Communication Skills

Yesterday I received a direct call from my specialist. In a very warm and friendly tone. She asked if I was working that day, I told her that I will be coming in for my PM Syift. She said it was alright and asked that I call her back once I come in for work.

Of course her being a specialist, I thought I’d just go see her directly for I fear I may not be able to comprehend properly the anticipated discussion. Furthermore, I feel its better to have a face to face conversation so I could interpret her facial expression and body language better.

The main point is  – no patient died. But she highlighted a few loopholes regarding the management of the patient from my side in casualty and from her side in the wards. Nothing adverse happened to the patient but she felt a few improvements can be done in the future for better patient care. That 5 minute private talk with her was one of the most valuable lessons on communication skills I have ever learnt especially when it involves a superior with her team members.

When I first came to see her,  she made sure only the relevant people were in the room – for patients confidentiality purposes and also for my own privacy I suppose.

She asked me how I was –  my pregnancy and if I was well. If I was tired and congratulated me as she only knew recently. It was a good mukaddimah to make me feel at ease.

Then she laid out the background of the case so we could agree that it was the same case and we both know which patients we were talking about.

She mentioned my good points in the management of the patient, adding on her own points and experience which supported my decision at that point in time. Only after, did she suggested a few things on how we could BOTH handle the case better. Mind you, she is a specialist already but here she is, discussing with me a mere (so called senior medical officer) on how we could BOTH move forward and rectify these loopholes we come across our cases.

Obviously, anyone in my position would want to give my full cooperation and improve on the knowledge that I have. KAn??? I was happy to share my experience of the case with my colleagues and everyone was on board and took note of how things can be better.

There was no need for name-shaming in the Watsapp Group. No need for sarcasm or name calling. Or sabotaging. And the message still gets across. To the right person, to be disseminated to the relevant team members and such.

Wonderful teacher. Excellent communication skills. Could not ask for more.


Gajah berjuang bersama gajah, pelanduk mati di tengah2

It was nice to end the day with a humorous pantun. And dinner for 2 adults (with a sleeping kindie). After all the drama!


Today I am reminded of a comic picture I once came across on Facebook. Of how 1 person saw the number 6 and the one opposite him saw a 9. Theoretically they are both right if we were to look at it from where they are standing. But wouldn’t it be nicer if they could show the person opposite them what they are seeing by bringing him to where they are standing. So they could both see the number 6 and 9. Coming from that same figure. 

While it is interesting to have a patient with a list of differential diagnosis to work out – at the end of the day, when something needs to be done quickly – we want these opposing parties to agree on a common ground which will benefit the patient. But who are we to make suggestions. So its like how a friend puts it – let the big guns decide. We will be the little elves helping magic to happen.

You don’t agree with me? You become a specialist first, and then you come back and argue with me …


… tapi sekarang…most people seems to think that they know better.

A patient for an elective operation drank before his scheduled time. It was not a large amount but fluids in an elective op is still fluids. I had a choice to just cancel the case or reschedule his time, after a discussion with the operating surgeon of course.

The agreed time to call the patient was 11AM, after other cases are done – to allow enough NBM hours. In a way, I was taking full responsibility of any inevitable things that would happen – if any. After all, as part of the anaesthesia team – we have taken every single measure the best that we could to minimise risk. Advice, preop assessment consultation and all sorts.

Frustratingly, my 11am instructions to call the patient was over ruled. BY SOMEONE WHO THINKS HE/SHE KNOWS BETTER. There are reasons why I called for 11AM. kalau tak faham, jgn buat2 pandai. Kalau patient ada morbidity bila induce awal, yang jawab aku tau!! 

I felt like saying,” hah.. dah panggil tuh induce lah sendiri “

But of course – since patients outcome and best interest gains the upper hand – Minci did whats best.

  • kept her mouth shut
  • did not vent on facebook
  • controlled her emotions because innocent personnel should not suffer and we don’t want to give the wrong medications, right?
  • shifted my focus elsewhere

Alhamdulilah, the op went fine.

Meet ‘harle Quin’

It was one of those moments when I felt blessed to be able to witness a rare miracle in life. I had a choice to initially go for another teaching session but I opted to stay because casualty looked busy.

Then she came for a runny nose. She survived her neonatal period. It was an interesting life encounter. And to see her mother being this unwavering pillar of strength kept me in awe. I hope this little ‘Harle Quin’ would get to live a long life. Amin.