“a good houseman isn’t one who traces his/her results on time or finishes his/her work quickly. i can get a nurse or medical assistant to do those things. a good houseman is one who takes time to learn from the patient and asks questions.”

i almost laughed when the specialist said this during the houseman teaching session today. doesn’t she know that we’re doing the work of nurses, of medical assistants, because we don’t have enough of them who take pride in their work?

there’s nothing i would love more than to spend time with my patients, get to know them, educate them properly, ensure they’re discharged with the right information, in the right manner, with the correct medications. i get frustrated when patients come because they’re non-compliant to fluid restriction or they take their medicines inappropriately or they missed an ultrasound appointment, a followup appointment, whatever. it reflects failure on my part as their treating doctor…but it’s a failure often caused by wasted time looking for needles and iodine or going up and down seven flights of stairs just to get an official result.

i believe malaysian healthcare can only improve once people take pride in their work and give a damn about the patients. sadly, it seems like the only thing we care about is getting home by 7am, 2pm, 5pm or 9pm.

this is probably why my lecturers have always told us to spend as much time as possible in the wards with our patients while we’re still students – they knew we’d never have the privilege to do so again once we enter the workforce.

i wish i listened then.


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