Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blog Revival

It has been a while since I blogged. In fact over a year. However, my Modicentric blogging led to an expectation that I need to talk politics all the while. However, while national issues and political developments engage my mind, I will write about that some other day. Today, I want to share with you musings and thoughts about my adventure to become a student once again. More than a year back, while reflecting on career and life in general, I realized that I was gradually entering a decline phase in my Orthopedic career. My lack of success in my field has been mainly due to my temperament, laziness and a casual attitude. This realization made me want to make change for the better. In short I wanted to learn to "manage" my life better. So I decided to learn management literally and try and train my self to improve and manage myself. While a full MBA seemed beyond my reach, I decided to challenge myself and apply for a course in healthcare or hospital administration. After a bit of market research and inquiries, I literally became tired of hearing the refrain TISS or nothing. TISS for the uninitiated stands for the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, a premier autonomous institute with a tradition of conducting courses for professionals and whose alumni, today boasts former deans, present CEO's, Superintendents and administrators in cities dotting the Mumbai landscape.

So I applied almost hoping that I am disqualified or told am overage. However, I was called for an interview and in the waiting room met a curious mix of persons, dentists, physiotherapists, a few guys who were already administrators in their hospitals. We waited on class room benches and chatted, Some of the faces I met seemed clear in their reasons for doing the course. They became friends over the next year and co-travelers in the journey called EPGDHA (executive Post Graduate Diploma in Health Administration). We were interviewed one by one and my first impression of a short and stout dark complexioned personality Prof. M, Marriappan was to be frank unimpressive. Short in stature simple smiling man, asking the simple questions to find out and probe our reasons for opting for this course. He warned us that he had no intentions of making this course a farcical walk in the garden. So we went home and ultimately got the admission email with the procedure. Management subjects are basically attempts to objectify management and create leaders out of the individual personae. While a leader has personal, interpersonal, leadership and practical skills, he or she needs to know and understand the tools which are needed to understand the workings of organizations in the field of health care. As clinicians we have generally looked down on administrators and felt that their failure top provide what we need is because of their incompetence, however for me this course showed me that this was not really true and quite often the clinicians behavior and attitude left a lot to be desired. The subjects we studied were alien to me and the lack of precise answers, bemused me and we were a bit taken aback Principles of management, Research Methodology and Statistics, Financial accounting and cost accounting, Human Resources, Ethics and Governance, Hospital Information and management systems, Hospital Support systems and Marketing were taught in the first semester by teachers and guest faculty in Government class rooms with adequate facilities, The group dynamics of the students consisting of persons from diverse fields and areas of the country soon gelled into groups, but unlike our college days, the maturity of the group led to a healthy competition along with a genuine sharing and mentoring by the seniors. While 15 days of lectures along with travels and exams and impromptu assignments challenged us,very soon we found ways to cope with the challenges and help each other. The friendships forged and the whats app group dynamics made learning fun and soon we had completed our first semester. While the going was tough, the hints of the storm to come were available but not taken by us. In the second semester, Thesis and project work, along with hard core subjects like Strategic Planning, Strategic Cost Management, Financial Planning, Business development, Quality Management, Materials management, Hospital project planning and Organization of clinical and super specialist services hit us like an avalanche. However we managed. The final exams along with the vivas, made us literally struggle through late nights and fears of the unknown.

All the teachers had their styles and peculiarities, but the overall impact of the course was positive. The use of moodle and the communications and the assignments with their relevance created the need and the desire to look at our hospitals and study aspects we hitherto took for granted. The thesis of trying to create a strategic turn around of a unique hospital proved to be an exciting project. I feel making it a three semester course could be better.

Almost all our teachers were sincere dedicated and masterful in imparting their knowledge. Prof M. Marriappan and Feroz Ekbal the local faculty were the workhorses, These two were the men for all seasons with answers to all our queries and between them covered 5 of the sixteen subjects. The others were ex TISS students and had a love and commitment for their work as teachers, D,P. Singh sir, Neil Sequera, P,M, Bhujang, Dr. Prashant Bhatt, Mr, Ashok Thapar, Mr. Vijay Arul Dass, Dr, Ram Naraine, Dr. Prashant Kelkar, Dr. Vivek Desai and Dr, Atul Adania all contributed through out the course.

Lastly a special word of thanks to my co-students and friends. We will cherish the process of our journey and take back wonderful memories of the roller coaster rides in our journey. The highs lows, petty fights and acts of kindness and bigheartedness have made our EPGDHA a memory of life.

While I await my results, I feel extremely gratified that after so many years I could overcome the challenge adding a new dimension to my learning and enjoying it too.

On this eventful day in India when a terrorist was hanged and India bid farewell to a peoples President, I am glad to have revived my blog. Hope to write more often.

Vispi Jokhi

1 comment:

Parul Shah said...

congratualtions dr. jokhi.. you make the world a better place :) it must have been difficult with your practice and family responsibilities, yet you still persevered. i always thank god for people like you who truly work for the betterment of those around them and show people the right way of life through example, not by talking! kudos!