An interesting aspect of housejob for me, is getting to meet senior colleagues from various backgrounds, with unique personalities and a wide-range of interests in the medical field.
As part of the HouseJob Chronicles series, I’ll be featuring some residents from my centre (FMCL) who will give insights about the expectations and demands of residency (in Nigeria).
“A good doctor cares. He cares about his patients. He’s not necessarily the doctor with the greatest knowledge, [but] he is empathic and shows compassion.”
– Dr. Fola Aduloju.
Dr. Fola: I’ve always loved the idea and I’ve always been fascinated by it. I studied medicine because I wanted to be a surgeon. Apart from that, surgery is physically and mentally challenging and I loved that too. Also, surgery is very lucrative. I also like the fact that surgeons don’t rely on medications alone, they identify the problem and take it out or fix it. Even the best of surgeons would need the services of another surgeon if he has a surgical problem… he won’t operate on himself, meaning that surgeons will always be sought after.
Lastly, I love the the theater environment.
Q2. What does a fulfilled day look like for you?
Dr. Fola: As a resident, a fulfilled day for me is one in which I have successfully balanced service rendering, academic activity, family life and rest. One hardly experiences a fulfilled day as a surgery resident. There always something that gives for another. This might be different for other residents though
Q3. What keeps you going on tough days?
Dr Fola: On tough days, I remind myself that this was the path I chose for myself and I won’t let temporary circumstances derail me. I keep my eyes on the prize and get going. “No pain, no gain.”
Q4. Do you have a favorite mantra? Please share.
Dr. Fola: No favorite mantra, sorry. Lol
Q5. What’s the most life-changing lesson you’ve learnt as a doctor?
Dr. Fola: Life is ephemeral and one must value every day and maximize it like it’s the last.
There’s a thin line between life and death.
Q6. If not medicine, what?
Dr. Fola: Aviation. I would most definitely become a pilot. That was my first love before the idea of becoming a surgeon came.
Q7. What are your favorite activities outside work?
Dr. Fola: I love reading about music theory, drawing and painting, programming and foreign languages. Unfortunately most of these are time consuming and residency won’t permit. So instead, I just watch TV and sleep when I have the chance.
Q8. How do you keep your “work-life” balance?
Dr. Fola: It’s difficult in surgery. The demands are enormous and time consuming. A surgery resident would always be skewed towards work. When there is opportunity, I hang out with friends and keep myself up to date with happenings.
Q9. What are the attributes of a good doctor?
Dr. Fola: A good doctor cares. He cares about his patients. He’s not necessarily the doctor with the greatest knowledge, [but] he is empathic and shows compassion.
Of course, he hungers for knowledge to improve the quality of patient care.
Q10. What advice will you give to a Naija House Officer?
Dr. Fola: Naija House officers should know that the work environment is harsh and stressful. They should find ways of simplifying their tasks and reducing the stress. In other words, they should work smart.
Most importantly, they should consider getting licensed to practice in other places irrespective of their love to practice in Nigeria. This will give them more exposure and possibly better finance to have an independent and comfortable practice. There are things one does when one is younger, do them now. Lastly, they should go after skills acquisition and thirst after knowlege/self-improvement.
Dr. Fola Aduloju, is a graduate of University of Ilorin Medical School, and a Surgery Resident at Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Nigeria. He is interested in Neurosurgery specialty.