Here’s what all of you have been waiting for: the first tip of the iceberg of my experiences (a Malaysian teenager’s experiences) in the healthcare sector!
For those who are new to my blog, I am actually still a post-SPM teenager, to join foundation in science in May this year. After my time as a sales and retails assistant with a small local company ended, I proceeded to seek a job at a hospital for relevant experience with what I’m planning to study. I am currently still working there and I am immensely grateful for the enriching experience, as much as I enjoyed that of my previous job. See previous post: My First Day At Work (Retail).
My first day at work as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) at the Emergency Unit was an unbelievably hectic one. Someone from the human resource (HR) department helped me set my thumbprint in the hospital system, which I would use everyday for clocking in and out. Then I was brought to the Emergency Unit, where she gave quick instructions to the staff to add me to the duty roster and show me around. The Emergency Unit is very small and easy to navigate. It mainly comprises of a registration counter, the medical officer’s consultation room, a small ward with three beds and a treatment room.
After that, I was given my pre-employment hepatits B jab by the same nurse who showed me around, who would in the coming weeks become my colleague and friend. Then I walked, uncertainly, to the registration counter and sat at the computer.
This was how the working environment at the counter had looked like to me on my first day: raised voices of the staff, hospital forms being thrown about, furious typing on the computer keyboard, patients walking in and out. Already this was a small hospital, and the Emergency area that I was working at looked more like a small clinic than a hospital; yet I could hardly process anything that was going on. I knew one thing for sure, though: this is what behind the scenes looks like. This is a real hospital. Just like facing out of the shop booth to promote the products instead of facing in to make a purchase, I was standing behind a counter I only ever stood in front of. It was a change in perspective, an intriguing shock to my system, and I was eager to learn more.
So I sat at the counter and let a nurse tell me what to do. “Click sini. Click sana. Tekan ini. Type nama dia.” I understood that there was no time yet to explain the why and how of everything that was happening, and diligently did as she said, even though my mind was spilling with questions. I would later realise that in this fast-paced working world where customers (first job: retail) or patients (second job: hospital) had to be attended to quickly, learning should be based less on endless questions and more through observation and practice. You really learn a whole lot better that way.
But you must dare to observe and dare to practice. You truly must. You must let your desire to learn override your fears, and then nothing can stop you from absorbing all that the world has to offer.
To the nurse that stood next to me on my first day, ordering me to do this do that, let’s call her Free (named changed to protect identity): I will remember you for some time to come. For every small thing that I did right in the coming weeks you would say “cantik” or “dah pandai”; you also knew how to breakdown certain things so that I would understand, and for that I am very grateful.
You could say that on my first day, all I ended up learning was only how the counter looked like. I still could not grasp anything properly, not even the basic registration of patients, because everything was happening so fast; but regardless, with my first glimpse behind the scenes, I was already learning.
Most of what I learnt on my first day was the physical layout, and the working atmosphere, and I do think that was already a good lesson for a beginner like me!