POWER IN DIVERSITY AND UNITY WITHIN HEALTHCARE
The healthcare workforce within Malaysia comprises of a wide variety of professions and occupations that provide various healthcare services, mainly from direct care practitioners such as medical consultants, nurses, and allied health professionals. Healthcare professional study, diagnose, treat to prevent illness, injuries, and other physical and mental impairments in accordance with the needs of the population of Malaysia, supported by sound evidence-based practices. They are the fabric that were designed as the foundation of strength and provide a textile framework that the industry wears to withstand the weather of change that occurs so rapidly within the healthcare industry; more so during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
As a trusted profession of ethical practice, integrity and honesty in Malaysia, healthcare professionals have the responsibility to sing in unison and bring about change of which they desire to create, develop and promote in matters related to continuous professional development, patient advocacy and public health policy. Most professional healthcare practitioners are very much aware that change is impossible without the allegorical fabric that represents healthcare personnel coming to play within the public arena.
For many Malaysian healthcare workers and front liners, 2020 has been a year of many change and challenges both within their personal and social life. But does that change also drastically impact their professional lives? As a qualified healthcare professional servicing within the healthcare industry, I have been quick to notice that a number of my colleagues and peers are few and far between being involved directly in their studied field of specialty and within the healthcare industry after graduating. With the rise of COVID-19 cases within the county, healthcare professionals are faced with unprecedented situation of requiring to make difficult decisions under extreme pressure and stress. Many healthcare organizations around the world are also finding themselves caught in panic and confusion in the efforts to fight against the infection. This situation has resulted in the realization of understaff within the healthcare industry and directly contributing to the rise of burnout of front liners.
Therefore, I would like to make a challenge to all qualified healthcare personnel, be it that you are currently serving within the healthcare industry or have opted for a career change beyond healthcare industry, to reminisce on the reason why you first choose to be involved within the field of healthcare, why have you enrolled yourself in Nursing, Physiotherapy, Doctors, Lab Technician and other health related specialty, while also remembering what this industry has done for you and your career development.
Furthermore, make an effort to self-reflect about the ways you can bring about change and influence with your experiences as a healthcare practitioner to the Malaysia healthcare system when it is required the most during this difficult economic crisis. Think of how you can contribute your expertise and experiences with a few kind and selfless acts by participating voluntarily as a screening front liner, providing aid and emotional support to the families affected by COVID-19, volunteer as a social worker for the homeless, or even registering as a contract nurse to help ease the burden of overworked front liners. You are also encouraged to organize online health talks to educate and promote steps of basic self-care that can indirectly help curb the spread of COVID-19 within the county.
The importance of healthcare be it on a national or global scale does not wither even though workforces or volunteers are sometimes at its low. However, it is essential to remember that strength is greater with unity and the morale to provide aid when it is in needed could build a strong foundation for the healthcare industry. The numbers of healthcare professionals are meaningless unless these individuals are actively serving and dedicating themselves passionately within their chosen profession — only then the strength in numbers can be heard when everyone choses to listen and contribute ideas from a diverse healthcare community.
It is time for change. It is time all healthcare professionals stand in unity to advocate this change. It is time to take a step forward, to hear, to be heard and to take initiative to promote healthcare profession to our current and future generation so that healthcare medicine can be developed as a strong and well respected profession in Malaysia. As 2020 is nearing its end, I invite and urge my fellow healthcare professionals to accept this challenge and make the most of it. Assist Malaysia in becoming a nation of strength, unity and diversity by dedicating our best and let us all do our part in improving the healthcare standards and may we be the unified voice that promotes a positive change within the Malaysian healthcare system.