|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 121-124
Of medical curricula and gen-next physicians
Yatish Agarwal1, Bipin Batra2
1 Editor-in-Chief, Astrocyte; and Professor of Radiology at New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital and Vardhman Mahavir Medical College
2 Executive Director, National Board of Examinations; and Executive Editor, Astrocyte
|Date of Web Publication||27-Feb-2017|
Prof. Yatish Agarwal
Editor-in-Chief, Astrocyte; and Professor of Radiology at New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital and Vardhman Mahavir Medical College
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Agarwal Y, Batra B. Of medical curricula and gen-next physicians. Astrocyte 2016;3:121-4
While walking through the outpatients' clinic, a medical ward, corridor or a public space in a hospital, often times you get to hear people's voices. Of what they feel of the hospital management, of their expectations of the doctors, nurses and paramedics, of what ails the healthcare system, or, equally, not of the dark shadows that assail them, but of the morning hue filled with the sunshine of cheering optimism, inspiration and encouragement – of people saying how hard the doctors work, how they battle against all odds, and more heart-warming yarns of selfless devotion. These harmless conversations, call it “small talk” if you will, is often topped with keen observation, robust common sense, genuine grievances, and wise messages of where the healthcare system is going wrong and what could be done to straighten things.
Listening to and learning out of such honest feedbacks should ideally be a critical part of any hospital management's strategy – as a part of self audit, finding solutions to the felt needs of people, and evolving newer paradigms in a service industry which is so closely and so inextricably interwoven with human emotion and well being.
While walking down the hospital corridors, if you listen attentively to people's voices, you can hear several wise messages of where the healthcare system is going wrong and what may be done to straighten things.
Being mindful of the p's and q's
Despite an ecosystem driven at one end with high-strung emotions of people facing pain, misery and death, and on the other, the breakneck schedules doctors must keep, especially in their early years, the curricula of medical schools, strangely still, holds no brief about teaching medical students on how to talk to patients and their families. Just as much, few medical teachers, if any, pay attention to teaching their wards the etiquette becoming of a doctor. In fact, many senior physicians, act as very poor role models. Groomed in this negative environment, few among the gen-next physicians find themselves suitably equipped to meet up with the expectations and scrutiny of the present day society.
Caressing the p's and q's, being good and tolerant, being gentle, feeling the burden and pain of others, is a basic virtue all men must possess, but particularly, if you wish to don the spirit of the forefathers – who, by virtue of their deeds and actions, compelled other men to place them on the high pedestal of divinity. Where physicians were thought of as only next to the Good Lord!
Every man knows that his words are as powerful as his actions. A real man must respect himself and others at all times. Set the right tone and example. Being a physician, learn to couch yourself well, always preferring a formal idiom over the street lingo. Being crass, letting go of civility, being rude, dismissive, or losing your cool – whatever be the provocation – shall never do a physician any good. It makes you lose your worth in the people's eye, and worse still, the dignity of the profession suffers.
Like the celebrated 19th century Swiss moral philosopher, poet, and critic Henri Frédéric Amiel wrote: 
”To me, the ideal doctor would be a man endowed with profound knowledge of life and of the soul, intuitively divining any suffering or disorder of whatever kind, and restoring peace by his mere presence.”
Let us all strive to drive towards this goal.
Being crass, letting go of civility, being rude, dismissive, or losing your cool — whatever be the provocation — never does a physician any good. It makes you lose your worth in the people's eye, and worse still, the dignity of the profession also takes a nosedive.
A real man is focused
We're all distracted, and the distractions keep piling up. It is easy to lose focus and find ourselves investing in things that do not really help us keep focus.
Of the many present day distractions, the most potent is a cellular phone. This all powerful, omnipotent instrument must be kept at an arm's length while we are in midst of a doctor-patient discourse. A message bleep, a whatsapp buzz, a constantly ringing phone, can severe the thread of a conversation, whatever its seriousness, and exaggerate the pain, misery, stress and disgruntlement of a patient and his family.
Knowing and abiding by the etiquette of how to handle a cellular phone must therefore become a critical part of clinical training and bedside manners. If you're faced with a catch 22 situation, say, for instance, while talking to the family of a critically ill patient, you receive an emergency bleep on the phone, be polite to the people in attendance, explain them the emergency, and most men may not mind if you have to slip by for a greater cause.
The apparel oft proclaims the man
Nearly 200 years ago, the great American philosopher and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau  had stated: “It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.” This thought still rings true. In the modern social order, men are still measured on their style. One of the first things that people notice about you is your appearance, the attention you pay to hygiene, and the attire you wear.
There's plenty of different ways a man can dress well; it doesn't necessarily have to mean a suit and tie. Being clean, organized, and wearing a dignified look is a fundamental characteristic demonstrative of a man's pride. However, it's been an increasing trend to see medical students, interns, residents and fellows wear out-of-shape soiled jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and sandals to work. Or young female doctors wear heavy make-up, sequin mini dresses, and see-through blouses. Looking more like fashion divas rather than Florence Nightingales!
Being at the top of social hierarchy, if not the power seat, we physicians must maintain a decorum so that people can continue to hold us in esteem and the dignity of the profession is preserved. Dishevelled, long hair, crumply clothes, and ill-gotten tongue should be nobody's choice. Unless, of course, you wish to be derided as in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, act 1, scene 3:
What are these,
So withered, and so wild in their attire,
That look not like th'inhabitants o'th' earth,
And yet are on't?
Being at the top of the social hierarchy, if not the power seat, we physicians must maintain a decorum so that people can continue to hold us in esteem and the dignity of the profession is preserved.
| References|| |
Henri-Frederic Amiel. Amiel's Journal: The Journal Intime of Henri-Frederic Amiel (22 Aug 1873), translated by Mrs Humphry Ward. New York: A.L. Burt Publishers, 1889. Vol 2, P153.
Henry David Thoreau. Wladen, or Life in the Woods. New York: Cosmo Classics, 2009. P
William Shakespeare. Macbeth, in Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. p2.