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  • Writer's pictureVincent Chuah

LIFE AS A HOUSEMAN IN HSIJB- MEDICAL POSTING

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

#This is an old post in 2017 from the blog Standing Alone

It has been a long time since I last wrote a post for this blog. I almost forgot that this blog ever existed in my life. It has been almost a year of inactivity, and many things have happened during this time. I found myself falling into a deep valley without a glimmer of hope, but with the support of my family and new friends, I managed to climb back up. I am truly grateful and appreciative for their help.


I have been working at HSIJB since August 2015 as a house officer. Back then, the waiting period for new house officers was four months, but the current trend indicates waiting lists of over six months, and some even have to wait for up to a year. This can be quite disheartening, especially considering the shift towards contract house officers, where those who display irresponsibility, go missing, or have a bad attitude are soon eliminated.


The purpose of this post is to encourage future house officers to choose HSIJB as their training place. After almost two years of training (including two months as an MO-to-be), I can confidently say that HSIJB has been quite good. However, it's important to note that this is based on my personal experience and opinion, and environments can change periodically as people come and go.


Now, let's talk about the medical posting at HSIJB. Entering the medical department as a first poster is not easy. Medical is known for its super busy workload, including tasks like multiple branula insertions, blood sampling, and various procedures. As a beginner, you are expected to familiarize yourself with the system, the environment, and gain skills in branula insertion and blood sampling during your tagging period.


The tagging period in the medical department for first posters lasts for 14 days, while subsequent posters have a one-week tagging period. It can be really challenging and even depressing during the tagging period. I used to arrive at work between 4:30 am and 5 am and would often go back home around 12 am (sometimes even as late as 2-3 am if I hadn't finished my work or if there was a patient emergency). Some of the senior colleagues were not very helpful, so I had to rely on my own abilities most of the time. I still remember crying once during my way back home during the tagging period because I felt so helpless with my workload and my colleagues. However, once you get through that critical point, you will be better equipped to handle your housemanship. Fortunately, I managed to overcome those challenges.


During my time, the medical MOs (Medical Officers) were incredibly helpful, kind, and responsible. Whenever I was unsure or didn't know something, I could call them for assistance, and they would come and help. Some of them were even willing to teach and guide me, creating a supportive and collaborative environment rather than an intimidating superior/inferior relationship. The specialists were also very nice. However, over time, some MOs have switched to other places or become specialists. Nevertheless, the medical department's bosses are still friendly and approachable.


The most challenging aspect of the medical department is writing the Personal Report (PR), which you will come to know once you start working here. Additionally, you will need to go down to the Emergency Department (ED) to clerk new cases and settle them. Thankfully, your MO will always be there to guide you and provide a comprehensive plan. This support gives you confidence in carrying out the plan effectively. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to perform procedures like CVL insertion, CVC insertion, lumbar puncture, pleural tapping, abdominal tapping, or chest tube insertion.


You will also undergo monthly assessments to gauge your medical knowledge (remember, lifelong learning is crucial). After completing the medical posting, you will realize that you have become more confident in managing conditions like diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypertension (HTN). Tasks like branula insertions, blood sampling, ABG (arterial blood gas) analysis, and CRP (C-reactive protein) testing will become routine.


It is the supportive and friendly environment in the medical department that made me love this posting. Having helpful bosses certainly reduces work-related stress.

Still, you need to grab our opportunity and be hardworking + responsible in handling your jobs.

Still, things may have changed. Be positive. Life is fantasy

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