Doctors Serving Their Way to Open Doors

“Every choice you make in life has a consequence. This is true of every human being on planet earth including doctors” says Dr Ramon Varghese. Therefore, it is crucial to know oneself and what drives the choices we make in life, he adds. 

Dr. Ramon Varghese is the Chief Medical Officer at Qualitas, a private health management company. He urges doctors to give their very best wherever they may be, even if it means taking the road less travelled. This is because your choices and work attitudes determine your future. When doctors serve their way in clinical medicine with all their hearts, invariably doors will open for them.

Every choice you make in life has a consequence

Speaking from his experience, Dr. Ramon opted to serve in a district hospital in Sabah rather than choosing to stay in the Klang Valley and this opened the door for Dr. Ramon in the area hospital administration. Within three years, he became the Deputy Director of the Tambunan District Hospital. 

He chose to serve at a war zone in Lahad Datu to provide medical services to a community whose excess to medical care had been cut off due to Ops Daulat, an operation to fight the incursion of pirates. This led to a chance meeting with the then Deputy Director General of Health, Datuk Seri Dr. Jeyaindran Sinnadurai and a door opened for him for the position of  Deputy Director of CKAPS (Cawangan Kawalan Amalan Perubatan Swasta). 

At CKAPS, he decided to visit Qualitas to resolve a problem that could not be solved through letter writing. Visiting private medical entities to solve a problem was something unheard of at CKAPS but Dr. Ramon went the extra mile. The meeting ended with him receiving a job offer. 

Dr. Ramon Varghese

His only desire in life was to serve his patients well but that desire led to many open doors. Dr. Ramon shares his words of wisdom for excellence for doctors who want to see good results for their lives.

Choose to give your best wherever you are placed and don’t take the easy way out

Your choices and your attitude will determine the outcomes for your life. Although being at CKAPS was not easy for Dr. Ramon as he missed seeing his patients, he continued serving his clients to the best of his abilities.

“It’s the issue, not the person that is the cause of the problems in healthcare facilities.”

When going through difficulties, choose to respond rather than react

A doctor must be able to differentiate between the issue that is the source of the problem and the person that is behaving badly towards him/her. Instead of reacting, the best way forward is to step back, assess the situation and respond positively while continuing to focus on the needs patients.

“Remember this: It’s the issue, not the person that is the cause of problems in healthcare facilities” says Dr. Ramon. The colleague or superior who is being difficult is probably under much stress as is often the case in a troubled system.

“Despite circumstances surrounding where you’re placed in clinical service, make every attempt to build yourself up there.”

Chase excellence not success

Excellence means giving your best despite the circumstances. When you do this, success is sure to follow. While in Sabah, Dr. Ramon would examine his patients at the waiting room because they were too frail or weak to walk into his office. This won the admiration and gratitude of the community and he had favor in their eyes. His rise to the position of Deputy Director of a district hospital came rather quickly and unexpectedly as a result.

Your transition may have already begun, you just don’t know it yet

Dr. Ramon’s transition began even while in Sabah doing administrative duties such as managing budgets, rostering ambulance drivers, looking after certain hospital units etc. Little did he realize that this early experience would one day lead to the position of Chief Medical Officer at Qualitas.

Prepare yourself for the transition ahead

“Despite the circumstances surrounding where you’re placed in clinical service, make every attempt to build yourself up there. At the same time, doctors who wish to transition must set their sights on the profession that they’re passionate about and gravitate towards that career goal” states Dr. Ramon. If a doctor is interested in business then he or she ought to upskill and reskill him/herself in the field of business. 

“Doctors who wish to transition must set their sights on the profession that they’re passionate about and gravitate towards that career goal.”

As an  example, while doing his best at CKAPS, opportunities presented themselves to Dr. Ramon for career possibilities. CKAPS, as it turned out, was a good place to network with the private sector. 

Have realistic expectations when making a career change

When transitioning to a field such as the pharmaceutical industry, don’t expect your colleagues to address you as “doctor” or expect to be paid higher than a person who’s been with the industry for 7 years or more. Don’t hope for  a high salary and a 40-hour work week as soon as you begin your career.  These are  unrealistic expectations as you’re starting your career in a new field. 

Don’t make emotional decisions and throw away the years of your life because of troubling circumstances

Complete your Housemanship and the MOship , get your Annual Practising Certificate (APC) while at the same time setting your sights on the career that you’re interested in. That way, whether your dream works out or not, you’ll have a medical career to fall back on. 

Know where your strengths lie

Despite the different job offers from private medical entities, Dr. Ramon chose the Qualitas offer which wasn’t the position with the highest pay but one that felt right for him. The highest paying job may not necessarily allow for the honing of your talents and strengths. He found the perfect position for him at Qualitas. His role is to manage the doctors while meeting corporate goals. 

“Don’t regret the negative things affecting your life but keep your eyes on the goals you have.”

As with all transitions, there are many things to learn when entering a new field. Dr. Ramon had to learn about profit and loss (PnL), cost of sales, profit before tax, profit after tax, gross profit, and  revenue among other things. But this is to be expected in a career transition which often includes a steep learning curve. 

The obstacles in your life are there to propel you forward

The hiccups you face in life are meant to strengthen you. “So, don’t regret the negative things affecting your life but keep your eyes on the goals you have” says Dr. Ramon. Every obstacle you face is a stepping-stone that gets you closer to your goals. Besides, your experiences only serve to make you wiser in life. 

Doctors transitioning to private health management need to know that the field is  a relatively small but expanding one. There are opportunities for management roles in this sector. This requires that doctors upskill themselves about the field of management and understand PnLs and the business of medicine. 

To find out more about non-clinical jobs for doctors in Malaysia check out our job vacancy and find inspiration from medical doctors who’ve made a career change in our case studies. Check out Medic Footprints Malaysia , and follow our MF Malaysia Instagram and Facebook pages to stay updated on our events, webinars, job vacancies and more.

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