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Conflicting points (about my field of job)

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by , September 24th, 2013 at 08:35 AM (1255 Views)
For those who don't know, I am a freshly graduated doctor, currently working for a year in the rural area for internship period. Before I go to the core of my blog post, a little prelude may be explanatory.

Right now, being a doctor is probably the most enduring and stressful occupation in Indonesia. I'm not exaggerating; times have been difficult, not just for doctors, but for all health workers as well. Why?

There are many causes. First, the government is not doctor-friendly. Since the number of poor people here is still high, the government promotes various types of health insurance to ensure poor people can get treated in government-based health centres and hospitals. However, since they don't actually have enough funds for every health centres, the service ends up being one-directed: the centres provide service which is not reimbursed by the government, who cites various (illogical and childish) reasons to support their action. The one often used is that doctors are supposed to be wholehearted in their service and thus requires no payment or other things in return. In short, doctors are deemed 'slaves with pride and honour'.

The second reason, which is fueled greatly by the first reason, is that somehow, our people hates doctors. Shaped by the free medical treatment notion, most of the people think that 1). they deserve free treatment and should be receiving that infinitely and unexceptionally; 2). doctors are free workers who are supposed to serve them; and 3). doctors are different than humans in that they must be perfect, flawless, and must not reject those who seek their service. Needless to say, many patients treat doctors as being more inferior. Worse is that when a doctor tries to refer a patient or send them to another centre, these actions are thought to be refusal to treat patients and soon the society would accuse the doctors involved to be money-oriented and not generous.

Long complicated story, is it? Now, into the main part.

As some of you know, I am currently living with 5 other guys in a house, all of whom are also new doctors. I happen to stay in a room with a man who, whilst I don't have any sentiment against, quite annoys me. The reason is that he is very money-oriented. His principals are that because he had entered university and spent so much money on education, he has the right to have his budget restored. While this paradigm is not entirely faulty (after all, why are we so desperate to work after graduating?), I find his obsession a little too... excessive.

Here, we are getting paid on a minimum basis (even smaller than public bus drivers) and with minimum incentives from the hospital we're serving. Based on this condition, my roommate often laments about the patients being annoyance to him, how the working condition is so unsuitable, how we (although he's the only one complaining) are very undervalued yet are given excessive workload without balanced salary, and refuses simple tasks outside medical service with the claim, "We are not getting paid for this!"

Maybe some of you will say he is quite justified, but I'm fed up with his constant vocal laments and whines. I mean, I have no comment about his thought process but I'd rather him keeping it to himself. Instead, he would repeat himself saying, "Ah, I hate this job! I don't get paid enough to work in this hell hole!" or "No, I'm not doing that; we're not paid for that shit," or "So little money we're making!". Another thing I quite dislike about him is that he vehemently tries to influence others into thinking the same thing, repeating his thoughts again and again and seeks agreement and support between the other pals.

Yeah, I get it. We're free workers with salary under minimum standard. And of course I would like to work under better condition, with better salary, so I can be independent. But it's just one phase. And not everything is about money, right?

I once told him that despite the bad terms with the stubborn patients and me literally still has to depend albeit partially on my parents, I enjoy my current job fully and is not fed up at all with the routine tasks. He looks at me with disbelief though he does not say anything.

If you reach this last paragraph, I thank you for persevering with my long tedious blabber, and for the first time, I'd like you to give your 2 cents. Anything will be great. I'm not looking for opposition nor gratification, just your honest thoughts. And sorry if this seems too much like a first world medical worker problem - I just have to let it out somewhere outside my usual circle.


  1. dpnice's Avatar
    Obviously it is difficult to comment due to the differences in cultures; I for one have no real experience of the conditions and obligations in other countries.

    But I have always understood that in the western world young doctors always had difficult working conditions, long hours and low salaries just after leaving university. Seems unfair some how.

    Hang in there though and plan your means of "escaping" to the USA in the future.

  2. paganzak's Avatar
    I don't think your venting was long, lamenting, tedious, blabber, or whining! You were just stating the facts as you see them and who cares if those facts point out negative aspects! We all need to vent every so often (and sometimes that venting is about some people that you would normally use to listen to your rants and raves)!

    It sounds like you're a doctor and you are in this situation because you want to be someone who helps others. The situation you are in truly sucks! The feelings of your countrymen seem insurmountable, but I think that you might be able to gradually change that (with friends in the news industry). Talk them into highlighting the situation and bad attitudes of people towards medical care providers. It might make things better until you can make the changes you talk about in some of your other posts. For right now, you have to make the best of a difficult situation. You sound like a pillar of strength and a great example of a caring individual (who just happens to be gay).

    I hope that you are soon able to set your plans in motion for the move and changes you would like to make. How long have you committed to serve in this rural area?