When becoming MO


Emergency retrieval unit

– Responsibilities increase, a medical officer has to oversee all patients, knowing cases from A-Z. Something gets wrong, the MO will be bambooed, not the houseman. People will look to MOs for leadership.

– A Medical officer has to buck up and upgrade his/her knowledge as well as knowing ward management skills, or in my case emergency department management skills. He or she can no more work like medical students or houseman. Instead, they need to supervise and teach the houseman, so that they won’t kill or do harm to any of the patients under their care.

– MO has to know when, where and how to refer cases, especially when they got stuck. He or she must know the reason for referral else he/she might look stupid to the person he/she refered to. Although the referring MO must respect the decisions of the MO they referred to, the patient’s best interest must be the first priority.

– But everything is not really bad. MO working hours are fixed to 40-45 hours a week (not including on-calls, overtime and locums). Sometimes MOs are sent for courses or training. While houseman, although currently so free and working less than MO in the shift system, the houseman working hours are not as flexible, and change according to the needs of the department.

– When a doctor becomes MO and confirmed in government service, there are many government perks that you can take. It’s not that fancy, but at least it’s something. Some departments allow MO to take unrecorded leave which is a good bonus.

– Personal, financial, medical and even welfare concerns are taken into more serious consideration, at least more than houseman. For some departments, MO welfare isn’t their concern. That’s very tough, a workplace shouldn’t be too hostile or difficult to their medical officers.

-Not to forget your salary increase, more on call allowances, you can claim for over time when the houseman cannot. The best is the government locums of RM80 per hour which the GPs can’t beat so far. Not to forget the medical records you can do…

– When you become MO, the specialists start trusting your assessment. They start listening to you more than the houseman. Many trust the MO judgment, so you are expected not to screw up.

Emergency department program in Kundasang

– Being a medical officer in Sabah is more exciting. The people here are nicer and friendlier. The patients have more complicated presentation making good teaching cases. The colleagues and bosses are nice. Better chance towards masters program later on. Earning more money (oncalls and locums of RM2k a month is a usual, sometimes can go up to RM3k, not to mention the elaun perumahan wilayah). Those who got posted in district can be Deputy director of the hospital although in grade UD44! Beautiful places for vacations/ breaks. Initially the thought of going to Sabah, a land faraway, is quite overwhelming but later on it feels really satisfying to serve this place. I know some of my friends who are junior MOs in semenanjung always get bullied and don’t like the place and department they are posted to. Not everyone of course… If you get posted to Sabah, don’t appeal against it. Just go with the flow 😉

One thought on “When becoming MO

  1. Hey Efanem, nice to meet you! I have personally gained lots of useful info after reading your blog. I just finished my MBBS and i am interested to go to east msia for my housemanship especially in KK Sabah. May i know which hospital you’re currently working at in sabah?Do i get higher chances of entering local master program if i do my housemanship in east msia?

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