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A reflection of how education as an ongoing journey is not just for veterans but those fresh out of school. This candid bunch of the SingHealth family reveals the important lessons they picked up outside medical school, and the lessons that they themselves would like to pass on. We hear from a fourth year Duke-NUS medical student Rachel Ng.

Rachel Ng
Fourth year medical student, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School

Something that you do not quite learn in medical school is the art of patient contact. You will never completely understand, predict or learn this as patients are dynamic and often cannot fully describe their condition to you.

Each patient comes with different presentations of symptoms and different social backgrounds, lifestyles and stories. Each case is unique and must be learnt on the spot.

This also means that your patient care should be equally dynamic and personalised. When you take the effort to care and communicate, you build a good patient-doctor relationship and most importantly, trust.

A mentor taught me to never take short cuts and be as thorough and efficient as I can. If you simply go through the motions and steps that you have been taught in school, you might miss certain things or not completely understand what a patient needs. This will also lead to poor patient compliance and hence, poor outcomes.

I also believe good relationships must be cultivated with your colleagues. Medicine is too wide and too multi-faceted for us to work in silos. It is definitely teamwork. In light of this, I feel that we should reserve our negative comments of each other’s work. We all have different clinical views, values, experiences and knowledge that we should respect and value.

My goal for the future is to be a Clinical Educator. I have an equal passion for teaching and geriatrics, and through education I hope to inspire younger doctors in the future to join the fraternity and help the elderly.

I founded a start-up company in 2003 to help children from primary school till junior college to enjoy learning as I did. I myself struggled through my secondary school days but taught myself techniques to study better and cultivate personal motivation. I now use that experience to help younger generations boost their confidence and performance in their studies. 

Sometimes, it is not a matter of how much you know but how much you care. When your juniors see that you care, they respect you as someone they can look up to and seek advice from – that is in essence the role of an educator. 

Extracted from Tomorrow's Medicine (Issue 04-2012), a SingHealth Publication

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