Thu | Jul 18, 2024

Implement psychosocial training for healthcare workers

Published:Wednesday | June 19, 2024 | 12:08 AM


Last week, I heard the experience of an acquaintance who went to the doctor, only to be met with barely veiled apathy as he spoke of her condition. According to him, she is going to die regardless, and it is only a matter of time before the inevitable. Despite her best efforts to help herself and the encouragement of family and well-wishers, the attitude of the doctor felt like a fresh slap in the face.

I am sure many people have their fair share of horror stories about the lack of empathy healthcare staff display at clinics, hospitals, private practices, etc. It makes me wonder if the only requirements these professionals need to endure for success are a good academic track record, good clinical skills and student loan debt. Are they receiving any psychosocial training or evaluation? Are their mental health and burnout rates being evaluated and addressed, so that they can be of good to themselves and their patients?

For professions that require direct contact with people, consider their care and well-being and can tip the scale between life and death, more than just years of experience and grades need to be considered. During training, prospective healthcare professionals should be evaluated on skills like cooperation, empathy, tact, respect, team communication and active listening not only on clinical rotations, but also among their peers and instructors.

These evaluations should continue throughout their career. Those who do not show any considerable progress need to either be offered additional training or take time off from work or school. In more radical situations, they should be offered a position in a more research-based profession. Finally, students and professionals who have experience in psychology, counselling and social work ought to be considered more for employment.

While the pursuit of a career for money in most circumstances can be respected, money cannot be the only or the biggest driving factor for entering healthcare. I am sure there is some degree of desensitisation to seeing people bloody, messy, vulnerable and dying every day.