Talk To Patients With Mental Illness, Medical Students Told
Medical students of Umanand Prasad School of Medicine at the University of Fiji have been urged to prioritise interaction and communication with patients.
Australian doctor, Hema Jayaram, said this was especially important for those suffering from mental health issues.
She was speaking to about 200 medical students from year one to six during a medical conference at the UniFiji Lautoka campus.
Dr Jayaram said: “It’s not always about medically treating a mentally ill patient, but how a doctor or a nurse interacts and communicates with him or her.”
Dr Jayaram was here along with 52 specialist doctors from Sai Medical Unit of Australia.
They were here to conduct free screenings for the people of Labasa and provide training and tuitions for future doctors.
“I think mental health is one of the most neglected areas and it’s really important that we know how to manage our patients as doctors.
“I know you are very symptom oriented.
“You want to get on with the treatment and you want to know what’s the best medication to give them and then hopefully things will get better,” she said.
“The most important thing about any patient sitting in front of you with a mental health issue needs an engagement.
“If you cannot engage with the patient your battle is lost.”
The medical team leader, a retired neurosurgeon, Dr Kathir Nandanachandran said more than 1000 patients made use of the free medical screening in Labasa that was organised by the team of doctors from Australia in collaboration with Sai Medical Unit of Australia and Fiji in four days.
“Our group of doctors include physicians, dentists, eye surgeons and paediatrics and in four days in Labasa we have screened 1237 patients in four days.”
He said the team had been doing this for the past 10 years with their aim to update, bring ideas, teach the medical students.
The team returned to Australia last Saturday.
Edited by Maraia Vula