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  • Writer's pictureVincent Chuah


Updated: Jun 24, 2023

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

It's understandable that you're contemplating the life of a doctor and are curious if anyone is interested in joining HSIJB for housemanship. Becoming a doctor is not an easy path, and it requires a significant amount of dedication and sacrifice. It's essential to examine your motivations for pursuing a medical career. Are you genuinely passionate about helping others, or are there external pressures influencing your decision, such as family expectations, the pursuit of wealth, or academic success?

It's not surprising that many of your friends have grown weary of the demanding nature of being a doctor. The profession requires long hours, sleep deprivation, and sacrifices in personal time and relationships. As a doctor, you may work over 12 hours a day, with limited lunch breaks and on-call shifts, and you might only have one day off per week or even less frequently. It can be disheartening when you see your friends enjoying more personal time and regular working hours, such as working from 8 am to 6 pm with weekends off. Additionally, you may find it challenging to enjoy public holidays as you must be available to respond to emergencies at any time. Furthermore, you may struggle to get time off approved for personal events such as attending weddings, traveling, or celebrating the New Year. These are just a few of the hardships that come with a career in medicine. On top of that, you must face the challenges of life and death, knowing that a mistake or lack of knowledge could have severe consequences.

Nonetheless, let's shift our attention to the O&G department, known for its excitement and palpitations. During your university years, I am initially aspired to become an obstetrician due to the joy of witnessing the birth of a baby, having fewer chronic patients, and assisting infertile couples. However, my dream shifted to surgery as I felt that O&G was too stressful and carried significant medicolegal risks. In HSIJB, the O&G department is considered the best. Here, you will learn how to conduct normal deliveries, perform episiotomies, and suture. If you are proactive and interested in O&G, you may have the opportunity to perform vacuum deliveries, twin deliveries, and breech deliveries under supervision. It becomes less challenging once you grasp the principles and become proficient in vaginal examinations.

One unique aspect of O&G in HSIJB is the opportunity to perform ultrasound scans. You will be trained in basic antenatal scans, and as a houseman, you will be responsible for performing the scan and discussing new cases with the consultants. Yes, you will discuss cases directly with the consultants, which is quite remarkable. You will be able to diagnose conditions such as breech presentation, suspected macrosomia, twin pregnancies, incomplete miscarriages, retained products of conception, placental abruption, hypertensive crises, and much more. While high-risk cases will still be attended to by specialists or MOs, you will be at the forefront, gathering valuable information. I can still remember the day when a patient came in with suspected "show," which turned out to be an abruptio placenta with a firm, woody uterus. Thanks to the appropriate steps taken, both the mother and baby were fine. Additionally, it's a joy when your estimated fetal weight aligns closely with the actual baby's weight. Working in the Perinatal Assessment Center (PAC) can be stressful, but it's crucial to become a safe doctor and maintain a high level of suspicion. For example, if a mother comes in with a fully dilated cervix but the palpation of her abdomen suggests a larger uterus than expected, you must inform the registrar promptly during labor, ensuring necessary steps are taken to prevent complications such as shoulder dystocia.

There are countless exciting experiences to be had in the O&G department. My famous quote, "Teran panjang panjang" (push long and push hard), serves as encouragement during the second stage of labor. Unforgettable moments await you, and the MOs and specialists in this department are kind and willing to impart their knowledge. Your heart will be filled with joy when you witness the happiness emanating from the parents and the newborns.

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

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