Slow and Steady

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I was going through my records recently and came across an essay I wrote in my teen years. Back then, I wasn’t a fan of writing so you can imagine how good or bad the essay was.

Although I loved scribbling things on anything that was close to me whenever I found myself holding a pen or pencil, I hated writing essays. I never paid attention in class; I found the stories & novels boring when they were read out in class. I prefered to watch a movie adaptation of the novels.

This continued until a friend
of mine who I usually depended on during assessments ridiculed me and this made me angry. I channeled my anger towards learning literature on my own. I would spend time correcting and correcting my essays till I was satisfied.

The first time I actually wrote an article was back in 2008 on a hospital bed and since then, I’ve come ease to myself into it – slowly but steady. I am still learning though and do have writer’s block once in a while.

The mordern world depends on technology and thence built on speed and immediate results. As a result, we are often in a hurry to get things done. Even when it isn’t necessary, we act and feel something is on our heels.

However, the process of learning is a very slow one. Any business, skill, vocation or situation worth learning or mastering, requires time, effort and focus. Philip Stanhope once said “Whoever is in a hurry shows that thing he is about is too big for him.”

It is important for one to have a sense of urgency for whatever s/he is doing however we often mistake hurry sickness for sense of urgency. Sense of urgency is the ability to identify things that require urgent attention and acting upon them ASAP but when one is in a hurry, s/he feels there’s need to rush everything even when there’s no reason to.

Assuming you have been given a deadline to submit a coursework/project/proposal. A person with a sense of urgency will start working as soon as possible, giving himself ample time to finish and go through his work over and over again before the deadline. In contrast, someone who is in a hurry will rush the work and give little or no room to cross-check his/her work.

You can’t get much done if you lack sense of urgency but by doing things hurriedly, we reduce our effectiveness, lower quality of our work and possibly make avoidable mistakes. Take heed to the words of Earl Monroe, “Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

There’s no need to be in a hurry. Be quick but agbana speed. Speed kills. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Hopsital Combat II

The piece which am referring to is a well prepared article by a good author( we all took Mrs. Obiwulu’s English lessons together) and a long time friend. The piece contains a lot of truth which I must say, as a medical doctor by profession, hit the point. But I must beg to differ in some of his opinions because there are obviously two sides to this story, just like a coin.

To start with, I want to make a bold point that we all (I mean doctors, medical laboratory scientists and nurses) all work for a common goal and that is “To care for the sick”.
This “motto” is what should be borne in mind whether you have an MBBS or a Bsc in Medical Laboratory Science or a Diploma or Bsc in Nursing Science.
Everyone knows their role. I must say so because none of these three departments cannot work without the other. As the common Igbo saying goes, “I gaghi aku aku na-agba agba” ,so it is in this situation.

But then I must point out that in every institution, there MUST be a leader otherwise the system will go into anarchy and everything will just be a mere charade. And that leader in this context is the Doctor. It is a well known and incontrovertible fact which is why the Chief Medical Director of any hospital is a doctor. At this point, I must dare to say that most doctors are egotistical, perhaps this is mostly due to the fact that most doctors bearing in mind that “the doctor is the head of the medical team”, take it too far by imposing there authority on others. This, I must say is VERY wrong as it undermines the common goal of the medical team as I have stated above.

Again, I would want to correct the author that it is the Doctors that makes a diagnosis and go further to proffer solutions to the problem. I must make reference to the medical curriculum (3rd MBBS to be more precise), doctors do a full and complete course in pathology which we know is the backbone of all laboratory courses done by the Medical Laboratory Science students. In essence, we are trained to use that knowledge and our clinical skills to come up with a diagnosis. At this point, I must say that the MLScientists still go a lot further to study the technical details in coming up with laboratory results which contribute to the eventual diagnosis. So I think it’s pretty explanatory why a Consultant Pathologist who is a doctor must control the laboratory departments. He is not just a newbie doctor who has passed all his MBBS exams but has gone ahead to obtain a 4 year Fellowship in a specific aspect of pathology.

As I said before, all these don’t matter at all if (and actually if) we have in mind that we are working for the common goal of the patient. Sadly, it is only in Nigeria we have all these problems. Abroad, everyone knows there role and they play it well knowing fully well their target.

In conclusion, I would also, like the author of the original piece and my very good friend, reiterate the Emmy Award winning Peter Dinklage in “The Game of Thrones” as Tyrion ‘the imp’ Lannister:
“Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used against you.”

Thank you.
Alex Onyemeh (MD)