(if anyone actually follows my posts) i’m terribly sorry for the delayed posts of my Thailand grad trip and also my one month electives in Singapore. Was busy preparing for my upcoming (and final!) London trip with mom this coming friday, and I seriously can’t wait! (though the 13 hour flight does not sound very appealing. the last time i took a long haul flight was like. probably more than 10 years ago)
I’ll start with Singapore then. Sorry for the boring title; that’s more Google-able and help those that are considering doing electives here.
I spent 2 weeks in internal medicine and 2 weeks in emergency med. The reason of choosing Singapore General Hospital (SGH) over other hospitals was the fact that I could apply directly instead of through NUS (national university of Singapore), in which I would have to pay an elective fee costing 800 SGD per week. That was a hefty price to pay without much extra perks, except that they get an NUS card so you get access like a local NUS student? I’m not sure but you can look it up. The downside was that my only choice of hospital was SGH, and there are some specialties that are not available/smaller compared to other institutions; for example, there’s no paediatrics ward in SGH, only neonatology. The major paeds centre is at KK Women and Children Centre nearby. Apparently psychiatry is a small department in SGH and they mainly deal with patients with anorexia nervosa (joint care with the medical team) while the main bulk of patients are placed in IMH (institute of mental health).
Internal medicine – Good! and I like it that most of the wards were air conditioned hahahah xd. The team that I followed was great and we felt part of the team; though sadly we didn’t see much interesting cases though. Cause I followed the general internal medicine team, they would later refer their patients to relevant subspecialties like gastroenterology, cardiology, etc. It was good to see an overview of common medical cases. But if I were to choose again, maybe I would choose a specialty that was less taught in my university; something more specific like Oncology, Radiology or anaesthesiology to widen my exposure. But the good side was we (me and another medical student from UM, Jun Ni) would be treated with free drinks while the team was doing changes, and there’s free lunch-cum-lecture for the doctors (and us!) every tuesday to thursday. It was delectable in my opinion! (though the doctors beg to differ.)
On a side note, I also got a better idea of the healthcare system. Apparently there 4 different ward classes: A, B, C, D, with A being one with the highest cost and best facilities like air conditioning, private rooms, personal TV and so on. During admission through the A&E department, patients could choose their preferred ward class. However, their comforts come at a price, so to speak. Their healthcare is much more pricier than in Hong Kong as the government does not subsidise as much. But there are also various insurance schemes such as MediSave and MediShield to offer better coverage of hospital bills.
Emergency medicine – Even better! For the 2 whole weeks, I followed a single MO (medical officer) throughout her entire shift. I loved the fact that I had plenty of hands-on opportunities such as drawing blood, setting intravenous lines, suturing and a sweet, capable MO who trusted me on it! She also let me have my own room, clerk the patient, type the case notes before she would come and assess the patient again and offer relevant investigations and management. It was just awesome; and the A&E is always jam-packed with action. We would get posted in different sections of the AED, and my favourite was of course the resuscitation room where all the action is at! Saw a patient get diagnosed with inferior MI based on his history and ECG and get sent for cardiac catheterisation immediately, a CKD patient with ECG changes of hyperkalemia, and given calcium gluconate immediately with subsequent measures to lower the potassium, a shoulder dislocation that was relocated by the consultant with no anaesthesia at all; apparently his soothing ang-moh voice has some anaesthetic qualities!, a mid femoral shaft fracture that was stabilised by traction, among many others. The only downside I would say would be the odd working hours; on two occasions, I worked from 8pm till 8am the next day; but I would get that day off after work. But at least for that I could go home via public transport. There was once I ended work at 2am and took a taxi home; Singapore is safe enough for a lone girl to hitch a taxi at wee hours in the morning; it was just the price (23 SGD) that left my wallet feeling a little lonelier T.T (super sim tia in Hokkien)
Transport to SGH was no problem at all. It’s a 10 minute walk from the nearest MRT: Outram Park, and apparently if you travel early enough from the city outskirts to city centre before 7.45am, your MRT ride is free! So I got to save quite a bit during my Internal Medicine posting where I would follow the MO rounds which started at 7.30am. But I stay pretty far away (1.5 hours away) with my sister, so those were the days when I would have to wake up really, really early. >< Alternatively, there are buses to SGH as well; you just have to familiarise yourself with the routes and have your google map with you as some of the buses don’t display the next stop on the screens. Buses take a longer time but they often cover more residential locations than the train. But MRTs are definitely a quicker way to travel. I thought they came pretty frequently (3-4mins once) but it depends where you are from; my Hong Kong friends of course felt that it was a long wait (MTR comes every 1-2 mins) while in Malaysia.. heheh. Once every half an hour the last I remember. (and if there is no delay.)
There’s plenty of food within and around the hospital grounds. One is often spoilt for choice but the best thing I had within hospital grounds would be the Starbucks breakfast: Rosemary Chicken Croissant! (or maybe it was cause I had it after working 13 hours overnight hahaha) It was heavenly.
Haha off to listen to more musical soundtracks to immerse myself in West End culture before I get there! *squeals in excitement*
Ending the post with some photos of jelly fish I took in Sea Aquarium @ Sentosa! Jelly fishes are the most beautiful sea creatures HANDS DOWN. look at how photogenic they all are!