Sunday 12 November, 2006

Know the NSW Public Hospital (Medical Officers) Award

Posted in Advice, Emergency Dept., Michael Tam, Resources, Wards, Workplace at 9:29 by Michael Tam

Original artcle by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Resources

Public Hospital (Medical Officers) Award

Serial C4272. Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales. Issued 16 December 2005. [117 Kb]

Public Hospital (Medical Officers) Award – Hours of Work and Tenure

NSW Health Department Policy Directive (no. PD2005_457). Issued 28 January 2005. [32 Kb]

Looking back, I never even once received a copy of the Public Hospital (Medical Officers) Award when starting work at a number of NSW Public Hospitals. The Award sets out the conditions of employment for junior medical officers (i.e., interns, residents, registrars) and is set by the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW.

The second publication is a policy directive from the NSW Department of Health that I will go through.

I strongly encourage that all JMOs read through the Award. My experience is that NSW Public Hospitals (or their administration) do not follow many of the finer details of the Award when they think that they can get away with it. This is really quite disgusting. The purpose of the Award is so that your rights and entitlements are documented in stone. You shouldn’t have to fight for them.

Don’t let medical and hospital administration get away with labour theft because of your own ignorance of your employment contract and conditions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Sunday 22 October, 2006

Caffeine is not a substitute for sleep

Posted in Emergency Dept., Michael Tam, Rants, Wards, Workplace at 21:53 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant worldwide, and this is certainly true among Australian junior medical officers. Every morning, the wards are frequented by bleary-eyed junior doctors who do not become their cheery selves until the morning “cuppa”.

Juliano and Griffiths (2004) categorised and described a “caffeine-withdrawal syndrome” in a comprehensive review, and even concluded that “there is sufficient empiracal evidence to warrant inclusion of caffeine withdrawal as a disorder in the DSM [Diagnostic and Satistical Manual of Mental Disorders]” (1).

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday 17 September, 2006

Stress as a junior medical officer

Posted in Advice, Michael Tam, Workplace at 23:36 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Being a junior medical officer is a stressful affair. The workload is heavy, your efforts are often devalued, and at times you have the thrill (or the terror) of having the responsibility of someone’s life proverbially in your hands.

Psychological distress is very common in junior doctors, sometimes with tragic results. Be mindful of your own and your colleagues’ mental well-being.

Doctors are not very good at looking after their own health or psychological needs and unfortunately, neither is the system. Your employers (i.e., hospital administration) only care when it is much too late, e.g., the recent “vow of action” by the Victorian State Government after the tragic suicides of two registrars in Melbourne hospitals (1).

Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday 29 July, 2006

How to manage workplace conflict

Posted in Emergency Dept., General Practice, May Su, Wards, Workplace at 20:44 by May Su

Original article by: May Su :: Printer friendly

Bullying and other workplace conflict is a common scenario as a medico – from patients, from nurses and from other colleagues. There has been increasing media coverage on this regarding in particular the NHS medical system in the UK, and our own more close to home situation in Queensland (1). In a study of the National Health System (NHS) in Britain released in 2002 specifically of junior doctors, 37% of respondents identified as being bullied in the past year and 84% had experienced one or more bullying behaviours (2).

Bullying should not be accepted passively

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday 30 April, 2006

Don’t let administration steal your unrostered overtime and ADOs

Posted in Emergency Dept., Michael Tam, Rants, Wards, Workplace at 20:39 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Catbert

“Catbert” the evil
Human Resources
Director

Administrators are not working for you. They are working for themselves primarily and secondarily for the “system”. From an administrator’s point of view, the “system” is working if they meet budgetary constraints, meet performance indicators like “length of stay”, and there are minimal complaints from members of the public. If medical administration can get this done by bullying the junior medical staff to work harder, longer, with less supervision and less pay, then they will, and they do.

Read the rest of this entry »

Form a strong JMO/RMO association

Posted in Michael Tam, Rants, Wards, Workplace at 20:09 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Strike!

We want our meal vouchers,
dammit!

Assuming that you work about 50 hours per week, you will be spending over a quarter of your life in and around hospital. If you are lucky and have good supervisors and mentors in the hospital, you may have people in the “system” that are both “on-the ground” and “proactive” in maintaining your interests.

The usual situation, however, is that you can be fairly certain that no one really cares about you. The only reason that your work hours are not excessively onerous, that you are paid rostered overtime, etc., is because of labour laws, your award and the guidelines as set by the PMC (Postgraduate Medical Council). Though these things offer a basic level of protection they are no good at providing any form of short or medium-term assistance with regards to industrial issues. The PMC, though a wonderful organisation, can really only act, “after the fact”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Help each other

Posted in Advice, Michael Tam, Wards, Workplace at 13:34 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Help each other

Everyone can do with a little bit
of help sometimes

No one knows the difficulties of being a junior doctor better than your fellow junior doctors. You must as a group try to help each other out. If you are not in a particularly busy team and the general medical intern is struggling, offer to help with their ward work. If someone needs to swap out of an overtime shift, try to be accommodating.

If you look out for each other, hospital work will much more pleasant. By working together as a group, you will reduce the amount of “burn-out”. Everybody will have their rough patches and their “bad” weeks and terms. It’s part of the job. However, knowing that you can reliably fall back on someone to pick up or swap a shift when you’re just exhausted from your day job is very comforting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Get “on side” with the nurses

Posted in Advice, Emergency Dept., Michael Tam, Wards, Workplace at 13:11 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

Nurse Ratchet

The infamous
Nurse Ratchet

The nursing staff is a buffer between you and every complaint imaginable to man that your patients may have. They can make your job easy or make your life hell so it is pretty important to make sure you develop a good working relationship with the nurses. That is not to say that you should do everything they ask of you, but a bit of courtesy and respect can go a long way. Often, if the nurses think that you are competent and reliable, they will stop pestering you for every minor thing.

A lot of the senior nurses are very experienced so you should consider their worries about patients seriously. You should take their ability to “triage” your patients with gratitude.

Read the rest of this entry »

Embrace the multidisciplinary team

Posted in Advice, Emergency Dept., Michael Tam, Wards, Workplace at 12:51 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

The multidisciplinary team

Doctors are just one part of the team.

The concept of the “multidisciplinary team” in health care is alive and real and if you are not already used to it, then you need to quick. The nursing staff and allied health (i.e., dieticians, occupational therapists, social workers, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, etc.) are as much part of the team as you are.

Read the rest of this entry »

Essential equipment for the ward

Posted in Advice, Michael Tam, Wards, Workplace at 11:59 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

StethoscopeYour stethoscope is a hallmark of being a doctor. You will use it on a daily basis. If you couldn’t afford a good one as a student, go get one now. It’s tax deductible. I recommend something that is in the high-middle of the range like a Littman’s Cardiology II or Cardiology III. It always looks a bit weird when the intern on the cardiology team has a superior stethoscope to the consultant! Frankly, unless you are planning on becoming a cardiologist, having a Cardiology Master makes you look like a tool, not to mention that it is mostly useless if you need to auscultate children. If you haven’t already, make sure that you put your name on it though (either engraved or with a name tag), as I guarantee that you will misplace your stethoscope within your first week as an intern.

Read the rest of this entry »