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Friday, July 29, 2016

Ate Resident's Tips to Junior Interns & Senior Interns: Don't Let the Patients Bully You

I'm always a pro-senior intern type of resident.  I may favour senior interns more than junior interns but I think this post will apply to both audiences.

In my 4 years as a surgical resident, I would always get irritated when some patients will bully my senior interns.  This usually apply to the private division.  There's a recent post here I read and discovered from social media of an intern writing about how the patient from a government hospital accused her or "Wala ka kasing Puso, Pinagpapapractisan niyo lang kami." Sometimes you even encounter patients who won't let you interview them. I was surprised actually that a patient from a government hospital would behave like this.  Because in our clinical division, we seldom encounter these patients.

We always encounter these patients in the emergency room.  Well you can understand, the stress of a patient or a parent for his/her child.  They would want always the best medical care be given to them. Because to them this may be a matter of life or death. So understanding their situation is a very important key area in these situations.

But you must understand also that being a junior intern and senior intern is a journey.  Every doctor undergoes this stage.  Even the most successful doctor in the whole wide universe did undergo that stage.  That stage when while young, your exposure to real patients after undergoing 3-5 years of theoretical books in medical school.  That most successful doctor you could think of will not be what he/she is today without undergoing this stage in their path of becoming a consultant.

Do you ever wonder why it's not the 1st year medical student, nor 2nd year nor 3rd year medical student who is inside the emergency room? or who is in the out patient department (OPD) interviewing the patient? Well it's because only a junior intern or someone who has completed 4 years of medical course is QUALIFIED to be inside the emergency room and inside the out patient department.  So don't feel too degraded when you're the youngest inside the emergency room and inside the  OPD. You're QUALIFIED to be there.

We all wished that we'll be in the ideal set-up, a 1:1 doctor:patient relationship.  But right now, in the Philippines, we sometimes can't always have the ideal set-up.  We're still a developing country.

So when a patient comes inside the emergency room and demands that he/she sees a resident or a consultant. Don't feel degraded or sad.  Because at that moment when your resident or your consultant is not around because they're attending to another patient or saving someone else more critical, or in the conference, you're the ONLY one there that's qualified to diagnose and to give first aid to that patient. Well you're the DOCTOR there right? You're the one in there that's most knowledgeable about diseases and how to treat them.

I'm not saying that you be arrogant.  You can always ask the patient, "Hi I'm Dr ____, I'm sorry but the resident/consultant is currently attending to a patient/attending a conference, is it ok with you that I attend to your concerns first before they arrive or are you willing to wait for their arrival?" Then let the patient decide.  For sure, if the patient thinks the condition is urgent, they will agree that a young doctor sees them rather than none. If they decided to wait, then let them wait, unless if it's critical.. like the patient has difficulty breathing or has a gunshot wound or a stab wound.  Do everything you need to do and render 1st aid and CALL your resident.

So don't let the patients bully you and let you feel degraded.  They're just as agitated because of their concern with their lives nor their loved ones.  You just need to remember, you're not an INTERN LANG. You're an INTERN NGA. There's a reason why hospitals chose to place you there in the first place. You're a Doctor there, and it's part of your job to treat these patients.

Residents and Interns are a team.  We back each other's back.  Be sure though that before you give your treatment that you verify this with your residents and consultants, because you're still under their care by law, and it's their license which is at risk of losing if anything goes wrong.

Always remember, You're the Doctor there, and Don't let patients bully you.  You're the one who is most qualified to treat them when your residents or consultants are not around.

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