TEN THINGS TO DO DURING HOUSEMANSHIP
By DR BAMIDURO A.D. (MBBS IBADAN)
Contributor: DR OLULAJA O.N. (MBBS LASU)
‘Nothing is more creative or destructive than a brilliant mind with a purpose’ – Dan Brown.
The compulsory one year period of housemanship presents itself with many opportunities. Most fresh doctors are however not guided on how to navigate the journey. They are eventually overwhelmed by the stress which swamps most out and the year trickles out without other achievements asides from completing the program itself.
My good friend and colleague, with whom I had the rarest opportunity to be roommates with for the one year program, and I brainstormed on ten things all house officers should cultivate. All ten things are achievable if there is proper planning, discipline and commitment. You can thank us later.
So, here we go:
1) EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE BASE AND SKILL SET: It will be a disaster if after one year of training you are yet to improve your skills as a doctor. The list of basic skills is inexhaustible but if you truly and diligently apply yourself you will acquire them. Diversify your knowledge acquisition and you should at the end of the one year program understand your limitations and how to communicate them appropriately.
2) EXPAND YOUR NETWORK: Medical school does the havoc of limiting your friends to mostly your course mates. This is definitely not profitable in the real world. You need to reconnect with the outside world if you’re set out for greatness. Be intentional about your association. Establish a healthy support system. Build a network of friends that includes lawyers, accountants, tech gurus, serial entrepreneurs, surveyors and politicians. It’s sad that doctors have this unexplained superiority complex and delusion of grandeur, break loose from it – it takes people nowhere.
3) GET ONLINE CERTIFICATIONS: The world is now a global village and there are numerous online courses both free and paid that will increase your global relevance. This might appear difficult during this period, but do believe it would be worth it. Taking one or two during this period makes your curriculum vitae looks more appealing and attractive. You can attend conferences too. Offer to do a joint research with your consultants – this will improve the general outlook on your CV.
4) OUTLINE YOUR PATH: You really need to stop procrastinating as you did all through medical school (average of 6years). Set short and long term targets. Be sure of what you want to do and start out early. Are you pursuing a clinical or non-clinical career? Are you writing local or international exams? Do you even want to pursue another career entirely? You just must be proactive during this one year.
5) DEVELOP A HEALTHY SAVING HABIT: Being financially smart begins with attributes such as this. This is not a time to be wasteful, it is a time to invest, a time to save. Look out for credible and trustworthy agencies for tips. You can actually become a millionaire during this period if you take the right steps.
6) DISCOVER, DEVELOP OTHER TALENTS AND MAKE IT A SIDE HUSTLE: Don’t limit yourself to medicine. You definitely have other talents; you just have to go on a discovery journey. A couple of my friends are into photography, make-up business, music, culinary business, etc. You also need to develop your own skills and talents, render services to people, and get money in return. You will soon discover that your house job salary isn’t enough to keep you motivated.
7) LOOK FOR A LIFE PARTNER AND BE COMMITTED: LOL!!! Sounds funny I guess, but trust me, it is less stressful to be with one partner than to be all over the place. It gives you a lot of leverage to be focused. The time previously used for “side guys/chicks” can now be saved to think more productively about your career and writing foreign exams if interested. Look for a partner who will help you grow. Healthy relationships only.
8) VOLUNTEER: Don’t just be passive in the society you work and live in. Cultivate the habit of impacting your society. Volunteer. Be part of the numerous groups out there impacting the world through projects such as blood donation drives, medical outreaches, feeding the less privileged, etc. This will also be a wonderful addendum to your curriculum vitae.
9) LOOK AFTER YOURSELF (RELAX): Despite your very busy schedule which I am well aware of, you have a duty to take good care of yourself. Find time to get sleep, hang out with family and friends, exercise, eat good food, look good and smell nice. You only live once, Doctor.
10) KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT MDCN: Do your work with all diligence, avoid costly mistakes, and don’t leave anything to chance. Acquaint yourselves with the penalties that exist for each misconduct/malpractice, know how to get yourself out of problems. Your license is your asset – guard it with all diligence. If you find yourself in court, ignorance won’t be an excuse!