Friday, August 24, 2012

An Infectious Disease

Many people think that working in private healthcare industry means we're better paid and the money comes from customers who are willing to pay for better services, as compared to government hospitals. Very often, even the staff themselves think that horrible customers with ridiculous demands are whom they have to put up to for a (better) living.


It depends on your position and years of service to really have apple-to-apple comparison of the salary. Grossly to me, somehow I think goverment gives more attractive pay than certain healthcare companies I came across. Secondly, I've heard stories about superb services by government hospitals that deserve to be credited for.

That aside, what worries and angers me more is the fact that the society thinks "excellent services" includes putting up with irrespectful behaviour from the patients. Even if one is sick and has mood swings, he STILL needs to apologise after realising that he has acted in such unacceptable way. The thought that you're paying high price for treatment in hospital doesn't mean you buy our dignity, too. Our conscience never allows us to spit in your food or cause unnecessary harm to you when you're weak and vulnerable. In other words, there is no way we are going to revenge even if we wanted to.

Some still think that no matter what, customers are still always right and we depend on them to put food on our tables. With hospitals springing up like mushroom after rain in recent years, bosses will feel the competition and customers will like the options available and more convenient to them. I always applaud effort to improve services, but not to the extent of feeding the notion that money is everything - when you're sick and feel that you've lost dignity in living, "at least" you still have healthcare provider to step on. THAT is the real sickness one is having. You need to get well, pay to those who can heal you the fastest, and get back on life. You don't need ego, don't pay to those who bring out the worst of you.

Being a phlebotomist under training for almost 2 months now, I do come across some interesting patients, and I do learn to extend my services such as looking for blanket or prepare hot milo for patients when they say they're cold, give them direction when they're lost in the building, get them on a wheelchair and help them to lie down on a bed should they feel dizzy, and went to check on them later, give them words of comfort if they're afraid of needles. I'm doing this not because I am paid to. I'm serving you because you're sick and need comfort, and resources are available for me to do so. And I will be doing the same to whoever that doesn't pay me, too. My current employer does pay me well. But nothing will stop me from leaving if I don't like what I am doing - exactly the case when I left my previous employer. 

But what is taking a toll on me is the kind of complaints I heard that was filed against my colleagues. The society and industry makes us think that if we want to work in this industry we have to take it all in, and this is what we will get if we can afford to pay for treatment in private hospital. No. Never. Regardless of the kind of services, be it hospitalisation or waiting table or banking services, you can never pay enough to buy one's respect and dignity. We are patient to your rude behaviour because we want to, not we have to, but it has a limit. Many times colleagues and I just shake our heads and sigh when we hear another nonsensical complaint filed.

What is the society becoming?