Dr. Roupen Odabashian

PGY-1, Internal Medicine

1) What has helped you work through the COVID-19 pandemic?

I came to this country with hopes and dreams to be where I am today. This country has never let me down, It gave me extended family, friends, new life, career and a safe place to stay. I have wanted to “pay-back” and “pay-forward” the many blessings which people and this country have bestowed upon me and now is the time where I can help, so the idea that I owe the people and the land the blessings that I have now as a doctor helps me to get through the Pandemic. Every day when I get up and go to work I feel blessed and lucky to be part of the amazing team the Ottawa Hospital has, and this motivates me and gives me the positive attitude that is needed to work through the pandemic.

2) What message would you give to your fellow physician colleagues on National Doctor’s Day?

I want my colleagues to know that I appreciate the small talks we have with each other when we meet in the lounge, I appreciate everything that is being done to help us, individually and collectively, to be productive, to schedule meetings, to teach and share our knowledge, and to “virtually hang-out” to de-stress and socialize (at a distance).

We all need to have a positive perspective on the unusual circumstances we are going through, and we all need to look forward to tomorrow because, although it may take some time, this will end at one point and we will go back to our normal lives. It is alright to complain, but we need to remember that we have a lot of resources that are still available for us to go through these times. Yes, our personal contacts and social lives have been affected, but at least social media is available to us.

Although work takes most of our time, we still need to have good mental health, because if we are not in the right state of mind we can’t help the people who need help, so try to refresh yourself and keep your spirit up by doing home exercises, use the time you have to communicate with your beloved ones virtually. Being flexible and able to adapt is what helped me to survive 6 years of war and I believe resilience can help every physician to go through this. Believe in your own adaptability and flexibility. An “I can do this” resilience will help you get through this pandemic. Happy National Doctor’s Day to all my colleagues and supervisors, and thanks for all the support.

3) What message of encouragement would you give to the public during this time?

Please, come to us If you are in need of medical help. If you are feeling unwell, don’t wait until the last moment. Come to us and we will treat you and do our best to keep you safe.

Thank you for respecting the social isolation rules – despite the sadness behind the daily case reports, social isolation IS working. Stay home and follow good personal hygiene practices. Use common sense: wash your hands, keep a distance, avoid crowded places, and don’t believe news reports from unreliable sources and internet rumours and distortions. Listen to the medical experts – physicians are working on the front lines. The Canadian government is doing its best to keep everyone updated. Take courage knowing that, here in the “Great North”, we are still doing much better than many other countries. So keep following the medical advice.

4) Describe what work/life has been like for you over the last few weeks.

Work/life has been busy. There have been changes – not a single day passes without mentioning the virus or reading about it on the news. We are seeing patients with COVID and we have to keep our knowledge up-to-date. At the same time, we need to continue treating those patients with issues relating to internal medicine. Some days the work is very hard and very busy. I have found it helps me to stop for a minute or two and ask one of the nurses how her/his day is going and how they are adjusting and coping with life right now. It is very helpful to share our stories with each other and to remember that each of us is not alone – we are a medical community that supports each other.

Life has changed. Like everyone, I find the social isolation stressful. Family and friends are what usually keeps me going. But, on a more positive note, this pandemic has shown me the strengths and resilient characters of those around me. It has pushed people to come up with creative solutions to overcome the difficulties. So, despite the challenges and changes going on around us, I have discovered that I have a wonderfully supportive cohort around me. We keep in touch (at least virtually) and we always ask how the other is doing.

One thing that has really increased is the number of emails I receive every day. To be honest, sometimes it is hard to keep up – I might need to hire a secretory soon!

Published by toheducation

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