Hospital food chain

House officers are quite literally on the bottom of the hospital food chain.

There are at the consultants and head of departments, the gods of medicine whose mere presence makes everyone scuttle. Pray they won’t ask you questions during ward rounds.

Then there are the specialists who supervise the show in the ward. The ones who make important life or death decisions, the tough clinical judgements.

Then there are the registrars whom we look up to, who are training to become the next generation of specialists, those that the MO’s turn to for guidance.

Then there are the MO’s, those that actually run the show, those that we depend on for our daily instructions.

Then there are the staff nurses, without whom the ward will totally come to a standstill. They are the ones who actually administer medicines, who nurse the patients back to health, who provide tender care to the sick people in need of human touch.

Then there are the JM (jururawat masyarakat) whose job scope I’m still trying to figure out. lol. They help take vital sign measurements, collect blood products, escort patients if needed.

There are the PPK (pembantu perawatan kesihatan) who are vital to ensure smooth running of the wards. They deliver food, send whatever documents need to be sent, collect whatever stuff needs to be collected. They are basically the messengers of the hospital.

And don’t forget the radiographers, the technicians, the cleaners.

So where does a house officer fit in?

Right at the bottom of the food chain.

We are no one.

We work. We get up at 5am and toil until evening everyday. We get screamed at for no reason and swallow our pride, even when the person screaming is not our direct superior. We take the scolding for mistakes we did or did not do (doesn’t matter, it’s always our fault). We try to get a little better everyday.

We are there when the post operation old gentleman needs a little help ambulating. We listen when the old grandmother cries in the middle of the night because her son didn’t visit her that day. We make travel arrangements to make sure the patient from some rural village gets to reach home and not get stranded in the middle of the jungle somewhere. All the while not expecting to get praised for it. Because that’s our job, and everyone expects us to do it.

When the truth sinks in, when you realise medicine is actually more of a lifelong calling and that everyone started off being nobody, that’s when you accept being at the bottom of the food chain isn’t so bad.

Besides, it’s only for 2 years right?

I still wanna quit clinical medicine though. Hahahaha.