Interestingly tomorrow is the presidential elections, and here I am browsing through the pamphlets that they provided each household regarding the candidates and the goals that they want to achieve. Yet after seeing so many political leaders breaking their promises, I know I am being cynical about whatever they say, but I just can’t help but leaf through the details to see if there is any medical-related. Disappointingly for the two huge favorites, none of them mentioned anything about healthcare or doctor-related welfare.
I know President Ma for once did try to say that he will change the working conditions for nurses and healthcare professionals, but what about doctors? (A point to note: even the nurses seem to think that the regulation doesn’t work and they are still overstretched). Whenever can the working hours of doctors be regulated just like in United Kingdom, where a doctor works in shifts and each of them enjoy a good rest. Many a times we say that the healthcare in Taiwan is deteriorating yet we forget that the causes might be that the doctors are too tired and that increases the chances of wrong diagnosis etc. Dr Tsai, the other candidate, too did not really make any emphasis on such issues. So who is there to voice our concerns?
Perhaps that we as doctors should have more political awareness and we can start as students now. I am not advocating that we should go to the extremes of going on the streets and making violent protests for our rights, for we are already a privileged bunch whom the rest of the society still look up to, maybe till now. The training in school is not only to equip us with clinical skills, but we as students of NTU Medical School, we are trained to be future leaders and for that, we should learn to know about politics and be more socially aware of the happenings in Taiwan as well as in the world. I always believe that having a global outlook is imperative because it allows us to compare ourselves with others and ask ourselves if there are models from outside that can be adapted for our systems. Many of my friends I believe will become future department heads and even hospital executives and leadership qualities can be learnt and even if the political leaders in Taiwan cannot provide a good enough example, maybe we can learn from overseas. Furthermore, we can fight for our own benefits and create a system that suits us best.
We also need to see that many of our seniors emphasized the importance of caring for the society, people like 蔣渭水and 賴和, whom taught us to fight for the less fortunate and be their voices because we, as the so-called elites, should not be restricted to our own circles. What resources we have today is due to the efforts of the rest of the society, and therefore we should learn to give back to society and help to improve the lives of others, not only ours. I am not one to encourage people to go into politics, but sometimes our little collective efforts in voicing out our dissatisfaction at policies may bring politicians to think twice about carrying on. And if in the event that one day, we become politicians ourselves, we must not forget the lessons taught in school, to treat every one as equals, just like we treat every patients as equals and to serve with a compassionate heart.