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The blogging sphere has crowded up very quickly in the past decade and it even looks like YouTube is taking over. Starting a blog in 2021 se...

Saturday 24 October 2020

My Work And My Stammer

The 21st century workplace is so fast-paced that it could easily turn humans into emotionless robots. Could a stammering colleague be a check carefully designed by nature to force us to slow down, think about the next person and have meaningful conversations?

Medical profession is one of such fast paced environments and a very challenging one at that. Apart from the voluminous wealth of knowledge one should have, it involves thinking on one’s feet, making quick decisions of dire consequences and communicating such.

Add these to the possibility of making mistakes, getting complaints, failing exams, losing one’s medical licence, being struck off the register and so on, and this explains why anxiety, stress and exhaustion are commonplace in this profession.

These emotions are amplified for stammering doctors, for whom unlike professionals dealing with computers, clay or pots, verbal communication is inevitable. I am one of those.

The following are some of my most challenging workplace scenarios:

  1. Phone calls: This is a very tough one as often I may need to make a referral via telephone, or contact a patient to pass an urgent information or call a senior for help. The most challenging part of this is when I’m asked to say the NHS number. This is a 10-digit number which will usually have the number 4, 6 or 7 (my stumbling blocks). A few listeners are patient with me, probably having recognised the stutter from the start of the conversation. Most are not. A common response is “I’m sorry your line is breaking up”, or “The connection is poor, please can you repeat?” or worse still, they could hang up. At this point, I’m not only dealing with anxiety from the fact that the number won't come out of my mouth, but anxiety that the person at the other end may hear the wrong number (patient safety being at stake), and then embarrassment as I have colleagues on the table who can hear me struggling. Sometimes I’ve had to ask a colleague to help me call out the NHS number to the person on the phone or I’ve had to tell the person at the call end, “it’s not the network. I stammer. I’ll start again please”.
  2. Handover - Hospital handover meetings are usually full of people from consultants to medical students. As a junior doctor, I’m expected to narrate the cases seen during the on-call shift, going through each patient’s biodata, background history, diagnosis, treatment so far, response and any issues during the shift. Woe betide me if there were too many patients. I still must go through the drill. This is my worst part of being on-call, yet I must go through this torture after every on-call shift (and in my last post, twice during each on-call shift). Even though nobody says so, I feel this guilt and pressure to talk quickly as I do not want to waste people’s time. Thereby worsening my stammer.
  3. Emergencies - In the frenzy of an emergency, patience is far-fetched. This heightens anxiety and fear for the stammerer. Fear of mistakes happening due to poor communication and anxiety about slowing down the team. Consequently, I focus on the practical jobs, shying away from making any verbal contributions except I’m directly involved.
  4. Voice dictation - This is supposed to be an efficient way of updating patient records or making referrals but for a stammerer, it is not quite quick and could introduce errors, so I fall back to typing everything by hand.
  5. Presentations - As a trainee, we have weekly teachings and I will fall into the rota at some point. Sometimes I start with a disclaimer that I’m a stammerer especially for a new audience so that I’m not misjudged as being anxious. 

These and many more conditions of the workplace makes it tougher for a stammering doctor. Everyday for me is a very big challenge I must overcome. I could do with some understanding colleagues.

Today is International Stammering Awareness Day and I just want to raise awareness to non stammering workplace colleagues on what stammerers would really appreciate from you:

  • Be patient.
  • See the value we carry rather than the stammer.
  • Give us your attention.
  • Do not finish our sentences.

And for employers (in the spirit of diversity and inclusion) to try to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace for people who stammer. Things like time limits or specific introduction formats for phone conversations may discriminate against stammerers.

Stammerers in the workplace need you to be their allies.

Chidiogo Nwosu

Thursday 1 October 2020

Lessons from Dr. Sunday Adelaja’s Laws of Money YouTube Series

I have been tremendously blessed by the YouTube series on The Laws of Money by Dr. Sunday Adelaja. It is just alarming how ignorant I have been regarding money matters. My mindset has completely turned around. Things I thought that mattered, no longer matter. Things that I never thought about, are now my constant thoughts. These series along with his book “Money Won’t Make You Rich” have completely renewed my thinking and lifestyle. Among many nuggets, the following are my take away tips:

  1. Money is not to be spent but to be multiplied. These teachings have taught me not to immediately start thinking of what to spend on once I get some money in my bank account, but on how to multiply it. Only after money has been multiplied 10x am I qualified to begin spending it. Listen to the series to understand more.
  2. After paying God (tithes), pay yourself. I’ve learnt to be religious about my savings. It shouldn’t be left to the last. I should come before my bills.
  3. Don’t let them take away your money. There are so many pressures in life clamouring for your money. Budget your money and don’t let anything or anyone you’ve not planned for take away your money, no matter how noble the cause. 
  4. Money is not emotional. He teaches you to have a budget for giving/charity and stick to it. A lot of times, due to pity, we give away all our money to all that ask and have nothing left to save or invest. I’ve discovered that I can only be more effective in charity if I have more. So while I budget some money for charity, I must be multiplying money so that I can be in an even better position to do more good in future.
  5. Don’t lend your money. Basically this means don’t lend money you cannot afford to do without. Many times people default and leave you stranded and this spoils relationships as well. So it's better to give what you know you can do without and don’t even expect it back.
  6. Don’t eat tomorrow’s food today. Delay gratification. Don’t be tempted by the ease of access to credit and mortgages. They are all temptations to enslave you. Wear the cloth you can afford today so you don’t go naked tomorrow. Live in the house you can afford today so you’re not homeless tomorrow.
  7. The essence of savings is for investments. Don’t just keep money in the bank, its value depreciates. Money should always work for you. 
  8. Savings and investments are not afterthoughts. They are the first purpose of your income.
  9. Be free from the control of money. The amount of money in my account should not determine my joy. I should not be excited when money comes into my account or depressed if there is no money. I now understand the true meaning of wealth. Wealth is the aggregate of my value and that’s what I should focus on building. 
  10. Don’t spend money that is not yours to buy what you don’t need to impress people who don’t really care. I have begun to ask myself if I really need stuff before I buy. This has helped me to forestall a lot of waste.
  11. For starters, save 10-30% of your monthly income and when you have a substantial amount put them in investments. Always aim to increase the percentage you put towards your savings.
  12. Invest in yourself, your skill and your own business. Who better to trust with your money than yourself?
  13. Invest in other people’s businesses. Look around. Think. Don’t be mentally lazy. Look for businesses that can give you at least 30% return annually.
  14. Stop working for Uncle Sam (the world’s system that only enslaves). Deliver yourself from the world’s system of slavery by first saving, then investing to be financially free to work for your own interests.
  15. No matter how much you have, you can start saving. If I am not multiplying my money and only living from one salary to the next, I am just like the unfaithful servant whom the master rebuked as being lazy and wicked and even the little I have will be taken away from me (Matthew 25:14-30).

I would really encourage everyone to listen to this series on The  Laws of Money and also buy the book “Money Won’t Make You Rich”. You will learn things you wished were taught in schools. Thank me later. 

Click the link below to buy the book.


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Please share your thoughts on these below.

Radiant ~ October 2020