Wednesday, May 25, 2011

“MEDICAL is a Challenging Profession, yet a VERY rewarding profession”

This afternoon, a group of pre-medical students came to our hospital for a visit. They were JPA scholars who came for exposure and to learnt more about the hospital life and career as a doctor.

The ward sister introduced me to them, ‘This is Dr Wu, our house officer here. In the future, you will become like her. Dr Wu, can you brief them about life as a houseman?’

ME: Sure, what would you like to know?

STUDENTS: We would like to know more about life as a house officer. We heard that it is difficult and would like some motivation.

ME: Are you all already enrolled in Medical School?

STUDENT: YES. We are from XXX and YYY.

(Mind: Meaning, those innocent students are CONFIRMED stucked in med school…) Everything that come out of my mouth now HAD to be POSITIVE.

And I couldn’t believe what came out of my mouth next:

“MEDICAL is a Challenging Profession, yet a VERY rewarding profession”

(very rewarding???) -YES, I said it!!

“You see results, like when you treat your patient, you see how he recovers and goes home”

“The moment when you first scrubbed in, your first baby delivery, holding those little soft fingers, your first appendicectomy, the feeling cannot be bought. The experience is somewhat special and you cannot find it anywhere else”

Sure, I pacify those students, motivate them more than I had ever motivated myself.

“Not just anyone can survive in the medical field. It takes a lot of strength, courage and hard work. If you can survive medical school, if you can survive housemanship, you can survive ANYTHING“

STUDENTS: What about medical school? We heard Medical is all about work and no play.

“Keep a balance between work and play. They say, study hard when you are student, it’s true… because those things you study, do come in handy when we work, especially those at clinical years. It helps in our work. But,  endless work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Participate in research, join students association,  go out with your friends, enjoy, go travelling, yes, work hard but have fun along the way."

“ when I was a student, I participated in a Student Organization named : AMSA (Asian Medical Students’ Association) and we took part in many activities : Paper Presentation, Poster Presentation, Research, Cultural Exchange,.. We travelled to Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong,.. meet students from other countries, understand their lifestyle, exchange views, hang out… it was fun"

And those students were staring back, like in disbelief that a medical student life can be fun.

Well, honestly, I did enjoyed my medical school life. The tough days were tough. Where the amount of facts and knowledge we have to study is not counted by how many pages, but is measured by how many feet high is those books and notes stacked up, per subject. It was scary, thinking back. But, the good days were good. And I had many, many, MANY fond memories of my student life. One thing was, I had very good friends. I was relatively active in school activities and student body, so, I had a great experience.

“You guys are JPA scholars, probably one of the brightest students in your high school. But in medical school, it is an all new thing altogether. You will be competing amongst yourself, the best students of the batch. And it can be very stressful at times. There will be two extremes categories of students. Those who just pass exams without much effort, A, and those who need to work EXTRA hard to pass exams, B. You might be in either of this category, A or B, or somewhere in between. If you happen to be in the B category, don’t give up, support each other, and put in the extra effort, you will reach the finish line.”

STUDENTS: How about on-calls? I heard it is terrible,….

“I have to say, you guys are VERY lucky now, as oncalls nowadays are VERY much better compared to those 10 years back, considering that nowadays, we have more house officers. Some departments in some hospitals even give post-call-off! ”
-I cannot believed I said that.

“The more reason you need to study as Students and house officers. The concept is simple. The better knowledge and skills you have to manage a patient, the faster you can finish your work, and the more time you have to rest. But is someone is Jonah, then, it’s just luck. Of course, a shift system would be much better for all of us. Unless the system change, oncalls have to go on. But remember, you have nothing to lose, every day, there’s something to learn. And those on-calls, they make you stronger”

The truth is, there are more house officers, but the work load has became more and more demanding. House officers have more scopes to cover. In some hospital, they need to do double entry for the computer system. Some HO has to function as MO. Some HO has to function as SN and PPK. Work is endless. You are the PPK, the SN, the HO, the MO- EVERYTHING! But of course, I couldn’t tell them that and scare them away.

NEW fresh students, they reminded me of how I used to be. Like a clean sheet of paper, so innocent, so ‘un-touched’, so eager…

When I was at high school, I was motivated by a medical student who came to our school. His name was Dominic.

I think I like this. ‘Motivating’ these young souls. Pacifying them.

And I think that was exactly what I needed back then, when I was in their shoes –MOTIVATION...

Haha, they should read my blog... NO, THEY SHOULDN'T.


  1. hye!!! Motivation is what we really need!!! I wish instead of a doctor giving us the orientation in the hospital back then in 2007, i wished we had HO to give the talk..but they seemed soo 'tak kisah' and unwelcoming...

    Glad you tell the the right thing...
    a positive TRUTH..not emphasizing the negative TRUTH...not making us freshies even more 'down'...

    Some people may come to us freshies to persuade us that they get better jobs,grad faster, no burden, no much stress like medicine blah2...We fell irritated,annoyed etc..But ape nak buat kan?

    Freshies are so what happen to my friends here, 5 people quit the field already...

    prompted by that, most of us felt like want to quit too.. but i stayed because of the greater consequences i may face after we quit the scholar...WE HAD no CHOICe but to continue...

    even by the time we grad as Dr, there will be too many HO around that we do not get enough training whatsoever...but still we want to continue..

    For now, MOTIVATIOn is what we need from our fellow seniors working in the field...not the scary stories part to bring our spirit down..

    too long already..ahaha..

    neway, gud luck !!! Hope to see more posts regarding your experiences and views in medicine!!!

    1. Sometimes, all we need is a little motivation and support from each other... together, we grow for the better... I hope you are doing well Hawa, and motivating the other juniors ^^

  2. good for you, in a way when you motivate others, it goes back to you. each time you think you had enough, you will be reminded on how were you back when it all started,

    the world needs more motivation ;) definitely!!

    1. what goes around, comes around... Indeed, in a challenging profession like this, we need to motivate and support one another... :)

  3. I like what u told to the students. =D Coz i heard a lot of teachers actually talked negative stuff to challenge the students so if they cant take it, they might as well just drop it. =D I know it somehow provoke them to study even harder but some not all studnets could take it. >.< We shud have more motivating teachers like u ;)

    1. Thanks. We can all be teachers,.. and we were all once students... the thing is keep positive, as positive can always drive us far, to even the almost impossible... NEVER GIVE UP!

  4. I can imagine that a doctor's job is very rewarding indeed. If I had the academic capabilities back then I would have chosen the medical field too. You have a good point there Shinyin, once you have the skills and knowledge, any task can become simple and manageable. Sometimes it's not the profession that is tough, it's the system that's making it hard. I heard quite a lot of horro stories frm friends doing HO in Malaysia. So glad to hear that tings are getting better :)

    1. Yes, things are getting better. I believe that every profession has its very own challenge. In the end, we just needed to be reminded to make the most out of life, think positive and never give up on ourselves! Cheers~

  5. First of all, isn't that like lying to them? :S

    Second of all, I can't believe you still remember Dominic *faint* I didn't even remember this guy until you mention his name. Now that I think of it, I was quite impressed by his accent and the way he confidently talks :)

  6. This is a great article, and a great topic to explore. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome :) Glad you enjoyed reading it as much as i enjoyed sharing it


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