by Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj
A compilation of survival tips for new medical doctors. I started writing these tips on my page since June 23 and dedicated them to my students - Medic Alumni UKM. I pray that these words could reach out to those who are really needing support and strength to continue the struggle.
Love from Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj, alumni HO General Hospital Kuala Lumpur (GHKL) - Aug 1991 to July 1992
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER: Tip no. 1 - Set your intentions right. It's neither about the money, the highly respected position and the power. It is about PUBLIC SERVITUDE, serving those who are in need of healthcare. Only after you have served well, then only you could deserve the rewards, privileges and rights allocated for medical practitioners! Welcome on board!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 2 - Have the right attitudes. Being the most junior officer in the team, you really have a lot to catch up and learn. Never pretend that you know all. Never hesitate to admit that you do not know, to ask questions and assistance. Respect those who are more experienced than you. People with the right attitudes are welcome wherever they go, always...all the time!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 3 - Put on your best smile and outstanding manners. Greet everyone with a cheerful salam. No matter how busy you are, don't forget to move your temporo-mandibular joints and carve out a big smile. It will stimulate a fountain of endorphins in your neuron synapses, and aha...the feel-good feeling will set in. Don't believe this? Just try....just do it.
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 4 - Work extra hard to convince people that you are reliable, responsible, accountable and able to complete tasks and meet expectations - within the first two weeks! Once people know you're committed, you'll gain their trust, respect & cooperation. Just mark my words!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no.5 - Refresh your inner self with daily, constant and effective spiritual input. For Muslim, don't ever neglect your 5 times daily prayers, no matter how busy you are. You really need that 5 -10 minutes regular breaks. It acts as a cooling oasis for you to rejuvenate.
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no.6 : Mend your bruised heart and dented self-esteem, quickly and effectively - each time you received unpleasant reminders of your incompetency & shortcoming from your seniors. It's a part and parcel of the job. Admit your mistakes, but PLEASE, try hard not to repeat them. To err is human, but to keep doing the same error is a major blunder!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no.7 : Keep in touch with your loved ones - parents, spouses, close friends, teachers etc. Don't shut out your life, which mainly linger around your wards, call roster and private room now. There is more to life out there than just work or crashing into bed to recover from sleep deprivation.
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no.8 : Make friend with the nurses. Never ever be their enemy. Life would be much easier if you know how to win their hearts. Dr Meena (Paeds MO) gave me this very precious advice : Harlina, be nice to these people (nurses). They will decide whether you will have your meals or not during your calls. Yesss, I later realized how true that advice was!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no.9 : Forgive those who raised their voices at you. They might be angry patients, stressed-up MOs, overwhelmed colleagues, frustrated consultants, irritated nurses etc. Nobody had ever shouted at you before,eh? Being a HO, anticipate your first experience here. Forgive them, forget them and live on. After all, we're all just humans living in the same pressure cooker!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no.10 - Thank God for the honour of being His instrument/tool of Mercy to mankind. A great opportunity is at your doorstep to catapult your good self to be bigger than life. Grab that opportunity and seize the golden moments. Nothing compares with the feeling of satisfaction whenever your patients & relatives say : Thank you, Doc
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 11 - Handle yourself well when dealing with difficult people. Feeling victimized, bullied and discriminated? After reflecting on yourself, I suggest you pluck some courage to meet face-to-face. Clarify, admit your mistakes and make peace. InsyaAllah, things will be fine.
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 12 - Treat your patients as if they are your own parents/relatives. Just as how you would like any doctor to treat your parents, that's exactly how you should treat your patients now. Remember, what comes around, goes around! Motivate your patients always, you'll feel the positive energy seeping into you too.
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 13 - Express your love to your spouse everyday, using his/her love language. Let him/her know how much his/her support & understanding means to you. Share your ups and downs, laughter & tears. Thank Allah everyday for sending you this special person. Those who are still unmarried, what's keeping you, guys?
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 14 - Be sincere in treating your patients, be gentle and caring. Control your anger and frustration, avoid explosive emotional outburst in front of your patients. If you really need to release the steam, do it in the washroom with the tap running (peace, Mother Earth)- I consider that as an effective form of anger management!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR HOUSE OFFICER : Tip no. 15 - Keep abreast with what's happening around you - medical & non-medical, locally and globally. Read the papers, journals & magazines, listen to the news bulletin, engage in general discussions. Have your own opinions. You're a doctor now! People wanna know what's going on in your brain.