Medical Education Medical Practice

Why Are Senior Doctors Unable to Retain Young Doctors?

Author: Dr. Rohini R

Don’t understand why there are so many doctors saying this is such a difficult question to answer. Technically, the answer should just be “common sense”. Knowing why employees don’t stay is a no brainer. However, let’s look into how senior doctors can retain young doctors in their team.

(This article focuses only on senior doctors who hire younger doctors as part of their team in a hospital or their private set-up, and not doctors that work directly under the hospital management.)

  1. By paying really well:

This should probably be the first and most important step. Most senior doctors pay 25k to 50k ( about 300 to 700 USD per month) to junior specialist doctors, when many make much more (a crore or two a month). A doctor that is 30 needs at least 1.5 Lakhs (2000 USD) per month in hand to manage a home and family in the city in India. An engineer at the age of 30 gets that much minimum. Some even make 3-4 lakhs a month or more. Inflation in india is 5-6% every year, hence, income should be increased by 10-20% every year. 

2. Giving Hands- on:

Skin to skin and, not assisting or doing a few steps in the procedure. Teach them new things, promote their career. Allow them to publish papers with them as their first authors. Many of the senior doctors put their name as the first author when a  junior publishes a paper, even if the senior doctor did nothing.

3. Giving them proper leaves like in other fields.:

At least 30 days of leave a year. Sick leave should be separate, like in every other field. Doctors are human. A senior doctor may be okay working 365 Days  because they are getting cases but employees can’t be forced to work that way. In india, the men not spending time with family has been so normalised and it is ridiculous. Kids need that time with both parents. If a senior doctor wants to work like that without taking off, that is his choice. Please do not normalise NOT taking time out for oneself and family!! It is very important to have personal time for family, hobbies, travel, exploring the world. If it is not important to you, cannot deny employees of that. It is also important for mental and physical health

4. Reasonable working hours 

Keeping their working hours in line with the indian labour laws. Which is 8 hours a day. Extend to 10 hours a day max with 1.5 hours break.

5. Fellowship in Slavery 

Fellowships, aka. Scams, are the biggest hoax in most places in India. Exploiting young surgeons by making them work 100 hours a week, and paying minimum wages like Rs. 20-25k in the name of “training” During fellowship, in most places there is no hands-on. Some places allow to do few steps but not skin to skin. Fellows are made to do all the clerical work in the hospital, including personal work of the boss and his family. It is truly demeaning. 

6. Giving Proper Perks:

Give them proper perks like health insurance etc., an allowance for conferences, travel, accommodation. 

7. Respect Their Qualifications and Allow Them to Grow:

Don’t make them do your personal work, like what many do. Dont make them do things like bringing lunch etc. don’t make them a minion. Treat them as humans, respect their qualification and work.

Note to senior doctors looking to employ young doctors: 

If it is not possible to treat a junior doctor with respect, don’t want to give perks, don’t want to teach properly, don’t want to give skin to skin, don’t have the funds – Please dont hire them. They often join with misconceptions, thinking their lives will change under a great senior and then leave when it is not true. In most hospitals junior specialist doctors don’t stay longer 6-12 months. This does not benefit anyone, including the employer. Make the workplace pleasant. Allow people to grow unconditionally. They will stay. Kindly, please stop the slut shaming, interfering in the personal lives of employees and all kinds of harassment, especially sexual harassment, thank you.

Gentle reminder: Employees are human.

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