Young Doctors And Pressure At The Workplace

Last update: 17/02/2017

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Pressure, anxiety and having to work long hours are part and parcel of the daily life of young doctors or medical officers, according to the Malaysian Muslim Doctors Organisation (Perdim).

Its president, Datuk Dr Ahmad Shukri Ismail, said a career in medicine demands a high-level of commitment in managing and treating patients, all the more so when it is a case of dealing with people's lives.

"For a doctor or medical officer, time belongs to the patients. So, they should understand that a career in medicine is not an easy one. They have to work irregular hours.

"The pressure becomes greater when they have to work for more than 24 hours, and face the whims of patients and the orders from the more experienced senior doctors," he said whan contacted by Bernama.

Earlier this week, the Health Ministry introduced several measures including counselling and job exposure prior to the start of housemanship for young doctors to help them deal with stress.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam had said the ministry found that each year between 20 and 30 per cent of interns were unable to complete their housemanship in the stipulated 24 months due to stress at the workplace.

Dr Ahmad Shukri, who welcomed the government's new measures, said that besides the willingness to face challenges and pressure at the workplace, young doctors should have had interest in medicine and not pursue it due to pressure from their parents.

He said the image and professionalism of the career would be adversely affected if the doctors did not have an interest in medicine.

"Nowadays, when a doctor commits a mistake, the matter goes viral. My advice to doctors is to learn the art of communicating with patients and not to be influenced by emotions," he said.

Last Monday, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa said medical officers, mainly housemen, made up the highest number of civil servants who played truant, some among them 'disappearing' for 200 days at a time.

Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) secretary-general Dr Azlan Helmy Abd Samat said health-related NGOs and senior doctors in the profession were encouraged to promote psychological safety.

"We encourage young doctors to be proactive in building their medical knowledge and skills, as well as engaging actively with their seniors for guidance and assistance in their daily tasks," he said.

Dr Azlan said young doctors should realise that the period of housemanship training was fundamental to their development as healthcare professionals and to prepare them for future and even bigger clinical responsibilities.

Dr Nur Akmal Ismail, 28, medical and health officer at the Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Health Clinic in Dungun, Terengganu, said young doctors must learn to control stress and maintain a positive attitude.