Tired Doctors

Participants at the Fiji Medical Association West Mini Conference in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

STRESSED and burnt out doctors remain one of the biggest challenges for the medical sector in the country. This was one of the issues highlighted during the Fiji Medical Association west mini conference at the Lautoka Hospital yesterday.

“It is a fact that there are a lot of doctors in the profession who are stressed, who are exhausted, and when you have an exhausted or stressed doctor, it’s similar to having an exhausted airline pilot,” association president Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said.

“You can imagine there are likely to be risks involved so what we’ve been talking abut is how we can support one another as doctors.

“We thank Government for putting out vacancies and supporting scholarships for student doctors. And now that we have the quantity, we can help one another so there’s no burnout and no stress, so that doctors remain calm and collected even when they’ve seen so many patients, so that’s another aspect.”

Dr Waqainabete also said the problem of stress and burnout was not unique to Fiji.

Professor Rajat Gyaneshwar, a lecturer from the Fiji National University who attended the meeting as a guest speaker, said it was important for doctors to have a sense of balance.

“What is important for us as doctors is the journey of being a doctor,” he said.

“You can still carry on and provide very good care to your patients. We get burnt out because we get frustrated by the peripheral things that aren’t well organised.

“Isn’t there a saying, ‘Lord help me change the things I can change and those things I can’t change’, I can work around it.”

He also called for doctors to practise more holistic care of self, focusing on personal and spiritual health.

More than 40 medical professionals attended the day-long event, which also focused on topics such as health systems and surveillance, self care and safe cardiology. Participants were also informed about meningococcal disease in Fiji.