
I guess, that’s all for now. I pray that all doctors shall have passions and patience in each and everything we did and will do for patients. May Allah reward us with sincerity and His blessings. Ameen.