Dear new doctors

2014-12-13 09:58

...as I welcome all of you, young lions and lionesses, in the noble profession of Hippocrates and Socrates. Congratulations, folks! It was a journey worth traveling. Scream out loud and say: "I made it!"

Being a medical doctor has always been the wish of every parent for their children. In fact, when we grew up, both at the primary and secondary schools, our teachers would always pass these remarks to the "brighter learners"... "you will become a good doctors". Doctors were, therefore, bright people in their perceptions.

Quite frankly, I've always had my own imaginations every time my teachers said that to me. I had visualized myself as a medical doctor, in my snow-white coat,a suit and a tie, and a stethoscope around my neck. I could see myself in a mansion with all expensive German cars you can ever think of. In my imaginations, I was a tycoon in waiting... A Dr.

Well, the six years of tortures and sleepless nights came and passed. The day of euphoria and elation came, when I lifted my right hand up high and took that Hippocratic Oath. I still remember that day very well, when the letter "M" on my "Mr" title was suddenly changed into letter "D", signaling me to be the "Dr"... What an awesome feeling!

Cutting the long story short, and without trying to burst anybody's bubble, I just wanna remind my newly qualified colleagues from all 8 medical schools in the country, that this is only the beginning of the long journey.

From my own personal experience and observations, please be reminded of the following:

Torturous as it may be perceived, internship is there to instill the practical part of medicine into reality. It is there to horn the skills that you most likely already have. It is there to unearth your confidence, so that you can save the lives of the unsuspecting community. Trust me, there is a reason for it to last two years... it's to try and make you as safe a doctor as you can be.

I must be frank with you, there will be times you feel like you wanna quit... No, no, no. Hang on right there. Just push a little further. There is no examination at the end of the "block". Just carry on and perfect your skills.

During your internship, you'll probably remember that Personal Financial Management 101 was never part of your studies at med school. Suddenly, the creditors and car dealers will be calling and visiting you. You may start feeling like Patrice Motsepe, all of the sudden. Trust me, those people can only make you their slave... A financial slave. You will work, but they are the ones who will get the salary. I guess I know what I'm talking about here.

Saving, investing in properties and other forms of investments are the ways to go. The German machines come in models, shapes and sizes. Trust me, they change all the times, and they loose their values every single minute... Choose responsibly.

Boys, boys, boys! Should I perhaps say "Black Boys"? I know Life Orientation 101 was also omitted in your curriculum at med school. "Internitis" is not a medical condition. It is a self-inflicted social conformation in the newly qualified medical doctors who suddenly get exposed to the privileges that they never experienced before. Surely, having 6 girlfriends would be so irresponsible of you. I shall refrain from talking HIV... you're more knowledgeable than I am, in that regard. Booze, booze, booze! Please try to limit, if you can't refrain.

Cars are meant to take you from point A to point B. Do not mistake them for toys. I know none of the cars we buy has the speedometer limit of 120km/h... unfortunately that is the national speed limit, beyond which you might as well make sure both your lawyers and funeral policies are up to date.

Truth is, doctors hardly, if at all, consult at public hospitals. So, please get yourself some medical aid. Your cash may be enough to buy you panado and aspirins, but trust me, you need hundreds of thousands of rands to fix your broken pelvis.

Shouldn't Labour Relations 101 and Human Resource Management also be included in the curriculum at med school? I mean, doctors hardly get inducted at their new workplaces. As much as your title is "Dr", there are levels of superiority and hierarchies in every institution. Let us respect that. Nurses are our colleagues. Not our assistants or servants.

Annual leaves, sick leaves, family responsibility leaves and other special leaves are some of the pecks that come with employment. You need to know how to manage those.

Most importantly, work within the bounds of the law and ethics. You don't wanna make the news on the front page of the Sunday newspapers. Trust me, lawyers and journalist do make a fortune out of doctors. They call us their cash-cows. So, be warned.

Having said that, the medical profession is a very rewarding and enjoyable profession, though. You may now walk tall with your heads held high, for you are now... THE DOCTORS!

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