What are we actually working for?


(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Orestis Germanos, a 20 years old, 1st year medical student from the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, Cyprus. He 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.

COVID-19 is officially one of them, one of the pandemics. The workload, stress and exhaustion of the healthcare workforce is excessively elevated. For what? To keep us, the public, healthy, and live our lives, without any risks. But imagine, this is an everyday struggle for the young medical workers, for the medical trainees.

The young healthcare workforce can be characterized as the “dogs” of the professionals. We have difficulty balancing work and life. Our careers are tectonic for each and one of us, but we need always a little time for ourselves. This is impossible, since in order to be “good” in our field, we need to be 100% focused on our goal, being the best. Moreover, dealing with time pressure and fear about making a mistake are the most significant challenges for a young health provider. Being organized, and being on top of your game all the time is a must for surviving your “youth” career. Since, we are not experienced enough, we are not in complete control of what we do, as a result, the fear of the unknown never goes away.

The one and only reason we have chosen this field is to help, in every way we can, our families, our friends, our fellow humans. That is why we often are victims of exploitation; we just have in thought the health of others and not ours. Trying to develop the clinical skills needed for specialty, we end up in a position of confrontation, where we need to be sure for ourselves, to treat our patients right. In addition, medical workers have also the assignment of “paperwork”. But, since this duty is one of the “easy” ones, it is always cited to one the “young” in the job. This specific task of the job is equally important as all the other tasks, but having to deal with only one task every day, without learning something new; will influence not only our mental health but also the knowledge we bear.

We are used to this routine, burning out, not to have time for a proper meal or sleep. “Decent working conditions” is not in our language, since the quality of the working conditions is decided by us and no one else. How far are we willing to go? How many hours of sleep are we comfortable with? How good we want to be? We ask ourselves these questions and automatically we do not think of any stress, any difficulty nor any other problem each and one of us face.

Medical professionals have this common characteristic, not giving up in their lives and trying to be the best in their field. This is the cause of absence, for any solutions, in all these challenges the young health workforce faces every day.

About the author

Orestis Germanos is a 20 years old, 1 st year medical student from the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, Cyprus. He was born in Limassol, Cyprus, but now lives in Nicosia, where he studies. After high school, he completed a year in the army, since its mandatory in his country, Cyprus. His National Member Organization is called CyMSA which is a full member of IFMSA. His long-term goal, in the education sector, is to be a surgeon. His short-term goal, is to contribute in all the ways he can for the development of public health.

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