Medicine not for the faint hearted

In response to Another houseman “stressed from working long hours”, “Salvatore” wrote to the Star:

THE first question you should ask yourself before stepping into the medical world: Why do I choose medicine? Love? Fame? Money?

If you choose the latter two, you are absolutely not on the right track, and you might consider changing your profession.

Medicine is not for the faint hearted. If you dream of having a glamorous and glitzy life like what you see in the TV series Grey’s Anatomy, quit your job and join the acting career in Hollywood.

Seriously, we are talking about commitment. If you don’t have passions for the job, neither do you have a strong commitment, then you are weak and you are not destined for this career.

Regarding the housemen issue, it has been globally discussed from the lowest level up to the ministry, and many changes have been implemented like the shift system.

During our good old days, with fewer housemen, we did months of EOD calls, with no days off after the being on call.

We worked for a total of 36 hours if we were on call. We did not complain, neither did you hear a lot of complaints from the patients.

Do you think that we were dumb enough not standing up for our rights? Here came passion and commitment.

The older generation thought that what they experienced was just part of the process. Indeed, it built stronger minds, better knowledge and greater passion towards treating the patients.

And this, my fellow colleagues, is the sole purpose of our very profession.

The issue of “working long hours affects your performance” is no longer valid then.

The working hours have been reduced by half!

If we could do it, why can’t you?

More working hours provide greater insights and better understanding of your career and it’s one step towards success and victory.

Any single “mistreatment” including a little scolding from the specialist(s) would cost them a warning from the higher level.

The specialist(s) may have become more benign. But do you not realise that “specialist(s) have hearts, too”.

Do you not consider, even once, the fact that they might not even bother to recognise your presence and teach you.

My advice to housemen, is that housemanship is a training process. Absorb as much as you can and prepare yourselves for a more challenging life after this.

You might think that being a medical officer or a specialist is all fun and less work, but little do you know the vast amount of responsibilities we have to bear and endure.

Come back to your senses and do what we all should do best – treat the sick people and serve the nation.

They raise you in such a way hoping that you will one day be competent and capable enough to manage the patients all by yourselves without their help, should the day come when they are no longer around to guide you.

Just remember that the more difficult it is to reach your destination, the more you will remember the journey.


This is currently being discussed in the Dobbs forum (hat tip to Dr Eveho)


Malaysian physician, haematologist, blogger, web and tech enthusiast