An Interview with a Doctor: @scribblingsofamedic
As part of our AvatarJo Medical Interview series, we had the pleasure of interviewing @scribblingsofamedic, a Sri Lankan doctor who studied in the UK, about the ways in which she has been impacted by Covid-19. She highlights the hardships that doctors are facing in these trying times but focuses very much on the positives she has taken from the situation and her ever-increasing appreciation for her field.
One thing that really stood out for us about this interview is the strength and determination in the doctor community. When asked about the current pandemic and its effect on doctors like herself, @scribblingsofamedic stated that it “has really put the oath we took as doctors to the test. We are fighting harder than we’ve ever fought before for our communities and our countrymen”, which really highlights the strength of the healthcare community and all they do for us. She is a shining example of someone who isn’t doubting her profession as a result of the hurdles she experiences, stating with confidence that the “pandemic has definitely given the world a new appreciation for healthcare workers and despite its intensity and uncertainty, I’ve never questioned or reconsidered my work because of it. I’m aware of the importance of my job, and I don’t take it for granted.”
This very powerful message stood out to us, and she refers back to it when asked about the advice she might give to doctors or medical students:
“Understand the power you have to save lives and make a difference - but don’t ever take it for granted.”
She makes sure to highlight the positive impacts that this time has had on herself and the countless other doctors working so hard for their communities: “I don’t think there is a single doctor anywhere in the world who hasn’t changed because of Covid-19. This tiny but mighty virus has definitely pushed me out of my little safe bubble and made me grow.” She says that it has “made [her] discover abilities that [she] didn’t believe [she] previously possessed”.
Despite these positive insights, it is still worth being aware of potential problems within the healthcare community. A common issue that she mentions is the potential for burnout: “we are often overworked, underpaid and under appreciated. Mixing that with an emotional and mentally taxing job is a recipe for disaster. Most of us are so busy taking care of others that we forget about ourselves. Taking time out for myself at the end of each day to just collect my thoughts has really helped. I’ve also used grounding techniques to help me when I feel overwhelmed or too anxious. It may seem small, but has definitely helped!”
To end on an even more positive note, we asked her whether she wanted to tell us about a particular story of triumph she had experienced recently. Since she is from Sri Lanka, she told us about the way in which her home country has tackled the pandemic and how this has inspired hope and confidence in her. She says “we locked down the country early and had an efficient and tireless public health team that conducted contact tracing. All COVID positive patients were admitted and cared for under medical supervision. The armed forces effortlessly converted buildings into quarantine centers. The public sprang into action creating low cost but highly efficient PPE for front liners, robots to deliver medicine to patients and ventilators. Even though not publicized on a global level, for a tiny island nation, we have made giant strides in the fight against Covid.”
Thank you very much, @scribblingsofamedic, for your inspiring words and advice to other doctors. During times like these, a sense of community and advice from others in similar situations can really go a long way.