The October issue of the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) published an article, ‘Going the extra mile: Supervisors’ perspective on what makes a ‘good’ intern (De Villiers, Van Heerden, Van Schalkwyk). The paper assesses the opinions of supervisors on interns’ practice readiness, which differs from most research on the subject, which has predominantly researched the interns’ own perception of their preparation.
The study reported on the results of interviewing 27 intern supervisors – a small, but diverse group of consultants, registrars, and medical officers.
What stood out for me was that the interviewees displayed a keen awareness of the challenges faced by interns. They recognise three areas of particular difficulty: transition from student to doctor, adjusting to a new environment, and long/hard working hours. Continue reading “The “Good” Intern”
If you’ve been reading South African news, you’ll know that at least 300 interns and community service doctors stand to be unemployed next year, due to a lack of funded posts at accredited institutions.
Perhaps you read about our inhumane working hours last year.
Perhaps you have read about the overflowing hospitals where patients pile up in the corridors.
These are not new problems, we just hear about them more because doctors and patients have phones with cameras, and social media accounts.
Continue reading “Are We Secretly Our Own Worst Enemies?”
Breaking this unintentional hiatus to tell you (read: shout from the rooftops) that I have watched Doc-u-mentally and
Continue reading “DOC-U-MENTALLY: The Film [Review]”
If you’ve been paying attention, working hours of doctors (especially junior doctors) have been getting some good airtime over the past few months. The Province of the Western Cape has committed to actively reducing maximum continuous working hours for doctors to twenty-four, the HPCSA has promised to “look into it” (not that we have too much confidence there), and our biggest representative, SAMA (South African Medical Association) has come out in our support.
One of the things to come from all this is the launching of an armband campaign. This has its origins, I believe, from a similar campaign in the UK – although I have not been able to find any source to this link.
Continue reading “The Safe Working Hours Wristband Campaign is Missing the Point – Here’s Why”
You might remember that we lost an intern colleague in South Africa a while ago, when she was in a fatal car accident after a long overnight shift. It was a big accident involving other vehicles, with at least two other people requiring ICU care.
One of them recently succumbed to her injuries, and the victim’s family members have made it known that they intend to sue* the Department of Health.
Most of my colleagues seem very happy with this. The government must be held responsible for the consequences of working their young doctors to exhaustion.
But part of me feels so very embittered. For years now we have asked nicely, and loudly, that our hours be addressed. Continue reading “Too Little, Too Late?”
I started working on this post two days ago. Since then, I have received news of a colleague who died in an accident while driving post-call. She went to my alma mater and graduated last year, and though I did not know her personally, my heart breaks. A country with a shortage of doctors has lost a young doctor who was just starting in her career. She was well-loved, and we will all feel her absence.
* * * Continue reading “My Evolving Opinions About Doctors’ Working Hours”