Problems Faced by Young Doctors and What We Can Do About Them

young doctors_

(Ashkan Forouzani, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Iqra Nawaz Abbasi, a second year student of MBBS at Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur, Pakistan. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Today, more than ever, our world’s deteriorating health rests on the robust shoulders of the young healthcare workers. The young today hold the helm, presenting their avant-garde approach to medicine and offering their unfaltering energy and enthusiasm to the mankind. This spirit, however, is met with ominous working conditions and demanding circumstances. Three decades of arduous effort, cooped up in the pages of colossal books, keeping up with crumbling mental health and passing through the storms of exam anxiety and stress with overly caffeinated body, only to realize how despondent work environment has become for the new crop of health workers today.

The work ethic offered by these young doctors is exploited by those higher in ranks thrusting their responsibilities and tasks onto them, thereby increasing the workload. This increased workload jeopardizes their health and ultimately patient care. The growing percentage of patients puts up increasing demands of healthcare, which further contributes in increasing the workload. This buildup affects the time and attention a doctor can give to a particular task, leading to more chances of error. This also gives rise to physical and mental exhaustion leading to burnout and a high turnover.

This heavy workload can be combated by recruiting more young doctors and dividing the tasks among them, provided that they are paid wholly and given all opportunities and rights. Since insufficient salaries is yet another problem faced by them. Having performed duties for long hours their salaries are often delayed for months, creating more frustration. As they perform duties with the same dedication and effort as their seniors, or maybe even more so, it is only fair that they should be paid at least the same amount.

An absence of sense of security and safety is a major threat to the young health workforce. Working in an unsafe environment, where those in power can easily threat, mob and exploit young doctors new to the field, having no higher up connections. Further they have to tackle lawsuits about the unavailability of beds, being short staffed and about absence of equipment, things that they have no control over. This is aggravated by the electronic and print media, highlighting it as ignorance and ineptitude of the doctor.

As of right now, we are far from providing ideal working conditions to our young doctors. Some of which include providing them with adequate pay, and reducing their workload and creating policies to ensure their safety and that of their job. We need these young doctors to drive our healthcare system towards a better set up. We need their passion and commitment to keep the mankind in good health. We need their spirit to keep the earth breathing. I wish to see a future where we can care for our young health workers as they have been caring for us and I hope that it is not far away.

About the author

Iqra Nawaz Abbasi is a second year student of MBBS at Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur, Pakistan. She tried her hand at writing at the age of 12 and since then the passion for it has never dimmed. She has been a part of the Dawn Newspaper for 7 years now, sharing both her prose and poetry with them. She participated in the HRCA creative writing competition and won Bronze in Commonwealth essay writing competition. She has submitted her works to many other international magazines.

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