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Empathy empowers care giving

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Dr Jyoti Kotwal, Chairperson & Prof, Dept of Haematology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital & GRIPMER, Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi and President, Delhi Society of Haematology, opens up about being a professional and how her empathetic attitude towards her patients has made her successful both professionally and personally
By Prabhat Prakash

Dr Jyoti Kotwal, a vivacious lady with a wealth of knowledge at first sight would appear to be very strict, disciplined and meticulous in whatever she does. But there is also a very soft side to her once one gets to know her better.

While being an clinical expert, a teacher, an administrator, and more, Dr Kotwal believes, that working in healthcare means care giving at all times and successful human beings are those that find the right balance in life — be it work, family, social and self.

Well, in a brief interaction with this dynamic person, I truly understood that the sense of patient care should be a primary principle for every healthcare provider, no matter how much more or less the interaction with the patient may be. Dr Kotwal is currently the Chairperson and Prof at Dept of Haematology in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital & GRIPMER. She is also the President of Delhi Society of Haematology. She is an Ex-Professor & Sr Advisor Path & Haemat Army Hospital (Research & Referral), Delhi Cantt and also Ex-Professor, Dept of Path & Haemat, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. She has years of experience both as a haematologist and as an academician. Her work and experiences add a better perspective to her professional as well as personal life.

Care giving

As Dr Kotwal lays immense emphasis on care giving, I asked her how she would define the concept of care delivery. “There are different aspects to care giving varying from individual to individual, which can be largely categorised into paid or unpaid. Care giving is largely used to address impairments due to old age, disability, disease or a mental disorder,” she accentuates.

For Dr Kotwal, empathy is paramount in care-giving. At work, she puts in her best to deliver care with her empathetic attitude and vast knowledge and skills in pathology that she has amassed over the years. “Important aspects which I always keep in mind are: promptness in investigations to enable a speedy diagnosis and management; empowerment of the patients and their care-givers so that they take an informed decision regarding the treatment modalities and appropriate soft skills always,” states Dr Kotwal.
While knowledge on the latest development in the field of pathology is important, she works towards updating her knowledge and skills on a regular basis which helps her to get better at care giving.

“Healthcare is such a domain which is evolving all the time and it really helps to stay updated with advancements,” she says.

Work life balance

To be successful, one has to have a balance in life, she believes. “One just shouldn’t be pre-occupied with work all the time. It starts to deplete other aspects of one’s life. Work is important but so is time spent with family and friends,” she strongly advocates.

Dr Kotwal maintains her work life balance by managing time efficiently, prioritising, scheduling and rarely multi-tasking.

Taking out time for oneself is also very important to maintain work life balance which Dr Kotwal achieves by exercising and yoga during her leisure time. She is a firm believer of living in the moment and spends time with family as and when time permits.

She likes to travel and is very fond of beaches where she enjoys swimming. She just likes the ambience of beaches along with sea food. Other hobbies that she indulges in to unwind are reading, travelling, cooking and charity. She states, “I am also lucky to have full support of my spouse and family members in whatever I do.”

Learning other art forms

Times have changed and life has become challenging with every passing day. To cope with the challenges and to perform at the optimum level, one has to be alert and attentive at all times.

Yoga, transcendental meditation and theatre helps Dr Kotwal professionally as well as when she interacts with her patients. She wakes up at 5 am everyday and dedicates 1.5 hours to yoga diligently. She has a keen interest in debates and also was a radio artist in her school days. She emphasises that teaching and research help her in her capabilities as a doctor.

She stresses, “The involvement in other activities helps in recharging and also improves concentration and uptake, improved interactions with the patients and their care-givers, and also better research.

Passion for books

Being an avid reader, Dr Kotwal reads all kinds of books and articles including books on medicine and leadership. She does enjoy enjoy fiction and literature as well.

Dr Kotwal usually reads on her travels. The last book that she read was Code Name God by Mani Bhaumik. She has a long list of books that she calls her favourites but the books that outranks the other are Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. A few other books that she can recall at the moment are Animal Farm by George Orwell and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller and she also mentions that the teachings from these books are applicable in all situations, which helps to develop a better perspective as well.

Gadgets and gizmos

Technology has been a boon to mankind ,especially when used for the betterment of oneself and others. Dr Kotwal’s latest gadget being an Apple watch has made her life easier with all that functionalities that the watch has to offer. She doesn’t have to carry her phone at all times.

Stay healthy and stay happy

Life comes with its own challenges. Dr Kotwal always says that one needs to strike a balance with their professional and personal life to lead a healthy and happy life.

“Everyone must try to take out time for themselves be it for exercise, leisure activity, music or any activity which gives a person happiness. Complete involvement with family members whenever we are with them makes our life enriching and also helps to strike the right balance,” states Dr Kotwal.

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