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DOCTOR’S PROFILE: Dr Stephen Mwenje

Hello dear Subscriber! We’re back again with another interesting doctor’s story. Why don’t we listen to him?

Esther: Thank you so much Dr Stephen for finding time to have this interview. Tell us more about yourself.

Dr Stephen: My name is Stephen Mwenje, I am 28 years old, born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. I studied as an undergraduate at the University of Nairobi and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB).

I later did my internship at the Machakos Referral Hospital in Machakos town, Kenya for a period of one year. This is my second-year post internship. Currently, I work in the private sector in outpatient and inpatient departments as a general practitioner.

Motivation towards medicine

Dr Stephen: I always wanted to become a doctor since childhood. I was a member of the health club in high school and had a desire to interact with and ultimately help people with health needs. I had mentors
who inspired me to join medicine. I must say studying biology and chemistry which were core subjects for a person who wanted to study medicine in undergraduate, were among my best subjects.

Esther: That’s interesting. What is the major thing you would want to accomplish in your medical career?

Dr Stephen: I intend to become a general surgeon and a part time researcher. I would also want to integrate modalities of imaging such as Point of Care Ultrasound into the daily clinical practice. This will
ultimately improve patients’ outcome.

Working together to improve patients wellbeing

Esther: How do you collaborate with other primary healthcare providers in your line of duty to ensure the patient gets the best medical attention? 

Dr Stephen: I do follow up on the progress of patients that I attend to. I achieve this by ensuring I have the contact details of both the patient and their primary health care provider. I make timely consultations in a case where I need more information about an aspect of patient care.

Esther: How do you approach diagnoses and treatments for patients?

Dr Stephen: I prefer a multidisciplinary approach to patient care where health care workers of different cadres work as a team to provide care to patients. We strive to identify what a patient’s most urgent health needs are and address these first. This involves prioritization of treatment goals and wide consultation among team members.

Esther: What is your philosophy with medicine and treating patients?

Dr Stephen: I adhere to ethical principles of medicine. Patient safety is paramount. I strive to avoid any measures that could potentially worsen a patient’s current health status.

Balancing practise of medicine and social life

Dr Stephen: I’ve had to put in a lot of planning in order to handle stress and pressure that arises at work. Some days are busy and have long working hours. This brings a need to set time for specific work-related activities to ensure that I allocate sufficient time for leisure activities.
My family has been supportive by giving me the morale and moral support to wade through this challenging and exciting field of medicine.

Esther: And what do you do for fun?

Dr Stephen: I’m a fan of the gym. I visit when I’m not at work.

Medicine in Practise

Dr Stephen: Medicine is quite a challenging field. There is a lot of information that a doctor needs to understand. A doctor needs to be up to date with the latest development in their field. I have had to put in a lot of planning to be able to read and understand large volumes of information while at the same
time updating myself on current practices.

Esther: What have you achieved in your career course?

Dr Stephen: Since graduation, I have been able to pursue and complete successfully short courses in Advanced Cardiac life support, Research Skills and now Point of Care ultrasound training that is ongoing. I have also had the opportunity to work as the doctor in charge of an outpatient facility where I coordinated all activities pertaining patient care on a day to day basis.

Esther: What are the experiences working with sick people?

Dr Stephen: Working with sick people has been a humbling experience for me. I have developed and
integrated soft skills such as patience, listening skills and empathy while interacting with sick persons. The experience has also strengthened my confidence in the effectiveness of modern science in diagnosis and treatment of common clinical problems in patients.

Esther: What excites you about medicine in general?

Dr Stephen: Medicine offers me great opportunities to interact and network with colleagues in different
places in the world. This gives me a global perspective about various aspects of human health in different places. I’m a member of different doctors’ forums.

Esther: Do you keep yourself updated with current trends?

Dr Stephen: Yes, I do. To be relevant especially in this field one has to keep updated at all times.

I participate in continuous professional development courses, CMEs, webinars and seminars to update myself with the current trends.

Challenges in medicine and its solutions

Dr Stephen: A big challenge that I have experienced in the health sector in Kenya is the slow rate of adoption of modern innovations in patient care. For example, many hospitals still use paper files to record clinical notes instead of the more efficient electronic health records that have been shown to be
more sustainable in the long term.

Esther: And how do you think this challenges should be addressed?

Dr Stephen: Individual health care workers and institution should make effort to get training on the use of modern technology in health care.

Esther: Where do you see Kenya and Africa at large in terms of Healthcare in years to come?

Dr Stephen: The vision of healthcare in Kenya is to provide a healthy, productive and globally competitive nation. The vision of healthcare in East Africa is to provide equitable, affordable and accessible healthcare for all its citizens.

Esther: Thank you so much for your time Dr Stephen.

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