No price tag on quality time
It is now common knowledge that an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Carbonear General Hospital has resigned from his position, effective at the end of October.
Dr. Andy Narine, who has been working at the hospital since July of last year, handed in his resignation at the end of last month.
Actually, he is the second of the hospital’s two obstetrics and gynecology specialists to tender their resignations this year, the first having resigned in January.
As critical as it is, Dr. Narine’s resignation is not the most important issue here. Doctors, not unlike employees in any profession, reserve the right to resign from their jobs if and when they feel it is necessary. This is a given and is not to be infringed upon.
However, in this case, involving Dr. Narine and Carbonear General Hospital, evidently the issues are more systemic.
The Compass has learned Dr. Narine resigned for two primary reasons.
First, his workload and, second, lack of support from Eastern Health.
Coincidentally, according to business know-how and absoluteGLOBA websites, career counsellors state employees quit their jobs for the following two top reasons:
• Management demands one person do the jobs of two or more people, resulting in longer days and weekend work.
• Management communicates poorly with staff in an open, transparent and timely manner.
Who suffers when a doctor is expected to carry an unrealistic workload that sees him/her working long hours day after day without respite or promise of a better future?
The short answer is: everybody. A doctor who is exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally is unable to effectively serve patients. Patients themselves can suffer when their doctor is bone weary and at risk of dispensing wrong advice. And, in case one forgets, the family suffers because of an absentee husband/father.
Doctors encourage their patients to make room for downtime, time away from their jobs, time for themselves, and quality time for their families. Ironically, doctors are often the very ones who are expected to maintain a gruelling work schedule that can lead to utter exhaustion. Disillusionment then sets in.
If Dr. Narine is expected to work ungodly hours — eg., being on call 24 hours a day for more than a week — then that’s simply wrong. Would it be possible for Eastern Health to make doctors’ workloads more manageable?
Employers expect employees to communicate well with them. However, this ball rolls both ways. Employees also have expectations of their employers.
Dr. Narine declined a request for an interview with The Compass. However, one question that begs an answer is the nature of the lack of support he senses from Eastern Health. Is the health authority able to ease a doctor’s burden in such cases?
Yes, doctors are well-paid, and yes, perhaps we are envious! However, all the gold in Fort Knox can never compensate for the impossible working conditions Dr. Narine describes.
If Dr. Narine’s concerns are legitimate — and there’s no reason to think they are not — then the surprise is he didn’t resign earlier.