Archive | December, 2011

So, U Wanna Be A Doctor..??

1 Dec

my friends like to ask me “why do you wanna be a doc..?”

well, i’m just an ordinary guy with nothing special.. and my IQ is probably only 51%.. huhu.. :p

i received my primary and secondary school education at St’ Paul School and Green Road Secondary School in Kuching respectively.. i enjoyed school activities very much.. i participated in the Wushu Club and i was a Corporal in the Police Cadet..

during my early years, i was once ambitious to become a policeman, but the dream spoilt after i acquired myopia and required a pair of thick glasses.. sop.. sop.. sad 😥

so i had to switch my ambition.. i started to dream of becoming a doctor when i was in form 5.. i really wanted to know how a human body functions.. i wanted so much to become a flying doctor.. i wanted to fly to different places and rural areas to see their culture and at the same time to improve their health status.. but i never thought of this dream would have led me gone through the toughest route in my life.. and it took me 10 years to become a doc..!!!

due to limited places available in the public universities in those days, i was not able to get a place in the medical program after my STPM.. and at the same time i couldn’t afford for the expensive medical education in private college (as far as i can remember, there was only 1 private medical college available back to that time in 90s)..

i was lucky enough to be offered a place in Bioindustry in Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (now Unversiti Putra Malaysia) in 1996.. in those days, one would be very happy and proud if managed to secure a place in the public university, no matter what was the program being offered.. after working very hard for one year and archived a Dean’s List Award with a CGPA of 3.65, i attempted to apply to change my study program.. i was queuing for half a day in the academic office to get the form and hoped that i could be accepted into the medical program in the same university.. unfortunately, they wanted a CGPA of 3.75 (just a difference of 0.10 from mine), so there was no place for me.. i only managed to switch my program to Nutrition & Community Health.. (remark: Bioindustry is a very nice program, related to agricultural and environmental sciences.. however, i’m more interested in human health, that’s the reason why i switched my study program..)

completed my BSc Nutrition & Community Health in 1999.. then, i made another attempt to apply for medical program, but, unfortunately, the application date was closed.. i was in dilemma, should i just come out to work, or to stay back and continue with my postgraduate study?? i worried that if i come out to work, i would have lost my interests in study then.. so, finally i had chosen to continue my postgraduate study in the same university..

completed my MSc Chemical Pathology in 2001.. again, attempted to apply for medical program for the fourth time in my life, and again, unfortunately for the fourth time, the Ministry of Education (the Ministry of Higher Education was not established yet at that time) had come out with a new policy.. “those who have a degree are not allowed to enter any undergraduate program again”.. what?? i was really disappointed, and thought of giving up.. however, the desire to become a doc was so strong until i decided to find an alternative way to pursue my medical education.. i was searching around for private colleges but then i was turned down by their expensive fees..

you have met our entry requirement, you are absolutely qualified enough to do medicine.. but please make the payment first before the semester starts..” i was really down..

luckily, i found a private medical college in Perak which had given me an opportunity to study medicine with lots of supports.. i told the Dean.. “i’m very interested to study medicine, but i don’t have enough money..” and she answered.. “no one can stop you from study medicine.. money shouldn’t be an obstacle to stop a young man with strong determination to study medicine..” that was the ONLY medical college in Malaysia at that time which allowed me to chase for my dream and entered the class without asking for money first.. they allowed me to pay back the tuition fee when i started to work later.. 🙂

so, finally i entered the medical school at the age of 27.. i really thanked her so much.. 🙂

however, things weren’t going well smoothly after that.. discouragement, stress, demotivation were all jumping on me.. study with a group of adik-adik.. old age with poor memory throughout the study.. executing my duty as the President of Students Council, and at the same time had to work part-time to earn pocket money and to pay my room rental.. i couldn’t get any scholarship from JPA or any other organisations just because their policy was no sponsorship for degree holder to do medicine.. really struggled a lot to earn my MBBS..

sometimes i felt that i would have earned much more money if i just open up a duck rice stall.. or i just sell myself as a duck.. :p

no matter how, i never regret.. because i had made the right decision, and i’m happy and enjoy with what i’m doing now (although i’m a poor doctor with no car, no house, and no spouse..) :p when looking back to what i have gone through so far, they were all worth it.. 🙂

i worked as a house officer (at the age of 32 years old) and then junior medical officer in Ipoh Hospital (2006-2008) before i decided to join a local public university as a trainee lecturer in June 2008, and at the same time worked as a medical officer at Sarawak General Hospital (General Surgery & Neurosurgery) until May 2010..

i love the brain, because it looks so simple but too complex to understand.. and there are a lot of things yet to be explored inside the brain.. thus, i have decided to specialise in neurosurgery.. i passed the entry exam and was accepted into the postgraduate program in neurosurgery at a local public university in June 2010.. i passed my MRCS (Ireland) exam as well.. there are still a lot of things for me to learn every day.. learning is never ending..

i like research, teaching and clinical works.. my research areas of interest include i)  nutrition, anti-aging and regenerative medicine, ii) neuro-trauma and rehabilitation..

few words to the prospect students and current medical students..:

1) spend more time with your family.. you need to know how to love your family members before you can appreciate and apply the love and care to your patients.. otherwise, you will be treating your patients like a robot without passion, enthusiasm, or any empathy.. treat your patients in the way that how you want yourself to be treated..

2) talking to the patients and do the clinical examination in the ward will give you more knowledge and practical experience rather than just reading and memorizing the books in the library..

3) medicine is all about appreciation and experience, not by mugging the books.. and, no “shortcuts” in medical field.. always take initiative to learn from the teachers and seniors.. always be humble, humble and humble in seeking knowledge.. never for a medical student or junior doctor to behave like “tin kosong berlagak sombong..

4) work with your heart, but not your mouth.. i am sure someone has asked you “why do you want to be a doctor?”.. and i am pretty sure most of you have given this answer “i want to save lives.. i want to help the sick..”.. emm, well, this might be true when you are still in the medical school, but once you step into the housemanship, most of you will forget about this.. some come to work late.. some disappear during work.. some ignore the patients after 5.00pm.. some consider seeing patients as an extra working load.. some are rude to the patients.. you will find out these in your career later..

5) you do not need to be a straight A student to become a doctor.. medical profession is not meant for the clever or IQ 100% only.. but anyone who is enjoying medicine and a good listener to the patient will definitely doing well in his/her medical career.. of course, i am NOT a “A” student!! (remark:  interest is an issue, but whether you can enjoy your work is another issue..)

6) always appreciate with what you are having now.. it is comparatively easier to get into medical profession nowadays in view of so many new medical schools being established for the recent years.. the younger generations now are so lucky.. just imagine i need to wait for 10 years to realize my dream..! that’s the main reason why i feel so SAD when i see some of the junior doctors behave acuh tak acuh, ego, and not keen to improve their clinical skills.. i never said that i’m very good, but just keep reminding myself not to cause harm to the patients.. i will make sure nothing is pending before i leave the ward, and also make sure what i’ve done is always safe to the patients.. i’m not GOD, i’ve limitation as well, i can’t treat all the diseases, i can’t do surgery on every surgical case, but i will try to make sure the patients are always comfortable even though there are nothing much that we can do (e.g. terminally ill patients).. the most important thing is: knowing our own limitation and try to improve ourselves, don’t do harm if we really can’t help much.. and never, never let our EGO to over take everything.. (remark: always have discussion with colleagues to solve the problems, but not by arguing..)

7) don’t give up, and never give up.. make the right decision for the life you would like to have in future.. set your goal and working towards it.. nothing is impossible.. i was once washing plates in a fast food restaurant for pocket money, now i am busy washing the brain in the hospital.. you may find many obstacles throughout your journey to success, just be patience.. take the responsibility and work with passion, and don’t end up as a doctor potato..

8) remember, nothing can stop you, unless your heart stops beating.. all the best.. and cheers 🙂

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