REASONS TO BE A DOCTOR IN INDONESIA (OR NOT TO BE?)

October 17, 2017 Jessica Christy

So, here I am. A doctor. A qualified medical doctor. Standing on the edge of crossroads, wondering what to do next.

You might be wondering why should I experiencing this kind of confusion. As a legal medical doctor, I should be working at those good hospitals, right? Well, my friend, a journey of becoming a doctor is not that easy.

Let's go back to those years when I was sitting in my high school chair, wondering what should I take on college. Dentist was my first choice, but they said the working utensils for dentist was quite pricey and after doing some research, I was not into it. Well, my mom suggested to take a medical school and without thinking twice I took it. Good thing about it was I kinda aced it. I enjoyed it better when I entered my clerkship program (some of you know this as ko-as/co-assistant). I knew that I love being a doctor ever since. It's such a blessing that I enjoyed the learning process of being a doctor because some of them might be taking medical school just because they're coming from medical family. I do grateful that those days back then brought such a good memories and I could say my medical college did a great job by harvesting they way of thinking and processing to become a good doctor.

After those 6 years and took an Hippocratic Oath, the government required the fresh graduate doctor to take an internship program. It's a program that necessitate several doctors to stay and work in one city for a year. You might be working in Jakarta, part of East Java, Bali, or even one little island in Papua. Work as a doctor in emergency department, ward, and puskesmas were our jobs back then. It's a good phase where you could feel how the real world are, how to act like a professional one in the hospital. I do remember my first near-to-death-patient. I was the only doctor in the ward with several nurses and I had to make the call about what to do next, about when to start the CPR, about what medication to use. Oh such an adrenaline rush. In fact, I am loving every second of it. Every patient is a unique one and they really are good teachers to me. The moment they smiled to you, the moment they said their gratitude, was just amazing. Imagine one kid came to the Emergency Department, with inflammation of the brain membrane and after those two weeks of sleepless nights, he woke up, without any fever and cry, and his parents were saying "thank you" with teary eyes. Amazing.

So back here, I am confuse, because of the path I have to take. Being a specialist is my next goal and achieving this thing is far from easy. Picking the next place to work correlate with the next few years in my life. Should I take another year in secluded area in Indonesia (so that the government would give me a recommendation letter that I came from the secluded area)? Should I work in government hospital? Should I work in private hospital? Every step I choose can really bring me to different path.

The thing is, most general practitioner (GP) want to be a specialist, but not all succeed. Not because they are not smart enough, but the chances are not quite big. Moreover the one that come for doctors from private medical school. Chances are hard to get. Should  I say that races and religion take big part in the acceptance in specialist program? Well, I can't tell, but I am sure you know what I mean ;)

Shoud I take the specialist program in Indonesia? Yes, if I'm planning to work in Indonesia. I could really take the specialist program overseas, where multicultural are much appreciated, but unfortunately I have to take another 2 years for the degree equalization and surely it's not easy.

I am writing this not because I have a bitterness in my heart. I am writing this because deep down in my heart, I believe that Indonesia's system could be better than this. As much as I hate about how those racism affect me, I still love being a doctor. I never differ people by their label when I treat the patients, and I hope Indonesia do not differ me by label when I am chasing my dream.

A medical doctor,
Jessica Christy Limanjaya

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