What's In Store For Housemen?

9:41 AM

"Tengok Kakak tu, jaga kaunter je kerja dia. Adik kena belajar baik - baik. Belajar tinggi - tinggi. Takde la kerja macam kakak ni tau. Kena ada degree."

A medical graduate overheard a customer telling this to her daughter at a book store. Little did that customer know, the cashier she was pointing her finger to IS a graduate. 

Top of her class.
Five grueling years of studies. 
Blood, sweat and tears to pass (with the support of the whole family).

I just met a few fresh graduates recently at IMARET's Volunteer Induction Program. They have been waiting for a placement for housemanship for a few months now. The fresh grads I met with, graduated 4 months ago, but they have colleagues and seniors who have waited for more than a year. One of them relayed the above incident to me.

There is NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED of wanting to do some part time work while waiting for a placement. Its the public's mentality that needs to change. At least, she's taking matters into her own hands. Empowering herself to be independent instead of staying at home and whine.

One of the fresh graduates whom I met, took upon himself to work as a research assistant at a local university. Eventually, he was hired part time to train students on how to use a manikin. The mainikin is used to teach students on Advanced Life Support. He asked for my advice on what to do while waiting for housemanship.

During my time (uuuhhhh...that phrase!), my seniors used to advice me to do this ONE thing;


"Enjoy life while you still can. Once you're a HO, habis la"

We barely had any time to take a break. Less than a month after graduating, we were already called up to report for duty. How things have changed.



Advising him to enjoy himself while he still can is very inappropriate in light of current developments. I've heard other fresh medical graduates having a worse fate. They have waited for more than a year for a placement. And now, with the recent budget announcement, housemanship posts will be based on a CONTRACT basis. How this will pan out in the future is anybody's guess. This may be just a short term stop gap measure. It is now even more apparent, 

THERE IS NO GUARANTEED EMPLOYMENT FOR MEDICAL GRADUATES



What I can suggest fresh medical graduates to do is to enrich yourself with soft skills and other non-medical related experiences. 

Learn a thing or two about investing. This will help you manage your money once you get the first paycheck.

Join volunteering events such as soup kitchens and free medical clinics for the poor and unfortunate. This will help you understand the suffering of those that are not so well off. Empathize with them. Find ways to help them with whatever skill sets you have. Try and form networks too, you will never know when your contacts will be of help in the future.

Read books. May I suggest the DIAgnosis series (especially Diagnosis Apokalips. Ehem, ehem). Another good read is Gifted Hands and Think Big by Ben Carson. This will help you boost your morale.




Frankly speaking, I have no idea how things will be like in the future. It will be a really tough situation. In the future, it may not be enough to JUST GRADUATE with a medical degree. Medical graduates will have to compete to be a Houseman. 

I piece of advice I can give to potential housemen is this. It does not matter how may distinction you got during your student days. It does not matter which university you graduated from. From my experience, there are some so called excellent students who excelled in their studies but FAILED MISERABLY at being a good doctor. The key to becoming a good doctor is ATTITUDE.

Knowledge can be taught. 
Skills can be acquired.
Attitude determines your success.

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