The place of medical practice in the world cannot be viewed through a pigeonhole. Good health as a biogenic need remains sine qua non on which all other activities of man are determined and, executed. Most medical practitioners finds fulfillment within the four walls of the hospital, while others has a different view.
In this interview, a medical practitioner, Dr. Bright Ohwerhi Erhuvwu, gives an insight.
What is your experience as a medical practitioner?
I studied Medicine and Surgery at Ternopil State Medical University, Ukraine, and a Post Graduate Diploma at Dnipro Medical Academy, Ukraine and I got my license from Ministry of Health, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Medical practice is an interesting but onerous one. However, there are more to it. So many practitioners do not get fulfilled in the job and are not happy about that until they discover yet other things they can explore with passion, beyond the four walls of the hospital and still affect mankind.
Why is imperative for doctors to do some other outside the hospital?
To start with, I am one of those medical practitioners who do other things from the sideline, and that’s the message l am passing across. As a medical practitioner, I am also a relationship consultant and an author. Already, I have launched my first book entitled ‘Longevity of Love.’ The second one is underway. So I do more outside the hospital. Thus, every medical practitioner should think of offering more of mental, emotional and psychological therapy and prescriptions to not only their patients but also to whoever that needs it. I am aware that all medical practitioners who know their onions knows that most problems they face in this profession are more of emotional, mental and psychological, which do not really require drugs and injections but intangible therapies/antidotes to tackle such mental crisis, which can lead to depression. These problems are psychophysiological in nature.
Let me put it straight; more doctors suffer depression than other persons.
Most doctors do not have time to do other things that can still affect humanity as you are advocating? What do you make out of it?
That’s the jinx we are trying to break. Most doctors are trapped within the hospital and feel that without the hospital they have no identity because they feel they can’t do other meaningful things. Such stereotype is barbaric and unfounded. Note, it’s man that makes time and not otherwise. The in-thing is that doctors should identify other things they can do and pursue it while they practise Medicine. I know you are aware that most doctors are gospel singers, lecturers, artists and the likes. These are people that find fulfillment than those confined within to the hospital day in, day out. Days are gone when a young man or woman would think to study Medicine and end up working in a government hospital or own a private one is the climax, The truth is, there are more we can give outside hospital.
For mental, emotional and psychological problems, how would medical practitioners brace up to the challenge, because studies have shown that most people’s health failures starts from stress, which can lead to depression if not handled accordingly.
Every medical practitioner must have done some non-credit courses in these areas in spite of our different areas of specialization; but it’s not enough; we ought to go further to study more about emotional, mental and psychological crisis of man; that does not mean we lack professionals therein, but people tend to visit the hospital when such cases arise. So, should we send them away or refer them to people they don’t really know can help them?
In Ukraine, their doctors are more of psychologists, relationship consultants, social and emotional therapists, stress managers etc. and they know better than us in Nigeria because they understand the nature of human beyond mere illness. So we need to explore other areas beyond medicine to affect humanity, and I must tell you, attending to patients, day in, day out can be burdensome, energy sapping and brain draining.
How then do you manage health & non-health jobs with family?
I must tell you, it’s unfortunate most doctors sleep in the hospital for weeks and hardly see their families, because when fatigue sets in, it can lead to communication breakdown, which is the beginning of problem in the family. But studies has shown that doctors who practice on part-time basis are more happier and makes more impacts to the society than those who are caged in the hospital.
What informed your book?
It’s in the course of relating with patients that I came to understand that most patients do not just need drugs and injections, but counseling, advise, and follow-up to build their shattered relationships. But unfortunately most hospitals/clinics do not have non-medical department to handle mental, emotional and psychological cases. Like my second book would address (Fractured Love), most people’s problem started from the gap in their relationship and stress they pass through in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, when all these are not addressed, the entire body breaks down. So why not tackle the health problem from the root?
Do you intend to practice in Nigeria?
You and I know the Nigerian medical system is hostile. Most Nigerian medical practitioners overseas are making waves simply because sound medical policies, government support, better environment, continuous research and development and the likes are in place over there, and the minimum qualification of every medical lecturer is PhD. Some of them have PhD in three medical disciplines, and students are not more than 10 in a class, unlike what’s obtainable in Nigeria. So you can imagine. In this case, your guess is as good as mine. Howbeit, I won’t even like to work for any government hospital because I need flexibility to do other things to affect lives.
What advise do you have for doctors?
Doctors must not be stuck within the hospital. Remember there are doctors without borders; they are doing great works. So the climax in this career is not to be a resident doctor. No! There is life beyond residency. Currently, I volunteered with other medical practitioners to do outreach programmes on pro bono. We can do more than medical cycle. We even save more lives outside medicine. Suicide mission, murder etc. are averted by some doctors all over the world because they know life is beyond medicine.