Thursday, 3 January 2013

Leaving my comfort zone

It's been such a long time since I last updated my blog. There's been massive changes in terms of my career.

After completing housemanship, I was posted to Kedah as a new Medical Officer. One major flaw in our system is that they never tell you in advance where exactly that you're posted to. So, no preparations could be made before starting work. On top of that, you can't claim expenses spent even if you went to your new working place earlier. They expect you to travel on the day that you're reporting and then start hunting for accommodation and even your work place.

On the day that I was suppose to report, I had to travel all the way up to Alor Setar, which was Kedah's capital to report to the state health office. Then, I was told that I was posted to Kulim, which I had passed 1.5 hours ago whilst on the way to Alor Setar. Don't you think that it's a waste of resources? When I finally reached Kulim district health office, I found out that I was posted to a health clinic half an hour away from town. So, here I am, a general practitioner in a small village half an hour away from the hospital.

Starting off as an MO was stressful for me initially. There was the responsibility that you had to carry on your shoulders, being the second boss at this clinic, and most importantly, being the gatekeeper of healthcare. Somehow I missed the times being a house officer when you're not held responsible for mistakes that were made and there'll always be seniors above you to guide you. Currently, if I'd missed something, the patient's health and even life can be at stake.

Actually, treating patients wasn't my biggest headache. The biggest obstacle here is actually handling issues with the staff. Initially, my senior MO was always with me so everything was referred to her. Then, there're times when I was the only MO there. This was when all hell runs loose.

Requests come to you when you're most busy, trying to catch you off guard. There were also unreasonable requests which had to be refused but at the same time, I had to worry about ruining my relationship with my colleagues because I decided to put my foot down. I guess my dental friends who have started out earlier as bosses know this very well. Maybe I can gain from some of your experiences in dealing with these situations.

So far, I'm making ado with the limited drugs and equipment that I have in my small clinic. At least there's tarred road connecting us to the main hospital and it's only half an hour away. Xrays and antenatal scans have to be done at another nearby clinic and blood tests besides FBC have to be sent off to be processed at the hospital. Now I'm still puzzled as to why do we even have an emergency section at the clinic. I can't even diagnose or manage anything here! And there's always this trouble of medical pushing to surgical and surgical pushing the case back to medical. In the end, the patient was deposited at casualty and they can decide which team to take over later. Haih.......

Oh well, back to intensive revision of clinical examination. Maybe I can train myself to diagnose aortic dissection without the need of a CT.

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