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A Good Psychiatrist: In Memory Of Associate Professor Dr Ruzanna Zam Zam - The Associate Editor, Asean Journal Of Psychiatry

Suzaily Wahab

Abstract


18th January 2012 was a date strongly remembered by all in the field of psychiatry in Malaysia, when we grieved upon the loss of Associate Professor Dr Ruzanna Zam Zam who passed away. It seemed just like yesterday when she was with us, cheerfully carrying out her role as one of the respected lecturers in Department of Psychiatry, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC). She was born on the 26th of November 1968 and graduated as a psychiatrist in the year 2000. Her contribution to psychiatry in Malaysia cannot be denied. She shouldered her responsibility as UKMMC Head of Community Psychiatry Unit, UKMMC Program Coordinator for the psychiatry post graduate programme, and Assistant Head of Personal & Professional Development Unit, UKMMC. Not to forget the multiple national and international recognitions she had received such as Advisory Board member of Centre for International Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Member of National Counsel of Mental Health Promotion, Ministry of Health Malaysia, and her long involvement as Secretary of Malaysian Psychiatric Association. Her numerous contributions in publication and research all through her years in psychiatry were indisputable as well. She was known not only in the field of psychiatry, but also by the rest of the medical fields.

Her contribution to psychiatry in Malaysia cannot be denied. She shouldered her responsibility as Head of Community Psychiatry Unit UKMMC, Program Coordinator for the psychiatry post graduate programme, and Assistant Head of Personal & Professional Development Unit, UKM. Not to forget the multiple national and international recognitions she had received such as Advisory Board member of Centre for International Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Member of National Counsel of Mental Health Promotion, Ministry of Health Malaysia, and her long involvement as Secretary of Malaysian Psychiatric Association. Her numerous contributions in publication and research all through her years in psychiatry were indisputable as well. She was known not only in the field of psychiatry, but also by the rest of the medical fields.

Till date, there has never been a clear guideline as to what constitutes a good psychiatrist. Even our opinions differ as to what should or should not be counted as 'good'. It could be that the effort to make a clear distinction between good and not good is not an easy task after all. Just as we have been enthusiastic enough to fit our psychiatric diagnoses in the well established Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, still in the end, because of the complexities of human beings, most symptoms seem to be not clear cut.

Psychiatrists are thought to have the highest level of EQ as compared to the rest of the medical fields. Some papers have come up with students' opinions regarding what constitutes a good psychiatrist, and some of the reasons include clinical competency, good communicator and listener, and also the ability to bring empathy, encouragement and hope to patients and their carers. As I reflect the days of my own mentorship under the supervision of the late Dr Ruzanna, I realized that true enough, knowledge and wisdom can come in many forms including learned from another person. She modelled to her students how to do the healing and in the process feeling healed as well. She left a message that no total cure can be given without adequate respect and empathy for the patients. She also demonstrated that the basis of treatment can be done with sincerity in the heart of the therapist. Even as her illness progressed further, I realized that the passion and devotion she had did not wither along, and that taught me about bravery and determination.

There are no easy answers as to why I categorize her as a good psychiatrist. Perhaps, it is because of her compassion to patients and others. Maybe, it is due to the strength that was seen in her. It could also be for her unrelenting ways to motivate her students for excellence. In short, I believe those who knew her shared the same kind of feeling; the feeling that we have lost a good psychiatrist. May she be blessed eternally.. Alfatihah.

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