Aida Zabidi
Sometimes I think we doctors continue working in the government because it keeps you grounded. 

You see patients who need you, not those who can afford your services. You see those from all walks of life, from the scared old lady who has no idea why she’s ended up in hospital, to the poor uncared-for gentleman whose children have abandoned him, to those individuals who feel entitled to certain services because of their class and rank. You really do see it all. 

You learn that patients are the same, regardless of who they are, or what they earn – all blood, muscle and tissue underneath our different skins. They’re the same uncertain individuals underneath that bluster, but it’s the way they deal with their illnesses that makes all the difference. 

There are times when working in the government sector is tough and disillusioning. There are times where you feel like you want to just see patients, but being a doctor is more than just patients, and as the administration work piles up, it is easy to become jaded with the system – until you remember your patients. It’s them that keep you there, like a life line that reminds you every day why you do what you do. 

Sometimes it feels like you haven’t done enough, or you cannot do enough, and there are days where you despair because humanity is much too harsh at times, and we have all had those moments where we’ve all become a bit too involved with our patients, only to realize we have to slowly pull ourselves back and find that balance between our professional selves and ourselves. 

You see your patients, day in, day out, and cross your fingers that you don’t burn out. It is the core challenge that lies with most clinicians these days.

The government system has its pros and cons, but what I would love most is a greater flexibility at work. A system of shared hours for those who wish to balance a personal and professional life, and a public/private clinic division – an incentive that I’m certain would help retain the number of specialists, and give them the opportunity to focus on their areas of interest.

It’s a pipe dream, but all dreams start from somewhere. In the meantime, I still look forward to work, and hope that every day I’m doing a little bit of good for the world.
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