No price tag on qual­ity time

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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.

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