My passion keeps me going. I remind myself that I signed up for this business of saving lives and that things will not always be bad. For every patient we lose, many more are saved.
– Dr. Dennis Palma
Q1. Why Internal Medicine?
Dr. Palma: Well, it started with my medical school experience. Internal Medicine was my first posting. I admired the team work among the doctors. I also liked the way they applied their knowledge to make the correct diagnosis.
In my work as a medical officer, following my service year (NYSC), I found the motivation from my senior colleagues very helpful.
Although O and G was also a specialty of interest, I signed up for Internal Medicine as soon as there was a reaidency opening.
Q2. What does a fulfilled day look like for you?
Dr. Palma: A fulfilled day for me, means that I have contributed immensely to patient care, especially those in life threatening conditions.
Q3. What keeps you going on tough days?
Dr. Palma: My passion keeps me going. I remind myself that I signed up for this business of saving lives and that things will not always be bad. For every patient we lose, many more are saved.
Q4. Do you have a favorite mantra? Please share.
Dr. Palma: “If you wait for things to happen nothing will happen.” You have to be proactive in life to get anything you want.
Q5. What’s the most life-changing lesson you’ve learnt as a doctor?
Dr. Palma: Several. A particular lesson that comes to mind is to show more empathy towards patients and their relatives.
When my dad passed on at a teaching hospital some years back, I was able to understand how patient’s relatives are treated, the physical and psychological stress, the impolite and condescending attitude from health workers, and the enormous financial implications of healthcare.
Q6. If not medicine, what?
Dr. Palma: I wanted to be a medical doctor from childhood.
At some point in secondary school, I considered Engineering because most of my classmates wanted either Medicine or Engineering but becoming a doctor was a dream come true.
Q7. What are your favorite activities outside work?
Dr. Palma: I enjoy watching football and hanging out with friends. I also enjoy movies and reading novels.
Q8. How do you keep your work-life balance?
Dr. Palma: There is no balance at the moment. Work takes a large aspect of my time, even my weekends are not entirely free.
Still I try to keep in touch with a few friends outside the medical circle.
Q9. What are the attributes of a good doctor?
Dr Palma: A good doctor should have a good relationship with other members of the healthcare team. He should be humble because a lot of responsibility is demanded of him. A good doctor should be able to convert medical knowledge into practice and learn to show empathy towards patients.
Q10. What advice will you give to a Naija House Officer?
Dr. Palma: Learn all you can from your senior colleagues and show them respect. The more you know, the more outstanding you’ll be. It’s important to have a professional goal at the start of your career and work towards it. Show empathy towards patients. When all is said and done, it’s all about the patient.
Dr. Dennis Palma, is a graduate of University of Maiduguri Medical School. He’s presently a Senior Resident at Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, and is interested in Endocrinology.