“Always a student, forever learning” is the mantra of everyone working in healthcare so that they can continue to accurately diagnose and treat patients in accordance with the latest medical developments. Every day, as doctors and nurses passionately dedicate themselves to saving lives, they will seize any opportunity to grow to constantly evolve and improve the standard of care offered.

To mark Vietnamese Doctors’ Day on February 27, FV Hospital’s doctors shared some of their private thoughts regarding their work as doctors. A transparent culture helps to ensure that the domestic healthcare industry continues to develop to become on par with the international healthcare industry.

Facing a lot of pressure

Nguyen Thanh Tung, MD, PhD, Head of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at FV’s Dental Surgery Department, started to dream of becoming a doctor as a child when he had to visit the hospital regularly due to poor health. The doctor who often examined and treated him became young Mr Tung’s idol and inspired him to pursue a career dedicated to caring for people.

Dr Nguyen Thanh Tung, Head of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, FV Hospital.

The medical profession is highly respected and perceived as a noble calling; as a result, society sets high standards for anyone pursuing a career in this field. If there is the slightest mistake or oversight, judgement and condemnation are quick to follow. This situation exerts considerable great pressure on the medical team.

Dr Tung said: “There are many cases reported in the media where the doctor allegedly did not behave properly when giving an examination, which members of society quickly form an opinion about. It’s important to remember that expectations of care can differ, and that doctors are also human beings under incredible pressure–a situation which can result in unseemly emotions and behaviours. Society needs to understand and sympathise more with healthcare professionals.”

According to Dr Hung’s point of view, society’s prejudice partly comes from the doctors’s scope of work. Their decisions directly impact people’s health and can make the difference between life and death.

Dr Hung hopes that society will develop a more open view of doctors and people in the healthcare industry. He always carefully considers every possible eventuality when examining and treating each patient.

“I advise on several directions for treatment so that patients can make the right choice for themselves, depending on the type of disease and the individual’s situation. To come up with those solutions, I have to evaluate many possible outcomes,” says Dr Thanh Tung.

“In my day to day work, I might consult with patients in both relaxed and extremely stressful situations, and I’m always able to draw a lot of experience for myself. But most importantly, I always want to consult and implement treatments that bring the best results for my patients.”

Hosting support groups therapy for doctors who have been under pressure due to the epidemic

Born in a family with many siblings who chose to become engineers, Dr Hoang Quang Minh, who works at FV’s Cardiology Department, turned in a different direction, following his ambition to help people. In his opinion, every profession deserves to be honored and every job should be first informed by a sense of responsibility to ensure the best possible results.

During the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic, Dr Quang Minh was one of the key figures leading FV Hospital through this battle. He notes that Covid-19 was a shock to humanity and caused pain in every family, but one of the groups that suffered the most during the pandemic was medical staff – the frontline force directly treating patients.

Dr Hoang Quang Minh – Cardiology, FV Hospital

Dr Quang Minh said: “Covid-19 has influenced my mindset a lot. I’m more mature and bold when learning new things. There is nothing in medicine that we can says is ‘the best’ – we have to learn every day so that when something tragic happens, we can save as many people as we can.”

However, not everyone has overcome their fear of learning new things. According to Dr Minh, in addition to the issue of compensation, the trauma of the pandemic is a key reason why a section of the medical team does not want to continue their career in medicine.

He said: “Young doctors who just managed to get through that pandemic need some time to recover. If we could organise support group meetups for medical teammembers who have been under intense pressure, we can help them get over their trauma so they’ll consider returning to work. They definitely fell in love with the profession when they chose to become doctors and we can help them rediscover that passion.”

Hoping society will take a more sympathetic view

Dr Nguyen Viet Quynh Thu, Head of Dietetics & Nutrition, FV Hospital said that: “Healthcare is associated with pressure.” She lost 12 kilograms over the six years she studied this major, and notes that by the time doctors graduate from school and go to work, the actual pressure at work cannot be fully measured.

Dr Nguyen Viet Quynh Thu – Head of Dietetics & Nutrition, FV Hospital

Dr Thu said: “The requirements of the medical profession are absolutely correct, because they directly affect the patient’s health. Therefore, doctors must continue training, day by day. They can’t only be good in one area, but knowledgeable in many other areas to be able to make accurate decisions in medical examination and treatment.”

When choosing to specialise in dietetics and nutrition, many people think that this industry is an easy one in which to work–the perception is that you don’t need to work night shifts, and can simply read books to stay up to date. But in order to make accurate judgments and diagnose patients, as well as better serve her profession, Dr Thu needs to undertake swift multi-specialty studies to gain an accurate overview of a case. Only then can she explore different directions to find the cause of different diseases. Dr Thu has also participated in emergency services for the past 10 years to acquire more soft skills in making fast, decisive, accurate, effective decisions.

In addition to the pressures applied by her work, Dr Quynh Thu also believes that the white coat is under too much unnecessary scrutiny in the forum of public opinion. Doctors are often held to higher standards than professionals in other jobs.

“I hope that society develops a more sympathetic view of the medical profession. As with anything, if you don’t do it, you won’t make mistakes; if you do, you will make mistakes. But skill and experience limits mistakes. Therefore, every doctor must learn, practice, and research continuously to minimise risks. This job is to be forever a student, committed to study until old age. This is an interesting point of the medical profession,” adds Dr Thu.

The healthcare industry needs more attention and support

Vo Cong Minh, MD, PhD, Head of Otorhinolaryngology (ORL-ENT) at FV Hospital was born into a medical family – both of his parents are doctors. Perhaps because he inherited an aptitude for science and was immersed in this world from childhood, he has always had a special interest in biology.

Dr Minh shared that Covid-19 led to many changes in the medical profession, particularly with regard to the roles of doctors. The biggest change is that this team always feels that they need to expand their knowledge to be able to react more quickly to new situations – they want to be the first to be able to explain and warn the community to avoid unnecessary damage.

Dr Vo Cong Minh, Head of Otorhinolaryngology (ORL-ENT), FV Hospital

Dr Cong Minh said: “I think myself and the doctors will continue to change our approach to delivering care. For many Covid-19 patients, telemedicine seemed infeasible, ineffective and risky. But at that time, I still decided to offer remote consults and care for Covid-19 patients because I needed to save lives as quickly as possible. Doctors and nurses have become more dynamic and agile as a result of this epidemic, and now nothing seems impossible.

On the occasion of Vietnamese Doctors’ Day, Dr Cong Minh expressed his wish that medical personnel receive more attention and support, moving forward. When there is no disaster, care teams do not stand out. But the recent pandemic has shown that they are an essential force, like the soldiers at the head of the battlefield. If income and support is guaranteed, doctors believe that no one will have to overwork or want to quit.

Dr Minh said: “The medical industry has a lot of potential for development as it has a good workforce, willing to learn. I hope the medical industry in Vietnam will develop to be as good as that in developed countries. I believe this is fully possible, as long as there is the right investment, creating a favourable environment in which doctors and nurses can work.”