(Do Not)…Bring Us To The Test

Do Not Bring Us To The Test

Saturdays With Shivani

I am still bleary eyed from binge watching season 18 of Grey’s Anatomy (nothing can cure me of that). In one of the episodes a character, Dr. Webber, is increasingly having bouts of self-doubt. For those of you who have no idea of what I am talking about, here’s a little background- Dr. Webber is like the grand old man of surgery in that hospital; a passionate surgeon who has trained generations of young surgery residents. Certain mishaps around him lead him into introspection and he wonders if it’s time to hang up his scrubs. He requests for an impartial and unbiased assessment of his skills. He says, “I want an assessment. A physical exam, a cognitive review, a fine motor skills test. I want it all. And if my judgment is off, if I don’t belong in the OR anymore, then I want to know.”

This made me sit up and wonder how many of us would do that? Especially at that age or that juncture of one’s career. This requires humongous amount of courage and a rare brand of integrity and honesty; to be able to subject oneself to an external evaluation. In a country where rank and grey hair lend that I-can-do-no-wrong aura and that thou-shalt-question-me demeanour, wouldn’t it be amazing if we all had the guts to step back and reassess ourselves?

A lot of jobs have some form of reassessment clause and also training modules to upgrade our knowledge but their efficacy is limited if not questionable. I feel it’s high time that we understand the responsibility that comes with the jobs we hold. Are we physically and mentally up to it? Can we deliver what we are expected to? Do we have the skills set that is required to perform the work we have been entrusted with or an upgrade is the order of the day?

For doctors, we do have CMEs (Continued Medical Education) and in some places our licenses need to be periodically renewed (T&C apply) but probably more needs to be done there. This topic could be a full-blown essay and I shall leave it for some other day.

Till the time we have any of that in place, it would be nicer if we set those benchmarks for ourselves. An inner quality control or a moral radar is desirable and our teachers should incorporate it’s need in their lectures; about time that it’s discussed and encouraged.

I would dare to go a step ahead and suggest that there should be a backup plan for those who are unable to make that cut. They should be absorbed in areas where their experience counts. That would encourage their successors to look at the assessment system in a more positive way.

An inflated ego and a flawed sense of self are huge barriers to development of any kind; of self and of the society as well. Bringing ourselves to test (even if they are self-styled) will keep us on our toes and make us more productive. For those of us who seek genuine self-improvement, please go ahead and chart out a plan for yourself. Take courses, upgrade your skills and refresh your past knowledge. Sitting on one’s past laurels has never done anyone any good. Am I asking for too much? Maybe I am but if it gets us all thinking then I’d say it’s worth the effort.

Come to think of it, our political leaders should be subjected to an appraisal system too but with them we would have to start with revamping the entry level qualification criteria. I think I should stop here before I get too carried away on that.

Have a great weekend. Love and light to all.

Dr. Shivani Salil