21 March 2012

Whistleblowing: V2.0

S: (n) whistle blower, whistle-blower, whistleblower (an informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it) "the law gives little protection to whistleblowers who feel the public has a right to know what is going on"; "the whistleblower was fired for exposing the conditions in mental hospitals"*


I'm going to start by asking a fundamental question: is whistleblowing ever unacceptable?

You would think that the answer should be 'no', and in the interests of the bigger picture it should be the case. By raising concerns the theory is that someone more senior than yourself investigates the issue and how it is affecting the services offered, especially if the outcome is detrimental to the public.


But allow me to ask another prudent question: would you ever report your concerns about patient care in a training hospital where you were receiving training?


This question is purely hypothetical in its current context, but I have had my fingers burnt in the past, as have several of my colleagues.

I've heard tales from close colleagues where they found themselves excommunicated by not only nursing and other allied health professionals, but also by other doctors and senior managers because they dared to ask the question: 'hang on, I'm not sure that I'm happy with this situation, something here isn't right.'

The GMC recently published a policy called Raising and Acting on Concerns in Patient Safety. The theory should solve all of my concerns, but I bet it won't make one iota of difference.

F1 doctors (foundation year 1, first 12 months post qualification) like myself have to be signed off by a supervisor to be granted full GMC registration (as opposed to the provisional registration that we have for the first year). Is the signing off process likely to be affected by any previous concerns that have been highlighted by that F1?

Medicine shouldn't be a network of archaic attitudes and closed doors and closed ears, but my experience so far has shown me that it has been. Please don't misunderstand me, I love my work and I'm still very happy to be ploughing my way through my F1 year. This hasn't actually happened to me while I've been qualified, but I do know that it's happened to some of my close friends.

I can't help but thinking 'what would I do?'




* http://wordnet.princeton.edu/


18 March 2012

What should a doctor look like?

How a doctor acts plays an important part in how patients perceive the care they receive. It's commonly expected that a doctor should be compassionate, polite and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. We (and I) expect doctors to explain things in a way that patients understand. We expect them to take the time to explain diagnoses, prognosis and management plans in a way that a patient in a vulnerable position will be able to take in and make informed decisions.

But if a doctor fulfils all of these requirements, then should it matter if they dress appropriately but happen to have bright blue hair and a nose stud?

Do sick patients have less faith in doctors who don't look the same as their colleagues?

In my time as a doctor and a health care assistant I've seen many nurses and ancillary staff with unnatural hair colours, piercings and tattoos, but it's rare to see a doctor who makes a similar statement.

Have we all become so stereotyped that we have to become clones of each other?

Should a job or career affect who we are in our personal lives?

While I have no problem in stepping outside of the stereotype 'doctor' box, I can't help but feel that I will never truly be able to express myself until I reach a much more senior position and my external appearance is less likely to affect my career progression.

Should it be like this? Isn't this a more subtle type of discrimination?

So for now, unless someone else is bold enough to make a statement in my deanery, I guess I'll just have to stick to hidden tattoos, discrete piercings and 'natural(ish)' hair colour.

*sad face*

But what do you think?

11 March 2012

Is a change as good as a rest?

It is just over 3 weeks until job change again and I'm back to feeling anxious about starting yet another new post.

It seems that as soon as you feel you're getting the hang of something you get moved on. This time at least I don't have to move hospital, which is a massive benefit.

The problem is that I don't especially enjoy my current post, yet I suspect I'm going to detest the next one, and the banding is lower (40% vs 50% at present).

I'm just going to have to see where it takes me...

Best of luck to any current final years due to sit exams soon.


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