Helping at pivotal times in people’s lives
3 MINUTE READ
General medical practice touches on all aspects of life and enables the GP practitioner to consult at often pivotal times in a person’s life. My work in general practice has been influenced and informed by God, the church, friends and my family.
Often, I find my observations of children outside of the clinical setting help build a better understanding for medical consultations.
Let’s use autism as an example. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviours (DSM V). It may be evident from around 2-3 years of age. As a GP, we seek to recognise the condition early. This, in turn, enables early intervention to be implemented as soon as possible.
When I was a new mum, I was delighted to suddenly have a child to observe twenty hours a day, seven days a week. I was able to observe his every development. This influenced what I observed in my patients. Indeed, the way I related to children and their families was so different when I became a mum! I came to understand the anxiety of wondering whether your own child has a medical condition.
The mums in my playgroup also played a part in shaping the way I practice. One particular mum taught me a lot. She was exasperated by her child’s challenging behaviours. I listened and gained insights as she shared her frustrations.
Later, when my first child entered school, I started to appreciate the amazing work that teachers do.
At church, I served in children’s ministry for 15 years before I learned that we required different approaches to show the love of God to children and their families. Yep, new skills are required to serve effectively in children’s ministry too!
Recently, I have prayed for my friend’s young adult son to have a workplace that is appreciative of him and his strengths. I have also celebrated with another friend who found working with people with ASD really fulfilling.
So how do these observations and interactions relate to general practice and how I practise medicine as a GP?
“My goal is to help children achieve fulfilling productive lives now and into the future.”
One obvious impact is in the way I set up my practice. The observations and interactions have resulted in care and consideration in the built environment of my clinic. I aimed to create a calming environment for the children. Greater awareness of how medical conditions impact children and their families meant I changed my whole approach to focus on early diagnosis and early interventions. My goal is to help children achieve fulfilling productive lives now and into the future. So, when God blessed me with a visiting paediatrician who can help do that, I was very thankful. Praise the Lord!
As you can see, our life experiences can enhance and enrich what we learn from our textbooks. The best and most important book, the Bible, puts it as loving one another. So “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:11-12).
I am a GP, wife, mother, friend, sister in Christ and child of God who interacts with an array of people, including children and their families every day. You also, in your different roles, have many opportunities to interact with a variety of individuals.
So let us go out there and find people to love and share life with, just as the Bible instructs!
Dr Linh Cheung Dr Linh Cheung is a general medical practitioner and practice owner of Medsana Medical Clinic. Medsana was chosen as an amalgamation of the words Medicine and Hosanna. Linh is married with three children. She loves gardening and is hoping that her new cymbidium orchids will survive.