Hera – The Other Side

[important]TW – Hospital, Sickness[/important]

This may seem a little sick but…I think I’m actually glad in a way that I had had my hospital admission.

Yeah so I was deathly ill. Couldn’t move, function and all that. But it doesn’t mean that I forget or don’t take note of what’s happening around me. My mind is alert even in sepsis.

Being admitted in hospital gave me the confidence to deal with hospital staff in the ward environment. It made me a lot more confident in getting my skills achieved and assertive in my learning. I was no longer uncomfortable to poke my head into people’s business on the wards because it was pretty much like my second home! I also learnt that the people patients spend the most amount of time with and are the most grateful to are the nurses.

The nurses and nursing assistants are there ALL THE TIME. They are there when a patient first falls into an arrest, plummets into pain, gets constipated or needs help getting to the loo. They are the ones who come rushing if anything goes wrong. The doctors pop in and out with their cameos and their over-gratified egos. Yes, we have the power to prescribe and treat. It doesn’t make us any more godlier than others. If anything, it makes us even more, um, twat-ish? Is that even a word? Well it is now!

Doctors know a lot. But we don’t use it and our patients sure as hell never get to see it or understand just how much of it took effort to get into our heads. They will never realise it’s ideally and ultimately for their benefit. But then you get the jackass doctors who do it for the prestige, professionalism and ambition as opposed to the ever-familiar cliche of ‘wanting to help people’. Nurses know what is necessary. They know things are run. We could tell you all you needed to know about a particular disease. But unless you’re the person devising their care, do you think the patient fully appreciates all that textbook knowledge to the T? They’d also expect you to have the right people skills, which a LOT of doctors lack.

The point I want to make is that during my hospital admission, I learnt that doctors are pretty much arses. And also the unsung heroes. Nurses are amazing. And sometimes, their help only goes so far. No one is better than the other really. And yet a hierarchy exists. All because of the complexity of the training. One takes longer than the other. The nurses in this country though are truly something. Their approach to care is truly humanistic and heartwarming. If countries all the world could take a leaf out their books for this, the level of healthcare would improve by so much.

As a budding doctor, I learnt that when I actually say ‘aww, I’m so sorry’, I better damn well mean it. Because if you lie and say it for the sake of the patient’s benefit, well lets just say that patient’s aren’t THAT stupid. They can see right through your polite smile, the uncaring laugh that doesn’t quite reach your eyes, the eagerness to be done with them so you can move onto other patients on your list.

I must admit, the elements of being a junior doctor make those bits hard to work on. But I think it’s important to be aware of the perceptions of our patients and find ways to serve em better and work around them the best we can. We can’t devote all our energy towards it but you’d be surprised at what you can do with just a little more feeling and sincerity in what you do. We meet patients in different bits of their journey and having that understanding as to where they are at the point  you meet em, is so essential.

It just takes the care so far by miles.


  1. Pen says

    Yeah… Ideally, a doctor’s training would include a stint of being a nurse, being a patient, and being that person who’s sitting there hearing some very bad news (terrible as it is to wish that on anyone). But it can’t. I suppose we usually have to make do with imagination.

    I hope this was in the past and you’re all well now…

  2. smrnda says

    I’ve had hit or miss experiences with doctors, which makes me realize that the demand for doctors is just so high that people who are probably not cut out for it will end up in the profession.

    All said, nursing is incredibly demanding and doesn’t seem to pay what it should given the sheer amount of effort.

    Something I wonder – given the hours and stresses, it seems many health professionals probably don’t have time to take care of their own health.

    Of note, I’ve had some rather difficult psychiatric hospitalizations where I had to have been an absolute terror to everyone there. Looking back, I had to commend everyone for the help I got.

  3. Stella says


    I’m glad you are over the sepsis and the fear and the suffering.

    What you learned while being a critically ill patient can be of help in forming you as a doctor and as a person. Spread it around to your colleagues.

    I hope you are fully recovered now and are feeling as well and as strong as you ought to.


  4. opposablethumbs says

    Glad that you are well again (or at least, well on the way to being fully well). And you’re right, of course – experiencing hospital from the other side of the bed (um … the other side of the sheets?) gives you an invaluable insight for your work and that of your colleagues.

    I’m very sorry you went through this, and I hope it feels better knowing that – as you pointed out – there could be a kind of silver lining in it for future patients!

  5. says

    Hope you are feeling better, Hera.

    Nurses are awesome. While I was on rotations, I was truly impressed by the work they do. My school’s incorporated communication skills and patient counseling as part of the curriculum, because interaction with patients/customer service is part of the job for most pharmacists, since most work in stores/retail/community pharmacies. It’s important to built up trust with the patient and demonstrate empathy, because that can lead to better healthcare. Also, it’s just the nice thing to do. :)

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