More than 2,000 diseases have been determined and classified by the World Health Organization (WHO). Because of many sick people suffering, I imagine myself as a doctor and what should I do as one. However, being a doctor has its difficulties, especially in rural communities where health beliefs contradict with or are different from medical practitioners. If I were a doctor, I will ensure that I am sensitive and responsive to the cultural beliefs of my patients, update myself with the latest in the field by reading journals every day, and provide my service for free to the needy.
As a doctor, I will be aware of and respond to the cultural beliefs of my patients. In order to become an effective healer, I must know who my patients are: what they think about their disease, its origins, and its treatment options. For instance, if I keep on insisting that they are wrong about their suffering being caused by an “evil witch” but if that is what they truly believe in, then they will also not follow my advice regarding drinking their medicine. On the contrary, if I listen to what they say about this “witch” and how it affects them mentally before I provide the medical prescription, they will be more open about what they do on a daily basis and I can even diagnose the possible causes or conditions of their disease with greater precision. Furthermore, by intently listening to their cultural beliefs and practices, I can also learn from their treatment modes. Many kinds of medicines come from natural substances after all. However, if I surmised that their local “treatment” is doing them more harm than good, I should find culturally-sensitive ways of inserting my medical beliefs into their ideology. In other words, I will not impose what I think is right because I want them to blindly accept the superiority of my worldview but to add my advice to what is existing in their mind if they are unprepared of complete mental changes. Hopefully, in time, they can alter their health beliefs and avoid activities that injure them.
If I were a doctor, I would also become a regular journal reader and applier of updated knowledge. Some medical professionals forget to increase their knowledge and become stuck on “old” beliefs and practices instead. Health technologies and information develop rapidly and doctors have to keep up or lose their effectiveness. Now, if the studies have mixed findings, I would have to verify with my own experience what works best in particular conditions and with specific patients. With time and energy, I may even contribute to existing research by sending in my comments and scientific studies to peer-reviewed journals. I would like to be active in writing as well to present my take and decrease literature gaps in my field.
Finally, since I will be accepting people without enough income as my patients, I will serve them for free. Doctors get free medicine and other materials from pharmaceutical companies; I will use these freebies and give them to the poor. Many low-income people can do much better in life if they can have free medical services. Since health care is not free in many nations, I would offer my services without payment to those lacking financial resources. I will gladly accept payment in kind as well if they will provide it because I want them to also feel their financial independence and that they can pay for the services they need. In time, with access to doctors, the poor should be able to improve their health and prevent the spread or progression of their diseases.
A doctor has the power to heal and but also conduct multiple responsibilities. To their patients, they must be respectful and open-minded and to themselves, as practitioners, they should be knowledgeable of the latest breakthroughs in information and technology. If I were a doctor, I will go beyond what is “minimum” and become the best one possible- a doctor with an agile, growing mind and a beating, empathetic heart.