Women doctor and nurses more prone to work–life imbalance


 

Being a health provider  is a tough and stressful job. In any hospital, work goes on during  day and night. Rather many times nights are more heavy and challenging. The systems at odd hours are run by doctors and nurses. Continuous requirement to do odd time shifts, hard training and work demands tend to affect the overall work-life balance of doctors and nurses.

For women, it is particularly more stressful. As at some stage of life, both professional and personal roles become too demanding.  Expectation at both fronts is guided by the idea of perfection. Perception of deviation from the ideal or little imperfection   can lead to sense of aversion, linked to  average performance for them.  If they try to match the ambitions, want more in career, from the partner, children, or themselves, face the real risk of burn out. The cognizance  that perfection cannot be matched or arduous to achieve, in their circumstances, is hard to be realized  at both places.   The quest and  passion of  the women doctors or nurses, to seek perfection at both places, makes them  more prone for  burnout. This  is  a consequence to  a grave exhaustion, in their bid  to balance everything.  Woman doctors and nurses, are specially  more susceptible to stress of a kind,  as most of them face the same ordeal.

Family priority:

Perception of role identity at home  is little different on  being a woman doctor/nurse.  Male doctors are in a better position to  prioritize their work duties over their family duties  in order to  provide financial support for their families. For female doctors , there is a natural tendency to  prioritize their family life.

  Inflexibility or shift working a routine:    

         The  issues will always remain, like spending long hours at work due to inflexibility, or requirement to do shift  duties , need to stay more with patient and training requirements. For females it is very common and  frequently  lead to an imbalance between work and family duties.   More  time spent at work has an direct impact    on family requirements. Sometimes  there are financial requirements of the family, for which they are forced to  negate the effect on family duties.  In such situations they are unable to successfully complete these family duties.

High career ambitions:

Higher  education leads  to ambitions for higher social recognition and better career orientation. These goals are another  reason for taking this dual stress.  In order to correct this  imbalance, many  women doctors  expose themselves to unsolicited job stress. This reflect  in lives as chronic lack of time and  leads to pressure and stress.  The mentioned stresses and strains could lead in the long term to irreversible, physical signs of wear and tear, as well as to negative effects on the human cardiovascular and immune systems.

   Prolonged and odd working hours:

In medical profession,  simply working hard is not enough anymore. To get ahead, a rigorous training, prolonged working hours are  new standards. There is very  little time left to be divided   among relationships, kids, and sleep.

 

Conflict by Perception:

The conflict of work and family is further exacerbated  by perceived deviation from being a  good worker  at  work place and  ideal mother at  home. At work  place, they are looked as less dedicated and similarly at home as well.  Lack of organizational support  for doctors/nurses is main reason for these kind of imbalance.  They are squeezed in between  pressures at work and demands at home.

Extending families:

These day, pressures are so high that  many young women doctors,  want to just stay at home and do housework without having careers. May  give up careers to have children. It strikes to young doctors as a surprise, simply how difficult it is to build a family. The learning curve of taking care of family along with professional  responsibilities is too steep. In such situations, when everything is compounded, with  workload, it becomes utterly exhaustive.

Motherhood:

Breaks taken for family requirements may be taken as red flags, by employers. Delivery and feeding child become  difficult tasks specially in clinical branches, where long duties are routine.

Motherhood needs to be squeezed in between the requirement of profession. Changes in schedule or adjustments made are perceived as “being different”.

While women are increasingly represented in the medical field, they still face challenges balancing work and home life. The frustrations manifest in  burnout and dissatisfaction within a field they once enjoyed.

also read: work-life imbalance for doctors/nurse & consequences

 

Nipah Virus : Karnataka at high alert: suspected cases of rare virus, fanning fears


The Karnataka ( south India) state is on high alert, especially in areas bordering Kerala, after 11 people died of the mysterious Nipah Virus in Kozhikode over the last few days.

The Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department has directed primary healthcare centres in Chamarajnagar and Mysuru districts, which share the border with Kerala, to be alert and to report any patients from Kerala with suspected Nipah cases. A team from Delhi has been sent to Kerala and based on the report, national guidelines will be issued.

Those travelling to Kerala should be cautious when and if they come in contact with Nipah-infected people. Avoid eating fruits fallen on the ground and drinking raw date palm sap in Kerala. Avoid coming in contact with sick domestic animals and pigs.

Nipah Virus infection is zoonotic, which means the disease has spread from animals to humans, and can causes severe conditions in animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, Pteropus genus. The virus transmits through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or from other NiV-infected people through touch or body fluids. Disease is contagious and can spread from person-to-person.

The infection in humans can cause a wide range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic (no symptoms) to acute respiratory syndrome (cough, breathlessness and respiratory distress) and fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). After exposure to virus, symptoms start after an incubation period of 5-14 days. Usual symptoms are fever and headache for 3-10 days followed by drowsiness, confusion, seizures and altered sensorium. Signs and symptoms can progress rapidly to coma and death in 24-48 hours. Nipah Virus encephalitis is fatal with a high mortality rate.

Stressing should be on precautions. The people in affected areas should avoid eating or drinking date palm sap (raw date palm sap, a sweet drink popular in the winter, when the sap is easy to tap from trees pierced with a spigot. A bat clings to a palm tree as it eats sap just above a collection jar). Disease can be prevented by avoiding animals that are known to be infected and using appropriate personal protective equipment.

There is no vaccine for the Nipah virus, carried by fruit bats and spread  through contact with bodily fluids, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Treatment for the virus, which has a mortality rate of about 70 percent, is supportive care.

Nipah virus scare: prevention and control of deadly virus


The National Virology Institute, Pune, confirmed that the contagious fever that has killed several people in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts over the last fortnight is due to Nipah virus ( NiV). Six more people succumbed to symptoms suspected to be that of Nipah virus on Sunday.
    It is the first detection in Kerala of the Nipah virus which has a high fatality rate and spreads mainly through bats, pigs and other animals. Its symptoms include fever, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, coma and respiratory problems.
Virus has an incubation period of 4 to 18 days. Health workers  need to  take the highest level of protection while handling patients. No specific treatment is available but intensive care support is required.

Origion and History of initial identification:

Nipah virus (NiV) is a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus. NiV was initially isolated and identified in 1999 during an outbreak of encephalitis and respiratory illness among pig farmers and people with close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. Its name originated from Sungai Nipah, a village in the Malaysian Peninsula where pig farmers became ill with encephalitis. Given the relatedness of NiV to Hendra virus,  bat species were quickly singled out for investigation and flying foxes of the genus Pteropus were subsequently identified as the reservoir for NiV .

In the 1999 outbreak, Nipah virus caused a relatively mild disease in pigs, but nearly 300 human cases with over 100 deaths were reported. In order to stop the outbreak, more than a million pigs were euthanized, causing tremendous trade loss for Malaysia. Since this outbreak, no subsequent cases (in neither swine nor human) have been reported in either Malaysia or Singapore.

In 2001, NiV was again identified as the causative agent in an outbreak of human disease occurring in Bangladesh. Genetic sequencing confirmed this virus as Nipah virus, but a strain different from the one identified in 1999. In the same year, another outbreak was identified retrospectively in Siliguri, India with reports of person-to-person transmission in hospital settings (nosocomial transmission). Unlike the Malaysian NiV outbreak, outbreaks occur almost annually in Bangladesh and have been reported several times in India.

Symptoms and investigation

Nipah virus’s (NiV) symptoms in humans are similar to viral fever such as fever, headache and muscle pain. Perhaps, these symptoms should be taken seriously as they were a part of rare viral fever – identified as the Nipah virus (NiV) – that claimed lives in Kerala.

NiV infection is associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and can lead to disorientation and mental confusion, or coma in some cases – encephalitis may present as acute or late onset. While the later may be difficult to diagnose, those who may have recovered from an acute episode may also have a relapse.

Since the symptoms of Nipah virus are similar to that of influenza, it can be difficult to determine whether the person is affected by NiV based on symptoms alone. According to WHO, procedures for laboratory diagnosis of Nipah virus include a series of tests – serology, histopathology, PCR and virus isolation. Serum Neutralization Test, ELISA, RT-PCR are used for laboratory confirmation. Also, magnetic resonance of the brain can help differentiate Nipah encephalitis from other encephalitis as well as in defining between acute and late-onset or a relapsed form of the disease.

Prevention and control

Till date, there is no effective vaccine for Nipah virus disease, treatment is mostly focused on managing fever and the neurological symptoms. Ribavarin may help alleviate the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions. Severely ill patients require hospitalisation and may require the use of a ventilator. Therapeutics and vaccine are said to be under development.

Adopting standard infection control practices is vital in preventing the spread of person-to-person transmission of the disease. As the main strategy is to prevent NiV in humans, establishing appropriate surveillance systems is necessary to detect the disease outbreaks quickly so that appropriate control measures are initiated in time.

Research is needed to better understand the ecology of bats and Nipah virus, investigating questions such as the seasonality of disease within reproductive cycles of bats. Surveillance tools should include reliable laboratory assays for early detection of disease in communities and livestock, and raising awareness of transmission and symptoms is important in reinforcing standard infection control practices to avoid human-to-human infections in hospital settings (nosocomial infection).

A subunit vaccine, using the Hendra G protein, produces cross-protective antibodies against HENV and NIPV has been recently used in Australia to protect horses against Hendra virus. This vaccine offers great potential for henipavirus protection in humans as well.

https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/nipah/prevention/index.html

Unfair prejudice against doctors distressing : shortage of docs and still delivering best, but punished and assaulted


Shortage of docs ails AIIMS emergency only one technician each for ventilator, ECG (link)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/shortage-of-docs-ails-aiims-emergency/articleshow/58831115.cms

Times of India yesterday carried a news article which highlighted the problem of shortage of doctors and trained staff in AIIMS hospital emergency.  The number of doctors  available are less than half of those required. And if this is the scenario in a premier Institute, it does not need an Einstein brain to figure out how the problem at other places in remote areas would be.

Everybody desires to have themselves treated within few minutes of their arrival in a hospital to the best of standards, but there are many obstacles to it in the form of large patient overload and shortage of doctors. Despite shortage of staff, each and every doctor tries his best to see as many patients as possible while sacrificing his own personal life. In any civilized society, this kind of work should bring in appreciation and respect for those who deliver. But for some strange reason, possibly due to vicious campaign against doctors by media and even celebrities, the respect and appreciation for this profession is sadly lacking. Possibly it is due to inadequate root cause analysis of the real issues. News items like these will probably help public realize the problems doctors face.

Despite working in such conditions, they are still abused, assaulted, beaten and taken to court for reasons, which are not justifiable in a civilized society. With all such problems and heavy hearts, this wonderful community still continues doing their noble work day and night to give each patient the best possible treatment within a reasonable time frame.  As compared to other professions the amount of work is more and appreciation much less.

Let’s take an example of courts where people spend lot of money and time and their cases still drag on for years. Crores of cases are pending in courts and thousands die without getting justice in their life time.  In contrast, even if there is shortage of doctors, relief to uncountable patients is provided and the quality of work is much better than other professions. As nature of work of this saviour is very high in moral hierarchy as compared to any other profession, it is time our society realized about the constraints doctors face before blaming them for the loss of optimal health care provision. Surely society owes much more to this wonderful community, but sadly this realization is unlikely in present era.

Ray of hope for doctors :Honourable President and Delhi high court show concern about violence against doctors


At last, Delhi high court has expressed concern  over growing instances of attacks on doctors by irate patients. It also identified lack of adequate number of medical experts in government hospitals, as a possible cause. It also made a note of  government’s  failure to increase the number of doctors despite multifold increase in patient load. And the next date for hearing is fixed for 10 days later, on 29th May.

Our Honourable President Mr Pranab Mukherjee too, has disapproved of the violence against doctors, thus giving hope to  doctors that their fundamental right  of safe working environment may be restored in near future.

Although good working conditions still remain a distant dream for doctors but this raises hope of getting atleast a safer environment which is absolute  necessary for a doctor to practise.

Although points raised by courts are well known and basic but are very important to begin with. But still until now, none of the government authorities had extended help to the doctor’s community. Isn’t it ironical that in 21st century, when sky is the limit for advances in majority of the professions, the most educated and a hard working community of the country is fighting for its basic and fundamental right of a safer workplace? It is just unthinkable that doctors still have to struggle for their basic  right in present era.

 

Honourable President Mr Pranab Mukherjee too, has disapproved of the violence against doctors(link)

Attacks on doctors by relatives of patients unacceptable: President Pranab Mukherjee

Delhi high court has expressed concern  over growing instances of attacks on doctors by irate patients.(Link)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/hc-seeks-report-on-docs-safety/articleshow/58504721.cms

 

Real story of a female doctor assault : Routine affair for uncivilized society


Few words here can’t describe the plight of a female doctor, who was brutally assaulted by a mob at her residence, for no fault of hers. This incidence happened few months back, about 200 KM away from Delhi.

It was an evening time and a boy had an accident with a bus. He was brought to a community health center.  Female medical officer who had her residence inside the hospital in staff quarters examined the patient and found that he was already dead. She explained the situation to the family members with due sensitivity, did all the paper work and returned to her residence in about an hour. Mob kept on gathering and after half an hour, they barged into the house of the lady medical officer.

They dragged her by hair in front of her teenage daughter. Mob started assaulting her with fists and legs along with a rod. Her daughter cried and shouted for help.   Mob even tried to set her on fire. This brutal and devilish assault continued till neighbours from other staff quarters saved her with great difficulty and took her away. Mob continued rampage in her house and hospital, trying to break everything.

She sustained severe head injuries and was admitted in a hospital for about ten days. What was her fault and why mob did this to her? Is being a doctor and working in remote area her fault? Everybody knew that the reason for death of the boy was what happened outside the hospital.  There was an errant bus driver, who was responsible.  Then why was she made a punching bag for venting out emotions of the bereaved relatives. Nothing and really nothing can justify this barbaric act. Emotions should not be allowed to take such a demonic form. This is simply jungle raj, goonism and  expression of a most  uncivilized kind of society, which simply cannot be excused by any sort of reasoning. The incident was protested by the professional bodies as is the routine and after few day things normalized for everybody else except that terrorised family. The said lady medical officer took posting elsewhere and as is usual, nothing much happened to the accused.

Woman doctor assault : Era worse than MAHABHARATA for female doctors

There was again same silence and little concern shown by our media, courts, prominent people, celebrities, human right commission, woman right activists and women commission. This again brings forth the hypocrisy of these people and organizations, who otherwise cry about woman rights and empowerment.  Whenever a female is assaulted, there is an outrage but the same support is not extended to a female if she is a doctor. Such bestiality should create havoc in minds of civilized people but this apathy to such incidents clearly indicates otherwise. Have we become so uncivilised that an incident such as this just remains as a small news item in a local paper? Can’t we see that such incidents are harbinger of many more in future? It is important to realise that this is the time to unify and condemn such episodes vehemently and prominently so that the miscreants realise that they cannot get away with it.

Beti bachao Beti padhao vs Violence against female doctors

Violence against female doctors: Silence of human and  woman right commissions

Fading charm of medical profession:complex working scenarios for doctors- no solution in sight


Stark reality of complex medical scenario hits the studious and meritorious medical students on the face when they come out of college and start working in present environment. After a difficult time at medical college with slave like duties, an unsettled family life and with no money, these brilliant doctors begin their struggle. They work at various hospitals to gain more experience and slowly acclimatize themselves to the real problems of this profession. They realize that the actual medical world is far different than what was apparent from inside the medical college. Suddenly they find that their lives undergo a sea change. The goals that were taught in the medical college are now just not enough and they actually constitute only smaller part of a much larger system. And the scenario seems to getting worse for doctors with each passing day.
There is increasing discontentment amongst doctors because of complex and punishing system in addition to the unrealistic expectations of society which takes the enthusiasm out of these young bright doctors. Every day now, the informal discussions with colleagues regularly dwell more on problems faced by doctors, rather than real goals. There are routinely instances of verbal abuse and threat for no fault of theirs. Some unlucky ones get physically assaulted as well. Sometimes there are threats of dragging the doctor into a lawsuit which sometimes do really happen. Even if court, after years of deliberation, does decide in favour of the doctor, the harm to the doctor in the form of mental harassment and tarnished reputation is already done and that is something which cannot be undone even after he has been proved innocent.
Even if such events don’t happen to everyone, the very fear of such possible scenarios and their possible complications always lurks in the back of the mind and affects the treatment because the doctor tries to be doubly safe. The fear and anxiety about the actual treatment, favourable and unfavourable prognosis of patient always colours the final decision in treatment. Many become punching bags in place of inept medical system and invisible medical industry. Everyday irritating discussions, arguments, complaints, disagreements add to further pain and discontentment.
And if these were not enough, these problems have been further compounded by unnecessary utterances by celebrities against doctors, negative projections by media who never acknowledge the great work done day and night by doctors. Stray mistakes by some doctor, or treatment failure due to a poor prognosis and sometimes due to system failure are projected and widely highlighted by media and celebrities to tarnish image of all doctors .Though these do sensationalise their news and promotes their business, but the repercussions are heavy and it breaks the trust of the public in their doctors. This eventually does harm to innocent public in the long run but has also done enough irreparable damage to the medical profession.
If children of current generation do not hold the profession in high esteem, then obviously they wouldn’t want to be part of this profession. And if brilliant students shun this profession, then how would society get good doctors? If there is always fear in their mind, no one can do justice to his job and this you’ll all agree, applies to all professions

advantages disadvantages of medical profession

enslavement of medical profession, doctors and nurses are modern day slave

nurses and doctors, altruistic professions not treasured in present era

Enslavement of Doctors, Nurses and medical profession: specially junior doctors equivalent to modern day slaves?


When I was doing house job, once I had to do continuous 72 hours duty because there was no other house surgeon. I had to leave the ward without rounds which hadn’t started on time that day. And I was marked absent and had to apologise for leaving without rounds!!! Amongst many queries in my mind came the question “ Am I an animal?” but I guess even animals have better rights. Courts and animal right lovers show their concern for them all the time. Then “Who am I?” I was forced to think………some species who is being treated worse than animals. My seniors told me “You are a “doctor” and have to work like this only”.
Can this happen the same way with someone in any other profession? That too a profession wherein a young brilliant child, after 10-15 years of most tough studies ,exams, difficult training throughout the golden years of his youth, starts earning pittance. And in a job that also requires doing duties day and night, sometimes for 24 to 48 hours at a stretch without proper meals and sleep. Most of the hospitals don’t even ensure tea and food on these duties for doctors .But these young hardworking people do it gladly and enthusiastically, doing a most noble work saving innumerable lives or relieving countless people of their pain. No rights have ever been defined for these young brilliant children.
This great work is not even acknowledged in any way. These duties are merely systematic exploitation of doctors because of:
– sometimes in the name of Hippocratic oath,
– sometimes in the name of morality
– because of the kindness in their hearts
– in the name of suffering and dying patients
– in name of shortage of doctors and staff.
– for fear of courts and medico-legal cases
– for fear of assaults since the number of doctors is less per patient.
– by some administrative systems who use pressure tactics and sometimes
bullying to get work done
– by similar widely prevalent culture in most hospitals
– for sake of their career and higher degrees
for sake of employment
– in the name of training , and in many more ways.
And these innocent, brilliant and enthusiastic young doctor with stars in their eyes, go on doing it for years along with never ending studies. There is no count of hours, no money or compensation in most of healthcare systems of world for these inhuman duties, exploited young energy and lives. And then comes the most painful part when they do not get the due respect in the society. Their selfless hard work goes unnoticed and unappreciated most of the time. Most people take this slave like working as guaranteed and do not feel it as any injustice to these young doctors. These brilliant children while on duty, may be verbally abused, routinely threatened, assaulted or dragged to courts for trivial issues and that too for no faults of theirs. They just become punching bags for the inept healthcare system and invisible medical industry though lives saved by these young men are uncountable and people relieved of pain and agony innumerable.
Though some western countries of European union and NHS medical systems have realized the inhuman duties and are now following a fixed hours duty schedule, but still most of countries and health systems have kept their eyes closed regarding these slave like duty hours and poor work conditions.
I have enumerated just a few of the problems and the actual burden on the doctor is substantially more and that is further compounded by the behaviour of the society. All these factors put together threaten the very core of the healthcare system, the doctors, who are then not able to work to their full efficiency.
I wonder if this is perceived as normal and routine then what else does slavery constitute ?

nurses and doctors, altruistic professions not treasured in present era

fading charm of medical profession

choosing medical profession a disadvantage  to doctors and nurses

 

Doctor is a soldier : fights the enemy within human body.


I have used this analogy since the situation is similar in certain aspects (life and death situation involving human beings, a war footing effort). When there is a disease, doctor will have to find out the attacking ailment and then find a way to combat that. In emergency situations, it is usually a life and death situation. This battle may involve different kinds of armours ( medicines) and techniques( surgeries and interventions). However unlike a soldier, a doctor while treating an emergency case has many distractions like fear of abuse, assault, legal lawsuit, compelling detailed documentation to save himself, veiled and open threats of implied force (physical, verbal or legal) every day, while the battle(treatment) is going on. With all these distractions, he still has to fight and win in situations where life and death are just moments apart
Though most of doctors learn to fight, with all these distractions, with their increasing experience and wisdom but these do dampen their fighting spirit and enthusiasm. It is ironic that both the patient and attendants, though desirous of positive outcome for the patient and winning the battle against disease, act counterproductively. Although the doctor tries to do his best almost every time, in certain cases, the patient is not able to win the battle. This could be because of any reason like a genuinely difficult situation or an action or decision taken , which later turned out to be not so good in that particular patient. Such cases are usually followed by some sort of assault (physical, verbal or legal)by patient’s attendants. This is akin to weakening your own army. In a battle, when the fighting becomes more risky and fierce ,the soldier is compelled to choose between his ownself versus those for whom he is fighting and this leads to a defensive approach to his fight. Similarly the doctor if exposed to repetitive threats to his own self, will have to become defensive and that surely will affect his treatment.

Just a thought: Imagine a soldier during a war preparing a detailed documentation of his decision making and the reasons for the same so that in case of failure, his actions could be analysed by courts and lawyers over years to find out the errors with aim to punish.

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