By Associate Professor Wong Teck Yee
Assistant Dean for Year 4 and Family Medicine
Time really flies – our first batch of students will be starting Year 4 this month. Year 3 was a major transition point in their learning journey; they had to adjust both physically and psychologically to a different pace in the clinical setting. They started to realise that the expectations of both their colleagues and patients are high. What is even more exciting is that they are beginning to understand why they had to study certain topics in the early years.
Our students will start Year 4 with a six-week Scholarly Project, which aims to enhance their understanding of a focused area of scholarship and to promote scientific enquiry, which may inspire them to pursue a career in academic medicine, e.g. as clinician scientists or medical educators.
This will be followed by exposure to different specialties and fields of medicine (Paediatrics, Family Medicine, Rehabilitation Medicine, Palliative Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Geriatrics, Psychiatry, Critical Care & Emergency Medicine). All our Specialty Leads have put in a tremendous amount of effort to ensure that the learning experience is pitched at the appropriate level for our students.
Students will realise that patients of different specialties are unique – different age groups and medical conditions. They will have to learn very quickly the knowledge and skills required in the different specialties.
They will also be exposed to different teachers, either scientists or clinicians, who will broaden their minds as to how medicine is practised and how different medical specialties can work together towards a common goal.
Year 4 is also an opportunity to experience medicine in community and outpatient settings. This is important as increasingly, the practice of medicine is moving away from inpatient to a community-based setting. We expect our students to be self-directed, self-motivated and to start building professional relationships for the future.
My advice to our students as they embark on Year 4: get to know our doctors, nursing and allied health colleagues. They will help you in your learning journey and to navigate our healthcare system. I also urge you to start thinking about your future during the course of the year – what kind of doctor do you want to be? Who are the future colleagues you would want to work with?
Lastly, you should look upon this year as one that builds on the hard work you have put in during the early years. Concepts will become clearer, things will fall into place and it will be a major step on your way to becoming the doctors we want caring for us.