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Sunday, 20 May 2018 00:00

National Young Healthcare Professional Camp

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, KL & Selangor / Translated by Peggy Lee

TIMA KL & Selangor organized the National Young Healthcare Professional Camp to promote a humanistic approach to healthcare to the young healthcare professionals. [Photograph by Saw Eng Kiar]

On May 20, 2018, TIMA KL & Selangor hosted a National Young Healthcare Professional Camp at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, with the objective of instilling in the participants humanistic approach to healthcare, so that they will learn to respect life, adopt a people-orientated approach and serve the patients irrespective of boundaries in their medical practice.


In order for the fresh healthcare professionals to get the right concepts in providing medical care, TIMA KL & Selangor has since 2014 organized the Hospital Survival Course, which delivers the message that medical care should be borderless, that is, regardless of nationality, religion and ethnic background. It is hoped that all healthcare professionals will uphold the spirit of respecting life and cultivate a heart of compassion, and provide people-orientated medical services.

This year, the programme is renamed “National Young Healthcare Professional Camp (NHEAP)”. Nevertheless, the agenda still served the same objective and focused on shedding some light into the real working environment, thus preparing the young healthcare professionals to cope with their job demands.

Effective communication

The 1-day camp opened with a drum performance by ten TIMA members. It was full of energy, with well-synchronized drum beats. For the plenary session on the first half day of the camp, all participants gathered at the International Hall for three subjects, namely, communication skills, mindful breathing, and balanced diet. After lunch, participants were then grouped according to their specializations for breakout session.

The first talk of the day was “Communication Skills for Healthcare Professionals”, delivered by Clinical Psychologist, Lim Maureen. She showed the participants some embarrassing situations that frequently happen in a hospital through a 3-part sketch presented by volunteers. She then provided some effective ways of communication to handle such situations. The lively and entertaining sketch brought lots of laughter to the participants.

Following that, Maureen invited two participants to act as doctors and try to communicate with their “patients” by applying what they had just learnt. She stressed that when communicating with patients and their families, it is important to be careful with the choice of words, the tone of voice, and to have eye contacts. “As healthcare professionals, we should always show empathy towards our patients, and offer them support and encouragement,” said Maureen. She added that it is more appropriate to use layman terms to enable patients and their families to better understand what is explained. This helps to ease their worries and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

Maureen further elaborated that communication can be either verbal or through body language. Some research studies have shown that body language can deliver more messages than speech. She reminded the participants, “When our body language is inconsistent with our speech, the listeners will tend to receive messages from the former. This means that the patients can actually feel the inconsistency between our words and body language.”

Dr Fong Voon Ken, a young doctor who serves at Hospital Pekan, Pahang, and volunteered to be on stage for the impromptu acting, shared that communicating with the patients was indeed a challenge he always faced at work. He felt that doctors should take the initiative to establish good relationships with patients. Taking himself as an example, he tried to learn the local dialect so that it felt more intimate to the patients. He shared, “I would break the barrier by being humorous and bring the gaps closer by using a tone similar to that of the patients.”

Dr Fong believed that effective communication is essential for healthcare professionals to gain the patients’ trust, thereby enabling them to provide the right remedies.

Mindfulness therapy

Dr Khoo Boon Hock and wife, Dr Teo Hooi Hoon, both members of TIMA KL & Selangor, led the participants to relieve and release their stress through a mindful breathing technique. Dr Khoo emphasized that mindfulness therapy is neither about escaping from reality nor the state of Samadhi. Instead, it is a practice of awareness, where one focuses one’s attention in the present moment. He analysed from a scientific perspective that this is related to our brain function and structure, as well as, physical, psychological and genetic influence.

Lim Pei Tien, a third year student in the Occupational Therapy programme at Perdana University, attended the camp for the first time. She was impressed to see people from different medical specialties coming and learning together, regardless of race and religion. Through volunteering herself in the impromptu acting, she learnt that a medical practitioner should always empathize with and think of the patients.

She felt that the tremendous stress and challenges at work can cause depression and anxiety among the healthcare professionals. Thus, the mindful breathing technique will surely be a great help to her. She remarked, “I am one who tenses up easily. This mindfulness practise can help calm my mind and relieve my stress.”

A balanced diet

Nutritionist Poh Wai Leng informed that the obesity index among Malaysians is rising as people like to dine out. She reminded the participants not to overlook the importance of having a balanced diet despite their hectic work schedules, for an imbalanced diet will cause their health to deteriorate and eventually affect their concentration and work efficiency.

She encouraged everyone to maintain a positive attitude and keep to a healthy diet plan persistently for health’s sake. She also shared some tips, such as, pack and refrigerate/freeze food ingredients based on individual portions, so that they can be thawed and cooked with a microwave conveniently for a quick meal.

She also advised everyone to take more food that are rich in fibres, micronutrients and antioxidant properties; and not to skip their breakfast. Her recommendation for breakfast was to take carbohydrate and protein food, which will keep one full for a long time. She also suggested that everyone replace snacks with fruits, avoid eating while working, abstain from fast food, and take more of low calorie food, like vegetables and fruits.

Working together to benefit society

Dr Mohamed Namazie, President-elect of Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), attended this event for the first time. He was deeply impressed with the medical aid provided by TIMA all over the world, with universal love that transcends religion and race. He was also impressed with Tzu Chi’s volunteer system and operational method, and felt that it should be further promoted to recruit more people to join the charitable missions. He looks forward to collaborating with Tzu Chi, by providing Tzu Chi with professional consultations and manpower, and contributing to society hand in hand.

Dr Ho Eu Chin, an ENT Specialist with Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore, is also a TIMA member. Having benefitted a lot from the camp in 2016, he led a team of 11 members to join the camp this year. He believed that the programmes can inspire the healthcare professionals to serve with empathy.

Through his years of practice in the medical field, Dr Ho observed that many healthcare professionals, especially those who are new to the field, lack the passion in their career. He remarked that due to the pressure at their workplace and accumulated negative energy, many healthcare professionals ended up working for a livelihood instead of their initial intention of saving lives.

The Singaporean participants hoped that they could promote what they had learnt in the camp to healthcare professionals in their country, and to work together with their Malaysian counterparts to organize such camps in Singapore, so as to improve the quality of medical services in their country.

Awakening the initial aspiration

Sia Kim Ming, a Pharmacist, who has been in the field for 20 years, expressed that the camp had awakened his initial aspiration to pursue a career in Pharmacy. He recalled that he used to practise meditation in his younger days and would always reflect upon himself. However, due to a busy daily routine at work, he had gradually lost his patience and forgotten to be gentle when dealing with his patients and colleagues. As a result, they could not communicate effectively at times. He said remorsefully, “I will remind myself to be calm. Only then can I think rationally and perform my daily roles effectively.”

Tan Yee Siong, a Physiotherapist for 12 years, specializes in providing house calls for elderly patients who are unable to visit a hospital for treatment. The camp awakened him to realize that in the midst of a packed work schedule, he had gradually lost his compassion towards other beings. He had this to say to fellow participants, “No matter how challenging our jobs get, we must always find time to calm our minds and reflect upon ourselves. There is nothing that cannot be resolved as long as we are mindful.”

The camp concluded with the 263 participants feeling joyful and inspired. Hopefully, they will remember what they had learnt and become role models in their field.


 

A well-synchronized drum performance by ten TIMA members kick-started the camp. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]   With their eyes shut, the participants learnt how to release their stress by practising mindful breathing. [Photograph by Khor Kok Chin]

A well-synchronized drum performance by ten TIMA members kick-started the camp. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
With their eyes shut, the participants learnt how to release their stress by practising mindful breathing. [Photograph by Khor Kok Chin]
 
Dr Fong Voon Ken (right) commented that effective communication is essential in the medical sector. On the left is Clinical Psychologist, Maureen Lim. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]   Lim Pei Tien volunteered herself to assume the role of a doctor on stage. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]

Dr Fong Voon Ken (right) commented that effective communication is essential in the medical sector. On the left is Clinical Psychologist, Maureen Lim. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
 
Lim Pei Tien volunteered herself to assume the role of a doctor on stage. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]
 
Dr Khoo Boon Hock emphasized that mindfulness therapy is a form of awareness, where one focuses in the present moment. [Photograph by Khor Kok Chin]   Nutritionist, Poh Wai Leng reminded all healthcare professionals not to neglect the importance of having a balanced diet. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]

Dr Khoo Boon Hock emphasized that mindfulness therapy is a form of awareness, where one focuses in the present moment. [Photograph by Khor Kok Chin]
 
 
Nutritionist, Poh Wai Leng reminded all healthcare professionals not to neglect the importance of having a balanced diet. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]
 
Dr Mohamad Namazie, President-elect of MMA looks forward to collaborating with TIMA to benefit society. [Photograph by Lee Kwee Yap]   Thanks to the programmes, Sia Kim Ming,   a Pharmacist, rediscovered his initial aspiration to serve in the medical sector. He hoped he can better manage his emotions to enable him to carry out his daily tasks more effectively. [Photograph by Lee Kwee Yap]

Dr Mohamad Namazie, President-elect of MMA looks forward to collaborating with TIMA to benefit society. [Photograph by Lee Kwee Yap]
 
 
Thanks to the programmes, Sia Kim Ming, a Pharmacist, rediscovered his initial aspiration to serve in the medical sector. He hoped he can better manage his emotions to enable him to carry out his daily tasks more effectively. [Photograph by Lee Kwee Yap]