Category Archives: Uncategorized

Intern year in progress

Well, I graduated.

This piece of news is likely not a surprise to those who are close to me as this actually happened more than two months ago. For those who haven’t caught up yet, YAY I FINALLY HAVE MY DR TITLE. I also got an internship position in Australia despite being an Australian-trained international medical student. The Commonwealth Government was nice enough to release extra positions to accommodate those needing internship positions and I was one of them. Sure enough, I have to do return of service in the rural Australia, but that’s what I want out of my career path anyway…

Intern year so far has been quite uneventful. It’s week 4 in my first term, urology at the private hospital. Workload is definitely lighter than in the public system, but being one of the first interns in the private sector makes me feel like I’m flying solo in the jungle… So far, most of the consultants have been very supportive, although they are not too sure of what role I can play in the hospital just yet.

To summarise my experiences so far, here are the highlights and the lowlights.

HIGHLIGHTS:

+ My reg telling me that I’m more than a competent intern

+ The medical admin manager asking me if she can use my ‘exemplary’ discharge summary for one of the education sessions she is planning

+ Planning to see The Tallest Man on Earth at the Sydney Opera House in a couple of weeks

+ Meeting the other interns

 

LOWLIGHTS:

– Being told by one of the consultants that I don’t even work with that my rotations at the public hospital will kill me and she thinks that I won’t be able to handle the pressure

– Being told by the same consultant that the private hospital does not need me and that I was probably doing next to no work at all

– Not being paid overtime or on call

– I haven’t been paid at all for the 5 weeks that I’ve worked

 

N

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Phase 4 in progress

Dear readers,
I passed my final set of medical school exams!!!

You’re probably asking why I still haven’t graduated even though I passed my exam almost a month ago… Well, I’m currently in the last leg of my medical degree, a leg called Phase 4. Phase 4 in UOW GSM is composed of an elective (a rotation that can be done anywhere in the world), a selective (has to be in Australia), and a Pre-Internship (which mine will be in Wollongong).

I’m in Darwin at the moment, with the cardiology team. The team is big but also inclusive. I definitely feel like I’m a useful medical student/part of the team being in cardiology this term. Being in Darwin is also quite shocking. It is here (and likely in other parts of the Northern Territory) where you see a different type of medicine compared with the rest of Australia, different because you see diseases that are commonly associated with third-world countries (i.e. NOT ones you’ll find in Australia). Last week alone, I saw two different 20 year-old Aboriginals with heart failure from rheumatic heart disease. It is an eye-opener to realise that the health condition of Aboriginals is beyond terrible compared to the rest of the population.

In a lighter note, Darwin is quite enjoyable. I’ve met a few other elective students from outside of Australia and we have spent a few days/nights hanging out playing trivia or going to the beach. It’s great that the buses are free, but public transport during the weekend is terrible. Hence why I’m stuck in the computer lab updating this blog.

Expect a few more posts from me in Darwin.

Regards,
N

Dear rain, please stop…

It has been raining here. A LOT.

Not that I mind rain, but this damn rain has cancelled the first sporting competition of my life, namely the team triathlon I was supposed to be a part of. I was supposed to be doing the swimming part in the sprint triathlon and I was so excited for it as I’ve been training all summer. This damn rain also prevented me from going for a swim for 3 days as the pool was closed due to some flooding/puddling and I’m definitely not a happy swimmer.

To make matter worse, the rain has caused my internet to go tut tut… It takes me 30 minutes to check my email in the morning. I was able to get to the Riverina Rush website yesterday to register for the 2k open water swim, but the net kept going out. I tried registering today, but I think the rego is closed already.

I am cranky and tired and I want this rain to stop.

Tagged , ,

community immersion program

1. find something that you like

2. do it

3. do it with other people who like doing things you like to do

If only I can foresee things ahead of me…

Dear blog,

To tell the truth, I’m a little bit scared of this year… There are too many ‘what if’s’ and I never like them. When I was taking a siesta earlier, I suddenly thought of what I need to do this year. I am such a planner that the idea that nothing in the next few years will be certain is quite painful.

First, I need to pass the exams and I don’t have a good record of passing med school exams. I just get so anxious having to do them that I almost always expect the worst to happen. Lo and behold, the worst comes.

In addition to the exams, I need to tackle the internship issue. I can’t afford not having a job and I can’t stand not knowing whether or not I’ll get an internship position. Every international student who wanted an internship position in NSW last year received a place, but I don’t think that is a guarantee as it is getting much harder to get a position anywhere with the medical student tsunami. I have no other way than to apply everywhere. Next week, I am planning to put in an application for NZ. It will be my last option, but I need to be prepared or otherwise I’ll be unemployed after 200k education.

I’ll end on a good note as I don’t want to be too depressing. One of my favourite websites, Apartment Therapy, had a post the other day on the Lego company office in Denmark complete with pictures of a giant slide. I want a giant slide in my house…

 

Ta,

N

A GIANT SLIDE!!!

Lego_rect540

The giant slide in the Lego office. Image courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Fourth (and hopefully final) year

Dear blogosphere,

I decided that this is a good time to update since:

1. I’m at the practice with internet connection that is not as crap as the Telstra dongle.

2. It’s lunch time and I have no patient scheduled until 2pm.

 

Since the last time I updated, there have been a few things going on. My weight loss program is still going strong, however I’ve lost the website and the password for my weight tracker. Currently I’m about 93kg, which is 3kg lighter than the beginning of December. I still go swimming almost daily, but today I was having some chest pain while I was swimming. I think it’s a musculoskeletal chest pain, not painful anymore now, but I could only swim for 45 minutes instead of my usual 1.5-2 hours. I’ll have to do a bit more tomorrow to balance it out. I feel like my weight is plateauing but at least I’m still active and not gaining weight…

Other than my weight loss program, I’ve also been accepted for my elective and selective. My selective is up first in July and I’m going to Darwin for cardiology followed by my paed elective in Singapore. This is very exciting, because that means I can get everything finalised ASAP and don’t have to worry about it before the exams, which are gonna be my last med school exams for me in June. Have your fingers and toes crossed for me. I’m starting OSCE practice tonight by reviewing the clinical examinations.

I have a lot of things that I need to get done, but I should be OK. I made a list the other day of what I need to do. Finish my written assignment this weekend, finalise elective and selective in February, apply to NZ internships also in February, finish my research project and have everything written in March, blablabla. It doesn’t look fun and it won’t be, but I’m so looking forward to tackling them especially because I can already see the finish line.

Don’t worry it won’t be all work and no fun. I’m heading back to Zegong in April for a friend’s wedding and to renew my passport. There is another wedding that I was originally supposed to usher for a couple who happened to be undergrad friends/ex-housies in the USA, but now that is no longer happening as it is right before the exams. I’ll just give them a shoutout here when the time comes… Sad, but I suppose that’s the reality. You can’t have everything that you want…

Take it easy,

*N

Summer!!!

Dear readers,

I know it has been awhile since I updated this page, but it’s been extremely busy. I’ve been working hard in the clinic twice a week, looking for electives, working on my research project, assignments, etc. Gosh, I am so looking forward to the summer break.

A few things that I have done so far:

1. I have decided that I want to go to Singapore for my medical elective possibly in paediatrics. The GSM is a rural and regional focused med course, so I figure I probably need a little bit more experience in urban medicine and nowhere is better than Singapore for this. Think about it, good food, good shopping, somewhere I can speak the languages.

2. To complement my elective in Singapore, I am applying for a selective at the Royal Darwin for cardiology. I am crap in cardiology and I’d like a little bit more exposure and practice reading the ECG, picking up murmurs. So that one should be a lot of fun.

3. I’m not going home because my parents decided that they want to visit my sister in the States for the Christmas holiday, so I’ve put in my resume to the local pharmacies to look for a summer job. I have my doubts that I’ll get any call, so I’ve decided to go with Plan B.

4. PLAN B. My plan B entails a study program and a weight loss program. This will be my last summer of no responsibility, i.e. no need to work. I’ll take as much advantage of it as I can before I enter the workforce in early 2013 hopefully.

Study-wise, I probably need to catch up on a few things, possibly get ahead on assignments, etc. It should be good I think. Obviously I’ll still take parts of the break off, but I think 2 weeks of break should be plenty.

Weight loss program-wise, due to the increasing gestation age of my food baby, I’ve decided to pretend like I am training for a triathlon. I’ll get a swimming pass to the local pool, I have just fixed my bicycle this morning, and I just need to invest on running shoes. I’ve even created a ticker for this thing. Wish me luck and if anyone wants to visit me here, more than welcome to…


Week 12

I can’t believe that I am 12 weeks into Phase 3. Since I last posted in July, a few things have happened. GP practice is going very well and the same goes to the ED. I’m having a great time in Leeton and I think I’m getting a lot of good learning opportunities. Joined the choir as a tenor, which is interesting since I’m so used to singing as a bass.

I’m currently in Wollongong, housesitting for a good friend who is getting married in France. This break is going well, with the exception of my ruptured dental abscess. I’m in so much pain right now, but hopefully I can schedule in an appointment with a dentist tomorrow or Tuesday. Will update later on.

Ta,
N

I’ll trade you my manic depressive for your schizohrenia

Let me clear the air up first. No, I don’t think I have/want schizophrenia or any diagnosed mental illness for that matter. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

First order of business, apologies for not writing for a while.Gen surg was quite busy in Nowra and the lack of internet was frustrating. That was compounded by my Experia x10, which is supposed to be my WordPress machine, broke. It’s lying on the floor awaiting my parents arrival to take it home to Indo to return to the dealer. My second reason was due to my mental health rotation, which was quite stressful really. That brings me to my second point.

I DO NOT LIKE PSYCHIATRY! I think the main reason why is because it scares me in so many ways. First week in there, I felt like I was the patient. I had no swipe card or key access and had to be let out by the nurses. When a door closed behind me (mind you the doors were big and heavy), it would slam every time. I came home everyday feeling like a clinically depressed person and would continually start existentialistic or nihiistic or pessimistic arguments with my housemates. In the end they would tell me that psych rotation was messing with my mind.

Psych also scares me due to my family predispositions to mental illness. I have had a couple of relatives who have been hospitalised in a mental institution. Suicide attempts are prevalent in my family to the point of mom telling me when I’m home who else in the family has attempted suicide this year. I am pretty sure there are some cases of pro-dromal schizophrenia in the family (albeit covered up by the ultra-religious nature of the persons; i.e. the belief of seeing the devil or hearing the voices of the Holy Spirit). Now, that’s even scarier to me. I mean, my normal mood is slightly manic (a lot of arm movements when I talk, the affinity to doing random things like hopping or mewing), I have flights of ideas and thought blocking sometimes, and I have internal convo with myself; I’m OK with those, but I don’t want a full blown mental illness.

I am now done with my psych rotation thankfully. I’ve returned to my baseline, but honestly I wouldn’t touch REAL psychiatry with even a yardstick. Let’s end this with a lighter note, shall we? I really wouldn’t want to trade my manic characters with even the slightest of schizophrenia. No, thank you.

Write soon,
N