As the parent of an insider who has just started training, I have observed the opinions of various parties regarding the current treatment or working conditions of insiders.

Among the opinions are that medical graduates are pushed into this field either by parental influence, peer pressure, or future financial gain.

Some also say that part of the training is to make future doctors resilient in the face of pressure when managing patients. Others say that today’s insiders are strawberries who can’t stand the pressure.

All of the above is true to some extent.

In medical school, medical students are often reminded of the long hours and sacrifices that must be made, especially during festivals, in order to provide optimal treatment for patients. They are exposed to on-call duty outside office hours during their last year of training.

However, when they finish their medical training, why are they still not used to the system?

I would like to share the first hand experience of my child who is currently a house officer in training at a public hospital in Selangor.

All in-house agents are required to go through a two-week tagging where they must work from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. During these two weeks, they entrust tasks to be carried out under the supervision of medical advisors.

The eldest will sign them after two weeks if their job performance is satisfactory. After tagging, they will work shifts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (morning) or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. (night).

As they are fresh out of school, they may be slow to complete their tasks. Nobody cares if they have time to go to the bathroom or have a quick meal (lunch/dinner) while they are working. It is normal that internal agents do not have time for lunch and dinner before their departure at 11 p.m.

My child went through this for the entire two weeks of tagging and lost 8kg during that time. It’s physical exhaustion, not to mention that their sleep duration is also very short.

They must arrive at the hospital at 6 a.m. at the earliest, in order to have parking even if they start work at 7 a.m. Whether or not they are harassed in service, they are already exhausted.

Senior Medics (Senior Officers or Medics) order Junior Medics to do them a favor, whether it be personal or patient-related care. Beginners dare not say no because they know they will need the help of their elders.

When these favors are not done correctly (without proper instructions from seniors), newbies are publicly reprimanded. No one recognizes that this is not really beginners’ work.

Despite apologizing, the newbie was once again shamed in the WhatsApp group. If the beginner is mentally weak, with physical exhaustion and mental abuse; it is not surprising that tragedy can occur with impulsive action.

The eldest, who was supposed to sign the off-label for the two-week tagging, seemed elusive and didn’t bother to do so. If the beginner is inefficient and needs further training, he should say so and not be elusive.

Why did this happen? Didn’t the old people go through the marking and figure out what to do? Is it to show that he has power over the beginner or that he had the same experience that the beginner should also undergo?

Have medical schools failed to train medical students? Have they learned to respect their elders, their peers and their patients? A lot of work can be done on how to treat patients holistically and on patient centered management, but should they be taught how to treat their juniors?

Or did they observe what happened among the seniors and follow suit? Do all internal agents have to go through serious physical and mental challenges before they can become good doctors in the future?

Can the team members within the room check if newbies have time for a quick meal and cover them for a short time or bring them something so they can grab a quick bite in the room ?

I think these are basic human needs. I am ashamed that newbies are deprived of meals while working in public hospitals.

As a parent, I can’t do anything with the hospital or the Ministry of Health, but I tried to listen and motivate my child as much as possible. Parents should not dismiss them and tell them that this is normal.

We should be there to listen to them. I told my child to learn from his mistakes and never inflict his experience on juniors in the future.

I am not going to comment on what the Ministry of Health, the Malaysian Medical Association or the medical schools should do.

I’m sure a lot of work is going on right now. We look forward to receiving guidelines on the prevention of physical and mental abuse in health care settings, especially for internal staff who are starting their careers in medicine.

The author is the parent of a household officer currently in training. CodeBlue publishes this article anonymously because the author is afraid of the repercussions on his son.

  • This is the personal opinion of the author or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Code blue.