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.