Wednesday, March 11, 2020

How to live an authentic life and why should we consider helping our patients to do that

After many years working in palliative care, Bronnie Ware wrote an internet blog about top regrets of the Dying, and it went viral.  She later on wrote a book about the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying to help inspire people to positively address these issues.

One of those regrets is not being able to live a life that is true to oneself.  So the big question is, how can we help our patients to do that and start living an authentic life right now.

In order to live a life true to oneself, we need to know what our values are and the priority of those values.  What are the qualities and the type of life that we want to create, and can we get very clear on that? What will that look like?

What are our values around our work and career?
What are our values around our families, romantic relationships, our children, and our friends?
What are our values around the type of community we want to live in and contribute to?
Once we are clear on this, we can then use it as our inner compass to live a life that is true to ourselves and our values.  When one's life is congruent with one's values, then this may result in inner harmony or some may describe as, "happiness".

Part of Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) is to help people live a life that is congruent with their values.

Check out our post on how to work out what your values are and my take on Happiness and check out other posts on this blog about Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Hand washing remains one of the most effective way of reducing bacterial and viral infections including COVID-19


Hand washing is still one of the most important way to reduce our chances of contracting bacteria or viruses including the coronavirus and getting COVID-19. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth or face with your hands. Washing your hands with soap and water is more ideal but if not possible, then sanitisers can be useful but choose one with at least 60% alcohol content.

In the OSCE exam, you may have to wash your hands before and after examining a patient or simply state it depending on the situation.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Short video.... How to explain to patients about the infectivity of the coronavirus during the incubation period and the importance of self quarantine during this period

If we have had a significant exposure to the novel coronavirus eg coming back from a high risk area like Wuhan or other areas as updates are available, we are advised to self quarantine for 14 days. So why is that? We believe that the coronavirus has an incubation period of around 14 days and during this period, despite having no symptoms, we may still spread the infection. The incubation period is defined as the period between the exposure to the infection and the appearance of symptoms from that infection. Hence, it is very important that we self isolation or self quarantine for 14 days after exposure to the virus. If after 14 days and you do not have symptoms, you are then regarded as not having contracted the disease.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Short video.... How fearful should our patients be about the coronavirus?

I think with anything new, unpredictable, and potentially life threatening like the coronavirus infection, it is normal to feel fearful and scared. Having said that, too much fear can lead to panic, which can lead to unhelpful responses and actions. Too little fear also be a problem too. It can lead to complacency resulting in the problem potentially getting much worse. So in summary, one has to find the balance between having to much fear versus too little fear. Having a healthy level of fear around the coronavirus outbreak is probably a good thing in order to motivate us to take appropriate actions to prevent further spread of the disease.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Why self care is so important in the Doctoring business

When the plane goes down, we need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before we can assist others. In this way, we can look after many other people.

When we try to rescue others, we remember DANGER as our first step.  It’s part of the DRSABCD action plan of first aid.

Self care is not about being selfish. It’s common sense.  We need to self care in order to look after many!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Short Video.... Tips for New Graduates on the 3 Human Needs

It's the beginning of 2020 and I remember how difficult it was to adjust to my first year of clinical practice. There were a lot of things to learn, many late hours, and we were often faced with many uncertainties. New graduates will find that the first year of their working career quite challenging, and there will be many, many readjustments in order to keep our physical, mental, and social health in good shape. I with my brother Tom(Dentist), a collaboration with HealthProXchange, explore here the 3 human needs and how these are important for new graduates to be aware and try to fulfil them. The 3 human needs are: 1 Need for stability, security, safety and control 2 Need for connection as we are all social beings 3 Need for growth, newness and variety Like water for trees, if one or more needs are not met, stress will be the likely outcome. If a tree gets sunlight, nutrients and water, it will be more likely to thrive.
Reference: 1 Maslow hierarchy of needs 2 Rogerian Psychology 3 Humanistic Psychology Consider joining our closed Facebook Forum via links on our website

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Tips of the day on consultation skills

We often listen to judge, respond and take action, but sometimes, it is very important to listen to simply perceive and understand, especially in the primary care setting where we are dealing with highly undifferentiated problems. If we listen to respond rather than to understand, it may lead us down the wrong path, and possibly lose our rapport with our patients too. Not easy but certainly a skill we can better master. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

My tips for Doctors who are about to sit their OSCE exams

MINDSET... get it right.

1 Wear your normal clinic clothes to be in the “same clinical mindset”. Bring your own tools including stethoscope.  (Was told that only stethoscope is allowed now so check).  Note.... Watches are not allowed.

2 You are NOT an exam candidate.

You ARE the Doctor and in front of you are sometimes difficult patients and not difficult examiners. Stay in the role.

3 The day will be easier than your normal clinic day because everything will run on time. There will be no fit ins. No emergency cases. No phone calls. So it’s easier than your normal day.

4 Use your 3mins well. Have a structure. Remember what is asked of you ie management, examination, short case or long case.

5 When stuck, stay in the role and do a bit of summary to get you back to the rhythm.

“So I am a bit confused can you clarify that for me  again”.

Have some “lifelines” phrases to use rather than simply freeze.

If you don’t know... maybe consider “I don’t know about that but I will find out. Also, it’s important in medicine that when we don’t know something, it’s important to know what is not. And I don’t think it is this, this and this.” And roll from there.

6 and as my teacher always use to say, remember to take your brain with you.