Standing up for Myself

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I am a girl, who is confident about her plans in pursuing her dreams. I even told my mom, “Ma, I want to save up some money from my salary and study for a Degree part-time. The University is close to my current hostel, this is the perfect opportunity!”

After getting the degree and job hunting. I moved away from my hometown and was 172 kilometres away from my parents, all to pursue a career as an Assistant Medical Officer (Physician Assistant for short). There wasn’t a single sad thought in my mind and heart when I was moving away, because I knew that being an Assistant Medical Officer in a renowned Medical Centre in Malaysia is what I want and have wished for.

Although my heart was in the right place and I was pursuing my dreams, things in the Medical Centre aren’t as perfect as I have imagined.

On my 2nd day in the ER, I was helping one of the seniors, who was assisting the ER Resident Medical Officer in taking the ABG (Arterial Blood Gas) test on a patient’s wrist. I didn’t receive a proper orientation when I got in to the Medical Centre.

When the senior went out for a few supplies, the RMO signalled me with his hand. I handed him a syringe, but he threw the syringe to the injection trolley and signalled his hand to me again. I didn’t have a clue in what he wanted me to give him, so I asked “May I know what you need, doctor?”

Suddenly, the atmosphere changed drastically.

He started shouting towards me, everybody is able to hear him yelling at me.

“What kind of a AMO are you that you don’t even know how to assist a doctor? Such a disgrace! Why did they hire this kind of people, why do they let these people work here.”

After that, he immediately went and complained to my Nurse Manager in Mandarin, which he didn’t know that I could actually understand Mandarin.

“Why is she allowed to work here, she didn’t even know how to assist me, so stupid!” and the Nurse Manager responded, “She is new, give her some time to learn.”

Getting scolded, scrutinised, shouted at, demotivated; these are very common for those who works in the Medical line, so it’s nothing shocking and surprising for me. But as days go by, it gets uglier and uglier, and I feel my patient meter is being tested.

To be honest, I wanted to quit after being there for only a month, but I told myself I am not a quitter.

The first few weeks made me wonder, how did the Junior Staff Nurses do this everyday? How did they cope being around such bullies?

I wanted to prove that the hardships I faced was part of the learning experience and is going to transform me into more of a resilient person. Unfortunately, I lost my confidence before reaching that state.

I have been repeatedly shouted by the same RMO without knowing any idea or what fault I did to get scolded this way. I even asked colleagues did I do anything wrong, but she just told me that the doctor has always been like that, treating newbies like shits. I felt that he was bullying not only me but the seniors as well.

Eventually I told my mom that it’s getting uglier here, I don’t know if I have enough strength to keep going, but my mom used the ‘Everyone goes through the same shit at work’ card on me.

After 3 weeks, I fell into Anxiety and Depression. I was having insomnia, I lost my appetite, which caused me to lose 3 kilos in that 3 weeks. I get severe headaches from time to time, which is weird for me because I never had migraines before.

Every single day in the morning, I have to persuade myself to go to work, dreading the hours, and my stomach starts churning up whenever I step into the ER.

After a month, it got to a point where I was having a hard time remembering a patient’s name, even after 10 minutes. I felt suffocating and troubled. I have to do something about it. After all, I’m dealing with lives here, not paperwork.

So, I have to put myself (and my health) first, I have to start taking care of myself. Realising all of this, I decided to resign.

A few months ago, I felt so confident about myself and was so happy since I was going with what I’ve planned, but reality kicked in and now, I felt terrified and worried about my mental health.

There was no room in my heart for the heartbreak and regrets from resigning. When it affects your health, your body and your life, you have to stand up for yourself. It’s in no one’s hands but myself to grow and move on, so I shouldn’t feel that much regrets and guilt.

I continued in working on myself and I’m slowly regaining a sense of purpose. Even though I’m not fully healed, I have managed to be in a much better place in my life.

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