Thursday 7th November, 2019
Bula Vinaka, Namaste, Assalamo-alaikum and Noa’ia e mau’ri. I would like to thank all the members for all the hard work you have done this week in your respective disciplines. As we near the end of the year, it is only prudent that we reflect and remind ourselves of the honor and privilege that has been bestowed upon us as Doctors. That is exactly how we must view ourselves, as custodians of this noble profession; “A Privilege”. Irrespective of our seniority, whether we are in the Public sector or the private sector, whether we are an intern or a well-established consultant, whether we are in public health or in high end tertiary care, "WE ARE DOCTORS FIRST". We are entrusted with the secrets of our patients, their frailties, their despairs and their fears. We have been equipped with empathy, knowledge and a unique set of skills; some may even call it a gift, to transform an anxious, vulnerable, ill individual to one who is reassured, protected and healed. As we go through our careers, it is very easy to get jaded into thinking that our profession is a "job", and hence diluting its immensity. One only needs to reflect on the enormity of respect for what our profession is about by looking into the eyes of the public at large and therein you will find how high on a pedestal we are actually held. We are role models so let us continually earn the right to be so.
It is vitally important, especially for our younger colleagues to embrace this above truism from the outset. We exist to serve. Humility should be your forbearing attribute in all situations that you are faced with for that will earn you trust and respect. Be prepared to work hard. Never shirk work. Nothing that is worth having comes easy in life. Embrace your responsibilities with arms wide open and when doing a task, do it to perfection. Earn the respect of your patients, peers, superiors and subordinates. We live in blessed times where the medical profession in Fiji is in the higher echelons for remuneration. This is deserved as the longevity of training and the complexity of decision making, the highly technical nature of our craft dictates that the remuneration be appropriate. This increment however, is only recent with the current salary structure coming into existence as of August, 2016. Prior to that, we as a profession were not compensated appropriately. It is with some degree of sadness and nostalgia that we acknowledge some of our older colleagues who served with gusto for a long period on very little salary. They are the giants, on whose shoulders’ we stand today, tall and theirs were the sacrifices from which the seed of prosperity was born; the fruits of which we are enjoying today. Our younger colleagues start on salaries that are far loftier than what seasoned consultants used to earn in the yesteryears.
Let us not become complacent, colleagues. There are no certainties in life (except for death and taxes!). If our profession is enjoying a purple patch currently then it comes with an even greater need for us all to step up our game. We need to continually justify why we are amongst the top salary earners in our beloved nation by being the consummate professionals, by being the hardest workers and by embracing our public at large. FMA is very concerned with reports about negative behavior observed in our midst. We need to be vigilant of such behaviour as it can be taken as reflecting our collective professionalism. We all have an obligation to support each other in upholding the reputation and integrity of the profession.
There is now in place an objective measure of the efficiency of work we do in the form of job evaluations and these should be viewed in a positive light and taken as a tool to measure all the good that you have done. At our core, we are all clinicians; let us all do good clinical work in the foundation of our being and then build on top of that. Let us be collegiate, let us fairly share clinical loads and responsibilities and not find innovative ways of avoiding our core responsibilities. A load shared between two is a load halved. Let us look out for each other so we can all be on our A game, all the time. Let us not allow any reason for us to end this purple patch by listening to constructive criticism and amending accordingly. Being a Doctor is a privilege. Let us embrace this truth.
Vinaka vakalevu, Khuda Hafiz, Daniyabaad and Fa’eksia
Dr Basharat Munshi
Fiji Medical Association