Hello MedicScan Subscriber! We are back again with an exciting doctor’s story! Let’s welcome Dr Esther on board to share her story. With no further ado, let’s get to know her even better!
Esther: Thank you so much Dr Esther for agreeing to be part of this interview. Please let us more about yourself; your early life.
Where it all began
Dr Esther: I am Esther Kibor, currently in my 6th year of Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at Kenya Methodist University. I would describe myself as an ambitious, go- getter and all- rounded individual. My ambitious and go-getting attitude dates back to as far as I can remember.I am the third child in a family of 4 siblings. We live in Nakuru County.
I started my early school years in a little known village day-school in Nyahururu called Valley View Academy where I studied till class 5 ,later transferred to Nyahururu Visions Academy in Laikipia County where I completed my primary school education program, scoring 387/500 marks in 2012. I would later join a national school at the heart of Nyandarua County called Karima Girls’ High School. Despite the chilling weather in the region being on the wind ward side of Aberdare Ranges, I am grateful to have scored an impressive A- in a year (2016) where the number of A’s in the country were reduced to just 141. This ensured that I was among the best candidates in society’s standards.
By God’s grace I got an admission letter to join MBChB in Kenya Methodist University under Government sponsorship and the rest is history.
Motivation and Medicine
Dr Esther: I always wanted to impact people’s lives directly and what other better profession than Medicine. Being able to treat, restore hope and make someone live a bit longer whenever possible was my motivation.
Esther: Why did you choose Medicine and not other fields such as Pharmacy or Nursing?
Dr Esther: To me Medicine gives me a wide range of specialties I can go into and also the intense learning in Medicine broadens the scope of human disease and management as compared to Pharmacy and Nursing.
Esther: What do you like most about practising medicine and why?
Dr Esther: Medicine allows me have direct impact on people’s lives by improving their quality of life and restoring hope to some degree.
Esther: Amazing. Moving on, what is the major thing you would want to accomplish in your medical career?
Dr Esther: The thing I would really to accomplish is bridge the gap between deaf and dumb people and quality health care. I have always been passionate about the deaf community and it is my hope that one day I will achieve this dream.
The bigger picture in Medicine
Dr Esther: Medical education has broadened my scope of understanding Medicine and therefore I will use it to put into use the skills and knowledge to improve patient outcomes.
Esther: Which other medical field would you want to pursue and why?
Dr Esther: I would like to pursue Paediatric Surgery in future. This is because for one, I totally love Surgery, the autonomy of exploring human body and recognising the beautiful anatomy and again, Paediatric because I love love children and would like to deal with them later on.
If not Paediatric Surgery, I would consider pursuing Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery or Paediatrics and Child Health.
In the line of practise
Esther: All the best as you focus to further your education. How do you collaborate with other primary healthcare providers in your line of duty to ensure the patient gets the best medical attention?
Dr Esther: At my level, my greatest role is in clerkship as well as management of patients under supervision and I collaborate with my colleague students as well as my seniors in ensuring that no important history is missed, all baseline investigations are done and that patient gets timely management.
Esther: How do you approach diagnoses and treatments for patients?
Dr Esther: By consolidating all the knowledge accumulated from basics to pathophysiology of medical conditions,I am able to come up with a provisional diagnosis and differential diagnoses and laboratory plus radiological investigations help come up with the definite diagnosis. Once this is done, it is possible to tailor treatment to the specific condition of course with consultation from my seniors.
Esther: I am loving this conversation and so far it has been amazing. Kindly explain to us about how have you been able to handle work-related stress and time management considering that you’re balancing between family/individual and work?
Dr Esther: For one, I acknowledge that my career is met with so much stress and responsibilities and as such I have a strong support system that will always hold me when things get too overwhelming. I also ensure to take a rest when am tired and not to overstretch myself. Lastly, ensuring to keep my social life alive to avoid being a workaholic and missing out on life which tends to heighten stress and raise anxiety levels.
Esther: And what do you do for fun?
Dr Esther: I love watching movies and series especially Investigative, Drama and Family Genres whenever am resting or over the weekends which help calm me. In addition, I love outdoor activities such as going for strolls, nature walks and out with my girlfriends. Swimming is also something I do whenever I can.
Esther: That is an interesting yet fun active life. What aspects of practising medicine do you find challenging and why? Have you been able to solve them?
Dr Esther: Medicine is quite demanding and takes so much time and effort which steals my youthful years to some extent. In addition, dealing with bad patient outcomes on a daily basis takes a huge toll on my mental health and is sometimes quite discouraging that you can’t save everyone.
What has helped me so far is acceptance of the fact that as doctors we just treat and healing is left for God/Allah our supernatural being. About time ,I try my best not to shelf all my extracurricular activities because of medicine. Has it solved? No. But the strategies put aid in easing the process for me.
Esther: Interesting. What have you achieved in your career course?
Dr Esther: I would say other than gaining Medical Education, I have gotten very important skills in life that have continued to shape the person I am today such as Communication skills. During my 6 years, I have done courses in Global Health, Kenyan Sign Language and Obstetric Ultrasound which have equipped me with skills that make me outstand from the rest as well as enable me have more positive outcomes.
For instance, I can communicate with deaf and dumb patients presenting at the hospital to some extent and well am on the journey to achieving my goal of bridging the gap between the deaf and quality health care.
Esther: Wow, congratulations! What is the experience like when working with sick people?
Dr Esther: I would elaborate as sometimes good and sometimes bad depending on the patient outcomes. When a sick patient gets well, everyone is happy, you are thanked and blessed by the patient and their relatives and this is quite fulfilling.
However, when a patient doesn’t make it, it is extremely discouraging and tough on our mental healths. Relatives expect difficult answers and a shoulder to cry on while on most occasions we are also trying to hold ourselves together. In such instances, we feel quite defeated.
Medicine to me
Dr Esther: Medicine impacts patient’s lives directly and on good days, it’s quite fulfilling my soul to see someone getting better.
Esther: Do you keep yourself updated with current trends?
Dr Esther: Yes. I always read on the Nation on the current trends and this helps me be up to date on current happenings in the world.
Healthcare and it’s challenges
Esther: What challenges do you feel doctors are facing today?
Dr Esther: Today, there is very high rates of doctor unemployment and to those employed, poor salary renumeration: either delay or insufficient. This has a huge impact on doctor’s mental health in addition to the day to day frustrations doctors undergo in patient care.
Esther: And how do you think these challenges can be addresses?
Dr Esther: First, I think the government should dissolve the devolution and return health care to the national government rather than leaving it in the hands of county governments and putting the future of healthcare at jeopardy.
Second, the government should seek to employ all unemployed doctors and ensure good and timely remuneration. Doctors are also highly demotivated and the government should put up strategies to provide incentives such as promotions.
Esther: As we wind up, where do you see Kenya in terms of Healthcare in years to come?
Dr Esther: With the current ongoing problems facing the health care sector, and without any solutions to the problems, we face quite an uncertain future where health care might be poorer than now, more doctors will leave the country in search of better pastures resulting in brain drain and it will be more expensive for the common citizen.
However on a positive note, if all issues are addressed and taking note of the improved technology we are enjoying even in Kenya, we are looking at a future with very good patient outcomes.
Esther: Lastly, where do you see Africa in terms of Healthcare in years to come
Dr Esther: Africa has in the years made very huge strides in medical technology as well as in Universal Health Coverage strategies and the future is looking bright in terms of better patient outcomes, easy reach of all patients despite social backgrounds and increased motivation among African doctors. The goal should be to ensure that no one leaves Africa for specialized care because we can access equally here in Africa.
Esther: Thank you so much for your time Dr Esther. This was very interesting.
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