Friday, August 14

Inching Closer to Becoming a Real Doctor

This is me in a stereotypical get-up of your standard medical officer.

Only now, as I sit quietly in front of my trusty laptop (although it occasionally gets the "white screen" syndrome), I got to realize a few things. Earlier today, knowing that my elective posting at Keningau District Hospital is officially ending this week, I walked cheerfully towards Mr. Pengarah's secretary and asked her for my official completion letter, stating that I've successfully underwent 6 weeks of up-to-date. much needed practical training for my working years. Then, I wondered - what did I achieve this year? In fact, this year was the most fruitful year of all.

3 weeks interning under the Internal Medicine Department, and another 3 weeks under the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department was an exciting experience. As a medical student, having hands on knowledge, although just a tiny morsel, was a big boost to my confidence level as an aspiring medical officer.

Being with the Internal Medicine Department, I got the chance to be a real doctor doing daily rounds. Why, I even had my OWN patients! I admitted them into the ward, took their history, and even arranged investigation to be done, and proposed a plan of management. I also had the chance to do random procedures - venesection, setting up the branulla + IV line, digital examination per rectum, and a LOT of injections. Of course I met with a lot of difficulties along the way, made errors here and there, but I was really thankful to have such a supportive environment there in the ward. especially to Dr. Rajan and Dr. Izdihar - learning was really a wonderful experience. I learnt one valuable thing while I was interning there - not everything goes according to the books. I learnt that some matters can only be solved by experience. So I shouldn't worry about that for now, as I still am a medical student, who still needs to refer to the books.

Working at the Internal Medicine Consultant Clinic gave me another edge, where I got to deal with follow-up patients. I shared a table with Dr. Florence, where the both of us would take cases one by one, review the patients as they sat beside us and prescribe them the neccesary medications. I got the experience to fill in the case notes, do routine examinations, fill in forms, and writing prescriptions. Thanks to her, I learnt a lot.

Want some blood? Let's transfuse some for Thalassaemia A patients.

At the O&G Department, I was initially lost. I really had no idea where to start, and what to do even. But with the help of Dr. Angela and her dedicated team at the Labour Room, to date, I have the experience of handling 5 vaginal deliveries + placenta deliveries, and 3 ARM procedures using amniotomy hooks. I witnessed too how they did episiotomy repairs in 2 of the patients. Also, for a medical student it is quite rare I think for us to be doing VE's. But I did 2 VE's. I also got to feel how the os cervix dilates prior to giving birth. Not much, you would say - but for me, it was a GREAT START. As a student from a foreign medical institution, getting acquainted with how things are done in your homeland i.e. the place where you are going to end up working is an experience you should never miss.

Let's to operate the CTG machine again?

Okay this is how the cervix should dilate...10 cm? That's mighty big.

What I learnt this year not only adds to my medical knowledge, but also boosts my self-confidence and enhances my social skills. Why? Well, I firmly belive (and it was tested and proven hehe) thatin order for a student to be doing stuff that I did - he/she must HAVE/BE the 4 P's:


I will tell you why.

PATIENCE: You will get scolded always. Your lack of knowledge will be ridiculed by your supervisor. You cannot complete some tasks in time, or in a particular manner. You will get annoying patients. You will have some people not liking you. You will feel tired standing the whole day.

PERSEVERANCE: You will feel you need to catch up fast if you want to do more procedures. You will feel the need to work hard to gain the approval and acknowledgement of your team with whom you are working with.

PROACTIVE: You have to know what is going on around you. You will have the desire to attend to most of the cases. You have to keep yourself updated at all times. You need to be alert at all times.

PLEASANT: You have to be friendly, cooperative, and respectful to EVERYBODY around you - supervisors, HODs, MOs, HOs, Matrons, Sisters, Nurses, Support Services and most importantly - your PATIENTS.

All that I have written above are only but a tiny, small part of what the future has in store for us - not only doctors, but to everyone: teachers, engineers, scientists, pilots, and so much more. I hope everyone can benefit at least a little bit from what I have shared here today because I think its a piece of a real-life experience worth sharing.