Study medicine in the middle of life

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We can learn this from those who study medicine in the middle of life…

I’m a mentor in a student program. We meet once a semester with different topics for a given day, and at the end students go with a mentor through strengths and weaknesses, development and plans for the future. There are two students in my class who already have careers. Göran härdelin is a civil engineer and has worked on organizational change and leadership in the business world. Anders Forss is a lawyer and diplomat. For both, the desire to work closer to people led to the choice of a career change.

Getting to know older students is an asset. Discussions and meetings will be satisfactory. Therefore, I proposed an interview about how they perceive the study, the role of the doctor and care in general.

During my years as a medical student and later a physician’s assistant, the organization was hierarchical. Everyone was looking at a doctor who was a given boss-experienced with medical knowledge and proper assessment. Therefore, it is interesting to hear how they both perceive the organization of care.

Göran härdelin sees a strong desire to work and an encouraging learning culture as something to build on. At the same time, there are shortcomings in the way the care chain communicates. Time pressures place high, sometimes unjustified, demands on both the doctor and the patient to be focused, to pass on relevant information to each other and not to stray from the thread.

“Another thing is how doctors circulate from place to place. More continuity would be needed. Unfortunately, there seems to be a gap between management and clinical staff. And organizations without leadership and with a high turnover of staff quickly fail even in simpler things, such as a shared breakfast or the appearance of a cafe.

Anders Forss clearly sees how top management draws energy and concentration from core business and, together with cumbersome administration and time pressures, creates a malicious triad. The experience of older colleagues should be highlighted more clearly. Also experience with all different categories of employees. “Suggestion boxes are not enough.”

They both see similarities, as well as differences, between their previous work and the caring profession. They draw attention to the lack of interest of doctors in management and leadership. “In business, the goal of many is to become a manager. That’s status and power. As a doctor, it’s the other way around. Everyone looks at the leading specialist: “the disadvantage of this is that clinicians give up management in care. Understanding how this “works in reality” is lost where organizational decisions are made. They also disagree with expressions such as” customer ” and “recipient of care” about patients. “In my previous job, the processes and the end product were at the center. There is something very beautiful about the relationship between the patient and the medical staff.«

Anders Forss believes that the clinical look and sense of what is important and urgent, matures over the years. Similarity to diplomatic work: “an ambassador usually has more ice in his stomach than a young diplomat.”

Patients also pay attention to age. When I was a young assistant at a psychiatric clinic in Lund I had to talk to a patient, I didn’t get it. “You are too young-you have nothing to offer.”Unlike older students. Some patients think they have more medical knowledge because they look older!

There are usually about 20 senior medical students on the course [1] and it is not difficult to agree with the following statement: “We have a fantastic country where you can have a chance to change careers later in life”.

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