Being A Doctor

7:47 PM

A few weeks back, there was a big 'hu-ha' about top scorers in Malaysia unable to get into undergraduate programs of their choice, mainly Medicine. Politicians utilized this issue the best they can to show that they care. Most of the time, its the parents who are over concerned. In most people's mind, being a doctor is the noblest and best profession around. You can get rich, get respected and all good things. This may be true five decades ago but nowadays, it is far from the truth. Yes, you can get achieve that but it is a long and torturous road.

To all the hopeful potential undergrads out there, if you want to get into Medicine, please make sure you are very interested. Your motivation is your interest. Without it you will fail. DO NOT get into medicine just because your parents want you to. The public tend to think that doctors get paid a lot, and doctors in government hospitals are government SERVANTS. And treat you like servants (I'll blabber about this in my future posts).

The salary for a houseman is roughly RM 3600 per month (Gaji Bersih). Quite alot. But lets go through it thoroughly. A typical houseman day (pre shifts, 2010-2011) starts at 6 am (latest by 7 am) and typically last until 5 to 6 pm. That's around 10 hours a day. Some people may say "It's 9 hours la if you minus lunch hour!" . Lunch break is not a right, it's a privilege. We had lunch on the go. In one month we can only get between 1 to 2 weekends off (public holidays are not automatic off). Non on call HOs usually work half day but the 'Half day" can be until 4 pm, depending on workload and when the specialist does rounds. Lets calculate:

10 hours x 5 days x 4 weeks = 200 hours
6 hours (assuming 7am - 1pm on weekends) x 4 days (assuming 2 weekend off) = 24 hours

Total of 224 hours per month
Thus, RM3600/224 hours =  RM 16.07 per hour.

This is what was paid on a very good month. Trust me, working for 224 hours per month was already very good. During the HO oncall days, we get paid RM 100 for after office hours work. 5pm to 7am the next morning and continue till 5 pm the next day (like any other working day). So, that's an additional RM 14 per hour.

See people we are NOT RICH. We worked like mad. However, I am not complaining. I enjoyed my HO days. It was a valuable experience. It teaches you a lot. What was taught in medical school might not be the same. Experience and hardships will guide you in medicine.

That's just the salary aspect. Being a doctor is a risky job. You are exposed to all sorts of illnesses. I had numerous colleagues who develop PTB while at work. Not to mention the exposures to HIV, Hepatitis C and B and all the viruses in the world. An addition to all these illnesses relatives and patients are getting worse. Not in terms of illness but their attitude towards you and your staff. They will scream at you, shout vulgarities and attempt to assault you. There was one case of a relative of a patient who made a police report because a doctor had to poke her mother twice to take blood.

This post is not to discourage kids from being a doctor. I am telling the facts. I will continue share what I have been trough from the medical student days and from a medical officer point of view. I hope readers can share this story and maybe share their points of view in the comments as well.

Why am I MO Frust?
Read on....

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  1. its an overglorified profession.. sebotol FBC is RM3 and they make noise if they have to wait 2 hrs for a result after paying rm1 consultation fee.sigh.. from a dengue prone area, day 4 fever. while we juggle ptns from green/yellow/redzones.. but there are the good days too i suppose..

    yea about the 16bucks per hr, if i worked at chillis and pulled overtime+tips i'd be getting that amount too. minus the medicolegal lawsuits and endless studying!! and more off days!! hehee!

    either way am gonna send my kids to more career fairs, encourage arts as well as sciences for subjects! ;)

  2. loved your post. I was one of those whose parents wanted me to do Medicine. Did it, graduated and didn't like it one bit. Decided that i'll be bad doctor, so i resign and now venturing into Nutrition. I wish many more doctors wannabe read your blog :)

    1. wish I could do the same.but im stuck with the bond!

    2. Oh well, take it as blessing in disguise. Do keep on writing, i love reading your blog as some of the issues are very real which public and non-medical person would not understand.

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  4. i quit after 4.5 years of service..tried hospital,KKs,admin n private...tired of all the bullshit and attitude of some of the patient, MOH and some of more senior in aviation and loving it...

    1. Hi gassss, aviation as in being a pilot? thats is sooo to hear about it

    2. yup =)...more than welcome to add me on my FB =)

    3. that is so cool! i've heard some ventured into psychology, some work with drug company but never aviation. Good for you.

    4. hi gassss, its really nice to hear that u r comfortable and enjoy doing what u love the most. would love to hear more.

    5. wow!! write something and let us have a read.

  5. im a bit curious how much the goverment is paying the medical officer? what is the monthly salary of the doctor?

    1. hi penyatarahman. I don't think it is appropriate for me to disclose the exact amount. Our pay scheme is similar to any other government servant. We start off with UD41 and so on. JUSA C will get almost RM 20K. Normal officers like me get between RM 3000 - 5000. Its enough to live comfortably but there's room for improvement

  6. i am a HO, yes nowadays we dont do oncalls anymore, we do shift system. and everyone is saying that we have much more luxury. heh. you stated in your article that you work 224 hours a month when you are a HO. best gilaaaa (jeles).. now with the shift system, we have to work MINIMUM 65hours/week. thats 260 hours/ month. and u see, our gaji bersih is rm2779.98 (not rm3600) jeng jeng jeng... its RM10.69/ hour..yes its a sad story.

    1. Hi akusyazz. How are HOs nowadays?are you sure your gaji bersih is RM2779.98? In 2010 it was RM 36XX or are you referring to gaji POKOK. My gaji POKOK was RM 24XX. If you are getting that much do check with your Hospital admin. They might have deducted too much for tax or KWSP.

      The example I gave was not inclusive of time for oncalls. If you add oncall of 8 - 10 times per month, at least 2 of them on weekends. That's an additional 100 hours (9 hours x 8 + 14 hours x 2). Sooo....324 hours is quite tiresome.

      Its cool though. Both has its pros and cons ;)

  7. in shift system, they are expected to work everyday according to different working hours, no weekend off, pity them,,

  8. 1. Its frust when our monthly house allowances just RM 250 per month!
    2. Its sad when knowing that me and many of my friends even havent buy house yet! Yes were doctors but no house yet. All the scheme made by goverment are for those low incomers, but for us after minus all the compulsary expenses, berapa je yang tinggal?
    3. Its sad when you are requested to report/transfer to a new place and you are originated from a different place, after being told that the quarters are full, you are expected to find new houses/home on your own without assistance.
    4. Its sad that most of the time the admin people in the hospital are too busy body/ or too calculative with us-doctors
    5. Its sad to see some of the supporting staff are too brave to ignore doctors orders! eg tolong hantar blood nie, sy seorang aje oncall malam nie. They answer back doctor hantar laa sendiri, hantar blood bukan kerja saya/ sy nak rehat/ carilaa ppk/ gaji doktor kan lebih lagi, hantar sendirilaa--> its happen to me.
    Kalaulaa xada houseofficer, memang x jalan hospital KKM.

    Its well understood that HO is the training time for doctor to develop ourselves and I strongly belief there are lots of us are doing our best to run the hospital despite all the difficulties that we face/ pts attitude / extension threats by seniors. Yes there are some doctor yang MIA, selfish, cheating..but the numbers are much too less as compared to the one yang besungguh2 buat kerja. --> Nila tumpah, habis susu sebelanga! Haha...


  9. We are Owner and Operator a General Practice (GP) Clinic in Bandar Sungai Long, Bangi and Putrajaya (Presint Diplomatik - Klinik Pakar KASIH).

    We are looking for a dedicated Medical Officer Requirements at Bandar Sungai Long Clinic:-
    Lady doctor
    MBBS or equivalent from a recognized institution approved by Ministry of Health Malaysia
    Possess valid Annual Practicing Certificate
    Registered with Malaysia Medical Council
    Minimum 2 years working experience in Obstetric & Gynecology
    Attended an Obstetric Life Saving Skill
    Attended A Neonatal Resuscitation Program
    Working hours negotiable with minimum on-call
    Very attractive salary RM7,000 (starting)
    Kindly please send to recommend CV to:

    Clinic information:-

    NO. 12 JALAN SL 1/13
    43000 KAJANG
    TEL / FAX: 03-90114833

    Ir. Aznial Rahmat
    KASIH Group
    012 312 9264

  10. Salam doctor, i want to study mrcp to be a specialist. Can i know salary of pvt hospital specialist/consultant. I hope to earn RM 30k-40k by age 35-40 so i can retire early by 50. Harap tuan doktor boleh beri pencerahan. Terima kasih

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