I had an experience at work the other day, interesting in retrospect, but very emotional for me at the time. I was hurt by some stuff one of my “Ogas at the top” said, and I ended in tears.
It was so embarrassing…long story short, I came out of the experience a better me.
In this post, I’d like to share a few tips with you about how NOT to take things personal as a House Officer, especially if you work (or plan to work) in Nigeria.
1. Offenses will come.
Offenses are a part of life we all can’t do without. On a daily basis, we offend people and people offend us.
Unfortunately, even in the work-environment where everyone is expected to be cordial, people step on one another’s toes all the time.
As a House Officer, patients will annoy you, your colleagues will make you angry, and your seniors will frustrate you.
Sadly, a lot of Nigerian doctors still see BULLYING as a necessary evil, and unless there’s a change in such mindset, House Officers will continue to be at the receiving end.
It’s in your own best interest to develop a thick skin against such scenarios, because they will surely come.
2. Keep Moving On.
No matter how bad a day seems, that day will pass.
Days will turn into weeks, weeks into months, and before you know it, your housejob experience is over.
If you want to survive as a House Officer unscathed, learn to move on quickly!
3. Be Considerate.
Eventually, what goes around comes around.
As a newbie doctor, maybe it’s time to change the narrative.
Be the difference you want to see.
To your patients show empathy. You have no idea what some of them are passing through.
To your colleagues show comradeship. You’re together in the struggle.
To your seniors show loyalty. They were once in your shoes.
It takes a little kindness to make a BIG difference.
In all, do your best and give the quality of care, treatment and respect you want others to give you.
4. Know your elastic limit.
When all is said and done, it is NOT every nonsense that you should allow.
I’m yet to walk out of a ward round, because God has REALLY helped me.
And I hope the day never comes because if it so happens…hehe
Like I say to anyone who cares to listen, I’m the only doctor in my family…I cannot come and die.
For your own sanity, speak up when you MUST.
If a colleague wants to take advantage of you, call such person to order.
If a patient tries to disrespect you, set him/her straight.
And if your seniors verbally or physically abuse you, to an extent that is unhealthy to your self-esteem, please report them to the appropriate quarters.
You’re a doctor, not a door-mat!
5. Laugh out Loud
When all is said and done, someone may just be having a bad day and looking for a channel to vent.
DO NOT become the scapegoat.
Try to to give your best at ALL times. Be timely. Be proactive. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be rude. Know your limits.
Refuse to be a casualty in another person’s mood instability.
And when you’ve done all you can, and someone still wants to make you angry or sad, just LAUGH OUT LOUD.
Laugh so hard that it confuses your “Tormentor.”
A little humor can really go a long way!
Remember, you’re STRONGER than you think.
For me, whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by the sheer stress of the job, the Holyspirit gently reminds me that…
So I don’t complain, I give thanks.
I screen grabbed this from a friend’s status the other day. Truly this job Issa calling!
So yours truly is half-way done with this housejob thing. Yay!
I recently completed my second posting: INTERNAL MEDICINE.
Let’s just say the posting was more of presentations and the likes, than anything else.
Internal medicine doctors like to brag about their “stuff”, unlike the surgeons who love “action” and just want to get a knife under your skin. To their credit, the internists seem to spend more bedside time with their patients.
The longest ward round of my life (about 5 hours) was during my internal medicine rotation and it was not funny.
I spent my entire posting in the Endocrinology unit where about 90% of our patients had diabetes.
Some Diabetic cases were really bad especially those complicated with Diabetic Foot Syndrome (DMFS) and we lost a number of them, sadly.
Still there were more successes than defeats and for that I’m thankful.
The importance of patient education and regular health checks cannot be overemphasized because without those complications, Diabetes is pretty manageable.
I’m especially thankful that God kept me through those 12 weeks of ward rounds, emergency room calls and outpatient clinic activities. I had some tough days as well as a few long nights.
I’m glad I was able to make friends with my colleagues, seniors, nurses and even a few patients. The Unit Consultants and Residents were also kind and helpful.
I’m especially thankful for my unit partner, Dr. M. He made my life easier in so many ways and he took the bulk of the work on days when the unit was really busy. He really deserves some accolades😂
I’ve since resumed a new posting (Obstetrics/Gynecology), and I’m gonna be seeing lots of preggos and cute newborns over the next couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, more than half of the hospital staff are currently on a National strike (that excludes doctors), so I’m yet to do some of the cool things I’ve heard about like taking deliveries or repairing episiotomies.
Tbh…can’t wait for the strike to be over (the holiday is enough). Learning is still important to me, abeg.
Here are some of the highlights of my Housejob experience:
1. Being called a Doctor
It does feel good to be officially addressed as a doctor. I know I feel entitled but who wouldn’t?
After the stress of medical school and MDCN licensing exam, I know I paid my dues so I deserve some accolades sorry, the title😉
So it’s kinda annoying when that random patient or patient’s relative refers to me as a nurse. Maka gini?
I know it’s not a crime to be called a nurse but I think it’s an identity theft, to answer to a title that is false 😉
On days when I have the strength, I sharply correct such erring individuals, while on other days I just roll my eyes and let it slide.
2. Call food struggle
You know how many Nigerians love awoof (free things)? Let’s just say that the doctors are no exception.
Although our call food is not exactly free, since a monthly deduction is made from our salaries, still it feels good to have ready-to-eat meals at work.
And don’t let it surprise you that we sometimes go for extra helpings and even lobby for call food on days when we are not on call…because doctors love food like that.
A couple of times, the taste of the food can be so disappointing (more like crappy), still we try to make the most use of it.
I’d rather go for my own home cooked meal than call food any day, but on days when I don’t have a choice, I’m thankful for call food.
3. Patients who L.A.M.A
To L.A.M.A is to Leave Against Medical Advice
This has be to one of my favorite scenarios as a house officer.
I know it sounds selfish but it simply means there’s one less patient to worry about.
Medical ethics emphasizes a patient’s power of autonomy, in other words, no doctor can force a patient to make any decision concerning his/her health.
As doctors we are trained to assess the benefit to risk ratio of our treatment plan, and only go ahead if the benefit outweighs the risk.
In a situation where patients (or their relatives), refuse a particular treatment due to financial incapacity, religious/cultural beliefs or preference for alternative care, they are allowed to leave against medical advice.
In one of my Consultant’s words, “The hospital is not a prison yard and we can’t force you to get treated.”
Occasionally, some patients who L.A.M.A eventually return in worse condition. It’s very tempting to send them away, but as doctors we have no choice but to treat them anyway.
4. ER Memoirs
The Emergency room is one of the toughest places for a doctor to be in, especially during call hours. Call hours usually last from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the next day.
The experience ranges from days of having a sleep-over (like no patient to disturb you all night) to days of little or no sleep.
One of the worst scenarios is to be told to prepare an unstable patient for an emergency surgery around 2 a.m., another scenario is having to monitor glucose levels, for a diabetic patient in Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State (HHS) every hour.
In such scenarios you can’t help but philosophize:
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Robert Schuller.
Count yourself lucky if you are able to catch a wink before morning, because you’re mandated to be on your feet again, running errands till closing hours.
Still we don’t COMPLAIN, we give thanks.
5. Patients’ stories
If we look past the sick faces, investigation results, the diagnosis, the prognosis, and all other medical jargon, we realize that there is more to our patients than meets the eye.
That patient who just had a cholecystectomy is someone’s husband, father, brother, uncle, boss or mentor.
The lady who was just diagnosed with diabetes is someone’s daughter, neighbor, student or friend.
I’ve heard all sort of stories that break my heart and many times I wonder why God allows some people to pass through so much pain.
I once had a patient who was involved in a nearly fatal road traffic accident, in which she broke a leg, a few weeks to her wedding. Thankfully she survived the ordeal, but her life was never the same again.
Another patient, a father of three, struggling to make ends meet, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and had to be placed on regular hemodialysis. How the family could even afford the treatment remains a mystery to me.
Life seems to momentarily stand still when sickness comes knocking, but the truth is there’s so much going on behind the scenes.
A diagnosis is enough to change the course of a person’s life and only faith in God that can keep such a person going.
Miracles do happen. And I’ve seen a number of them.
I believe as doctors, we will show more empathy if we routinely put ourselves in our patients’ shoes.
So help us God.
– call food: the food served when a doctor is on call duty.
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.
Q1. Why Surgery?
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.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have EVERYTHING I need.”
Psalms 23:1 GNB
Emphasis on Everything.
God knows I have so many wants, but he so graciously meets my needs…every time.
Without further delay, let’s get into the TAG thingy:
1. EARLY MORNING|| Shower 🚿 or Bubble Bath 🛀 ?
Shower. I’d love one right now.
2. TEMPERATURE|| Sunshine 🌞 or Rain 🌧?
Rain…minus thunder, lightning and flooding.
3. ON A CHILLY DAY|| Coffee ☕️ or Tea ☕️?
Coffee…nothing beats the smell and taste of coffee. And no, I’m not an addict.
4. FOR FUN|| Book 📖 or Tv 📺?
Anywhere. On the couch. On the toilet seat. Under a tree. In the car.
Anytime. While Eating. While chatting.
Paperback or Ebook? Are you kidding me? Ebook ofcourse.
5. TRAVEL|| Road trip 🚘 or Flight ✈️ ?
Flight…it’s an amazing feeling to be up in the clouds and over the ocean…plus there’s something about the flight meals, I just can’t resist them😂
6. ACTIVITIES|| Indoor 🏡 or Outdoor⛷?
Indoor…homebody in the morning, afternoon and night. If I had a choice, I’ll happily work from home.
7. FOOTWEAR|| Heels 👠 or Flats 👟?
Flats…Excuse me, who heels epp 😏??
8. MUSIC|| Rock n Roll 🎧 or Reggae 🎤?
Reggae. Let’s just say I’m my Father’s daughter😉
9. SHOPPING|| Malls 🏤 or Open Stalls 🗽?
Malls…I love to window shop and people-watch, and I dislike the typical Naija market stress and endless bargains, no strength biko. I don’t mind paying an extra penny for my convenience.
10. SWIMMING|| Pool 🏊 or Beach 🏖?
Beach…all the way, baby. I love the freedom the beach offers and oh, those waves are delicious or something like that.
So I’d have loved to tag a handful of people but I’ll keep it open to everyone who is interested.
Welcome on board guys, I’m so glad we all crossed over to the new year.
I don’t know about y’all, but this new year has been amazing so far. God is good.
So this post is a kinda review for 2017, (and I literally copied and edited the format from here).
It’s gonna be a “longish” read, so fasten your seat belts and LET’S ROLL!
1. What did you do last year that you had never done before?
Huh…Attended a Driving school.
2. Did you keep your new year resolutions and will you make more this year?
From saving in a piggy bank (cashed a little above 14k late November), to publishing MY FEGGO DIARIES, to committing some verses of the scripture to memory, took two creative writing courses, among others.
So I look forward to not only more resolutions, but more goals and growth this year. Amen.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes o. I have two new beautiful nieces.
Ehm…no pics to share, sorry.
4. Did anyone you know die?
I wrote this poem in memory of a family friend who died towards the end of last year:
“It’s a very sad night,
For all the lives you touched
You had a heart of gold,
And gave a smile of hope
Because of what you gave,
Our lives were so enriched
And although you’re no more,
The lives you touched remain.”
5. What new place(s) did you visit last year?
Nnewi, Anambra State….well, it was such an EXPERIENCE (one I won’t be forgetting in a hurry). The culture, the lifestyle, the language, the food…everything was so different.
6. What would you like to have this year that you didn’t last year?
My dream Camera! 📷
Hello Sophia, can’t wait to meet you. 😍😍😍
7. What date in 2017 will remain etched in your memory?
July 13th, 2017. My MDCN induction date.
8. What was your biggest achievement in 2017?
Again, my MDCN induction.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Ehm, Failing out of driving school. 😩
10. Did you suffer any illness or injury?
Yes…a minor RTA leaving behind an annoying scar on my left knee and recurrent tooth pain. I’m thankful I survived though.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Well…can’t think of a specific BEST thing atm.
14. Where did most of your money go?
15. What did you really, really get excited about?
Getting a HOUSEJOB. Whoop!💃💃💃
16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
“You’re the reason why I lift my hands, why I lift my voice, why I sing to you…”
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
2017 was a good year, but this year started on a “lighter” note.
18. Thinner or Fatter?
19. Richer or Poorer?
Richer. Glory to God, I now earn my pay😎
20. What do you wish you had done more of?
Prayed more. Read more. Loved more. Served God more.
21. What do you wish you had done less of?
Most importantly…Worried less.
26. What were your favorite TV Programs in 2017?
Let’s see…TINSEL, BATTLE GROUND and JEMEJI. Thanks to AMShowcase, I watched them back to back.😉
28. What was the best book you read?
FERVENT (Priscilla Shirer), closely followed by UNSTOPPABLE (Christine Caine), I read both twice last year and I look forward to re-reading them.
29. Greatest musical discovery:
Does Nathaniel Bassey’s Wonderful Wonder count?
30. What did you want and get?
Haha…plenty things, a New pair of glasses. Some New clothes. New shoes. New handbags…and a Wig!😉
31. What did you want and not get?
Top on my list, a Driver’s license.😩
32. Best Movie you watched in 2017?
Well…OMUGWO was the most interesting.
33. How did you celebrate your last birthday?
In the THEATRE, pulling some Orthopaedic stunts!
34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
On a scale of 1 to 10, a 6? Tbh, I improved as per my hairdo and make-up💋, even the heavens can testify.😄
35. What kept you sane in 2017?
Music…lots and lots of worship music!
36. Celebrity Figure Crush in 2017:
Nonso Bassey (“Man’s too hot”)🙆
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Quite a number faa. From my FaithRest Fam (Mamma, Dolapo, Ife, Pelumi et al…) to fellow HOs (Comfort, Osas, Ameh et al…)
39. Most Valuable Life Lesson(s) From 2017:
(1) If God says it, he will do it. His PROMISE, His TIMING, His METHOD.
(2) Life takes TIME.
(3) Contentment is the presence of JESUS, not the absence of challenges.
40. Quote a song lyrics that sums up your 2017:
WONDERFUL WONDER (Nathaniel Bassey)
“Everywhere I go
I see You right there
In the beauty of nature
You shine all around,
For You are everything
And everything is You,
Oh wonderful wonder you are.”
That’s ALL folks.
I hope we all can journey into this NEW YEAR with greater Joy, Hope and Peace.
And I’m glad even though it doesn’t really feel like Christmas around me.
While everyone else was busy planning special activities for this Yuletide season, my routines were pretty much the same.
“Sleep, wake up, go to work, sleep, wake up, go to work…”
Everything else from cooking to cleaning get lumped into each day.
I’ve really missed my very organized self. 😢
There are days I don’t even have the time to eat one proper meal. No kidding.
On such days I’m doubly thankful for Coca-Cola.
It’s an essential tool for preventing hypoglycemic shock.😉
So my birthday was a couple of days ago and among other things, I’m thankful for God’s MERCY. He is the reason I’m still STANDING.
The latter part of this year has been trying for me spiritually (erratic with no functional church, dusty bible syndrome et al), but his MERCIES kept me. So the song on replay for my birthday was this:
I won’t even lie, my last few postings have been increasingly hectic. I just switched from Orthopaedic to Neurosurgery, and every other day there’s at least one RTA patient waiting for me in the Emergency ward.
At several points, I almost broke down (Physically and Mentally) and there were days I found myself in tears (I know, “too much water” in my tear glands..haha). In the midst of all that, God has been teaching me some vital lessons for this season which I’d like to share:
1. PRAY MORE, NOT LESS.
This sounds obvious right? if only you know how hard it can get.
Everyday feels like a marathon as I try to race against time (I can still hear my Reg’s voice, “IPR starts by 7:00am”. Yet I’m in the hospital till after 10 p.m. on some days even when I’m not on CALL ) but that’s no excuse not to have a quality time with GOD (my Father): who is the Source and Centre of it all.
From my experience, the less I pray, the more irritable, tired, anxious, distracted and restless I get.
Pray as if your life depends on it, because it does.
I’m learning among other things, to:
– Pray for MYSELF, my COLLEAGUES, other CO-WORKERS and especially my PATIENTS.
– Pray for the WISDOM, COURAGE and STRENGTH to face the challenges that each day brings.
– Pray for the PATIENCE to deal with trying circumstances,irate patients, annoying co-workers and every other kind of evil that the enemy wants to bring my way.
– Pray that I’m a BLESSING to my Team and not a BURDEN to them. I don’t want to be labeled as a Lazy, Undisciplined, or Disorganized Doctor.
*IPR: Intern’s Pre-round.
2. TAKE CARE OF YOU, SO YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF OTHERS.
This is soooo important.
I recall one day, I was so physically exhausted while running some errands, that some nurses around took time to lecture me about the importance of taking proper care of myself.
When all is said and done, there will always be patients. But I’ll only be here for a season.
Wisdom teaches me that to give my best, I have to build stamina. Because I can’t give what I don’t have.
So these days, when I find myself getting worked up, I take a break.
When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m tired, I rest.
A hungry Doctor, is an angry Doctor. A sleepy Doctor, is a snappy Doctor. It’s that simple.
3. CONNECT WITH YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK.
Your Friends and Family are especially important during this Housejob phase.
It’s easy to become so consumed with the work that you don’t have the time to reach out to others.
I know this because I’ve been there.
It’s even more tough when you have a significant other who is not in the same location with you.
So here’s a suggestion that works for me (It’s called the PTCV Principle):
Pray for them always.
Text whenever you miss them.
Callwhen you have the chance.
Visit when there’s the opportunity.
4. DON’T JUST COUNT THE DAYS, MAKE THE DAYS COUNT.
Housejob isn’t beans. I’msure you know that by now.
And if you’re like most people, you just want it to END already. So you can move on with your life.
Before you know what’s happening, the days have turned into weeks, the weeks into months and the year is over.
Of course you don’t want that year to be spent merely seeing patients that are anicteric, acyanotic, afebrile, not pale , well hydrated and without pedal edema. 😅
That’s why you must be INTENTIONAL about everything you do on a daily basis.
I’m often reminded that if I want to make a difference, the time is NOW.
5. LIVE. LOVE. LAUGH. LEARN.
No matter how tough a day is, you can always find time and creative ways to enjoy it. For me that includes:
Reading a good book.
Eating a good meal.
Listening to uplifting music.
Hanging out with friends
Watching a funny movie
And of course connecting with patients and co-workers.
You don’t know how much you have in common with others until you’re willing to have casual conversations with them.
I’ve made a number of acquaintances with people who speak my local dialect, share my first name or birthday, similar beliefs andthe likes.
It’s an AMAZING something!
Again, it’s MERRY Christmas from me to you.
I hope y’all don’t forget the REASON for the celebration- Christ’s BIRTH!
First of all, this post is long over due. I’ve being working on the draft since like forever and even abandoned it at some point, cos no time.
So I have had a crazy few days post-leave. I’m so stressed out that I could use another break! Lol.
I’m just glad I got to publish this, at last!
The post is especially for, but not limited to the Foreign Trained Doctors (FTDs).
My “brothers and sisters” from the diaspora, welcome back to REAL LIFE- Naija Version!
I’m sending you thousands of cyber hugs that will last you through the first few months of your House Job at least.
If you’ve passed through the MDCN hurdles already, you’d have observed that the system is NOT ready to welcome you with open arms. I’m not even kidding…
If you’re one of those patriotic FTDs (I’m not one btw🙄), who returned with high hopes of contributing your skills and expertise to the expansion of Naija’s health sector; I’m sorry to burst your bubble:
Whatever fancy reasons you had for returning to Naija, no one cares.
It is a sad reality.
But for what it’s worth, there are some great moments too. Like having patients discharged after spending days/weeks in the hospital or hearing an uncooperative patient Left Against Medical Advice (LAMA)…lol. I should do a separate post on that.
So once you start your house job, expect to feel intimidated by your seniors. Naija doctors love to move STUFF. Eeesh!!
The million-dollar question that got my fellow interns tongue-tied, like we weren’t expecting it…lol!
It wasn’t a funny scenario but I can laugh it off now.
The “Ogas” at the top love to deliberate on which is the best medical school in Naija, so they keep setting baits for house officers in form of questions, sane or otherwise.
Whether you are foreign trained or locally, you’ll experience this at some point or the other, although the former seem to be more at the receiving end.
Having passed through the initiation process of getting asked the same question multiple times, I have a few tips for upcoming House Officers:
1. OWN your identity.
You’re a MEDICAL DOCTOR, with a CERTIFICATE and a LICENSE.
So wear it like a cape. Be PROUD of it, because it’s who you are.
Embrace it. Love it. Live it.
If you schooled abroad, it was your decision, your money (whether sponsored or not) and your experience. Ditto if you were locally trained.
Even if studying Medicine was a mistake, it was the best mistake of your life.
Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you on it.
2. You have NOTHING to prove.
You heard that right.
There’s NOTHING to prove to anybody.
Not your skills. Not your knowledge. Not your personality.
What you know was enough to get you to this level. And if you build on your knowledge and skills, you can (and will) get better.
Remember, your senior colleagues (Regs, SRs, Consultants) did not get all their medical expertise during their housemanship year.
They earned it with time. Life takes time.
So while there’s always room for improvement, you have NOTHING to prove.
3. Do it with JOY!
When all is said and done, what really matters is the impact you made wherever you find yourself.
So whatever you do, do it with EXCELLENCE. And COURAGE. And JOY.
Give the kind of care you would like to receive.
Put in your very best at all times, even when it’s hard. It’s okay to feel out of place sometimes but don’t let anyone (not even yourself) hold you back.
I’ve asked myself this question a couple of times, and tried to answer it as sincerely as possible:
My answer is YES.
And to add to that, given similar circumstances in the current Naija, I’d still study abroad and maybe the very school I attended. Tenkiu!
❤️❤️❤️ Disclaimer: All images unless otherwise tagged, were obtained from the WEB.
During my undergraduate days, I had a classmate who often requested for my “jotter” a few days to our exams. According to him, I knew how to summarize and simplify my notes in such a way that anyone reading would understand. And I believe he had a point.
The first I heard of a learning model was from a friend, a couple of years back. He enlightened me on the difference between VISUAL and AURAL learners, and encouraged me to apply that to how I studied. Unfortunately, I didn’t give it much attention at that time.
Many years later, I would come across the V.A.R.K model of learning and found it quite enlightening.
In any classroom setting, from elementary level to postgraduate level, students receive, retain and retrieve information in different ways. And I believe medical students especially, would benefit from knowing how the learning models work since there’s so much to cover and so little time.
According to the VARK model, there are four types of learners:
1. VISUAL Learners.
I call them “The Scanners.”
These are the model students, especially in a traditional school setting. They don’t just read to comprehend, but seem to possess the so-called “Photographic Memory” and can reproduce the pages of their lecture notes or textbooks, word for word (sometimes with particular page numbers, no kidding!).
They enjoy studying long and hard, retaining most of the information they come across. They especially do well with Charts, Graphs andother Pictorial aids.
One morning while in medical school, we were having a discussion on the ward, and one of my colleagues was asked a question. When he started talking, it was as though an encyclopedia had been opened inside his brain. He just kept stating all the facts and figures while the rest of us gaped…lol.
Afterwards, our consultant looked at him and smiled, stating that he had a photographic memory and she knew he could actually picture the things he was saying. Needless to say, that colleague of mine was one of the smartest students in medical school.
2. AURAL Learners.
Aural learners are also known as AUDIO learners but I prefer to call them “The Crammers.”
These are the students who simply pay attention during classes (with/without taking notes) and retain most of the information long afterwards. Some simply “Memorize and Recite” (i.e. CRAM) their notes and they are good to go.
Unlike the VISUAL learners, they don’t really need to study for long, although having group discussions are of great benefit. Still, a lot of them do well with last minute studying.
I had a roommate who would memorize several pages of her notes on the morning of an exam, and her results usually came out so well.
Another friend of mine who is now a doctor, said she only needed to attend (and listen well) in class, and without further reading, she would be able to sit for any exam. When I heard that, my respect for her grew by several inches…haha.
If I’m being honest I doze off or day-dream during classes more times than I’d like to admit. Long lectures are like music to my ears, and I often start drifting off before I catch myself.
3. READ & WRITE Learners.
I call them “The Stenographers.”
This kind of learners love to copy everything that is said during a lecture. They afterwards go home to “READ and DIGEST” their notes, often breaking the notes into simpler and condensed versions to understand them better.
Such learners also appreciate Highlights, Mnemonics, Power Points and Summaries. Their goal is to be able to comprehend the material in its simplest form.
I happen to belong to this category of learners. I’m a COPIER by default and the only way I remember things (from class and especially in church) is by taking down notes. Even when there’s nothing to write, I doodle in my notebook, else my mind wanders off.
I remember one time a lecturer gave an impromptu test, immediately after his lecture, and I barely passed though I was sitting right there in the class. The reason was simple, I did not have enough time to “process” the information he had given before the test. In such scenarios, I rely more on residual knowledge.
For me, reading, then writing down notes, enhances comprehension. And if I’m reading something I don’t understand, I try to look it up, otherwise, I skip it.
4. KINESTHETIC Learners
I call them “The Demonstrators.”
When it comes to learning, they are more practical than theoretically-inclined. These are the so-called Hands-on-Students.
In medical school they find most lectures boring, but rush off to dissect every cadaver that comes into the anatomy lab. When they start their clerkships, they can’t wait to examine every patient, set lines and insert urinary catheters. Ask them to state the differentials for a neck swelling and they draw a blank, but ask them to scrub in for a Thyroidectomy and they jump right in!
What about HYBRIDS?
I believe most students learn by a combination of two or more of the learning models.
Personally, I learn the most by Association i.e. connecting multiple dots together. So it’s a little bit of what I see, what I hear and most of what I read. I’m not much of a hands-on-learner though. And it usually takes me twice the time my contemporaries take to learn a skill, whether it’s cooking Jollofrice or inserting a Urinary catheter! 😂
Do you know what learning model (or combination) you use the most?