I shadowed a doctor at Yishun Hospital for about a week in July. I was able to shadow her to her various daily activities such as her journal club, ward rounds, ICU visits and even sat in on her consulting of patients in the clinic. Due to patient confidentiality and other privacy issues at the hospital I was unable to take a lot of photos during the internship itself. I believe I learnt a lot about what it’s like to be a doctor as well as what is usually not portrayed in the glamorised concept of being a doctor. I understood the amount of stress a doctor takes on a daily basis as well the the different varieties of things they do in a normal day (contrary to popular belief).
What were your expectations? How different was it from your actual experience?
– I expected to not be able to help out the doctor I was shadowing at all and that I would have to constantly just observe whereas in the actual internship I was able to help the doctor by helping her with notes or giving my input on different situations we faced
– I expected to not be able to go into an ICU or experience something as intense as that where as I was allowed to follow the doctor into that intense setting and experience what it’s really like to work with critically ill/emergency patients.
– I expected to only take part in ward rounds but I was able to see that doctors also do other stuff such as Journal Club (which was a completely new concept for me) and understand how doctors collaborate with each other in ways other than the typical.
How much of your intended goals were met?
– I believe I achieved all of my intended goals which were as follows:
- To gain more insight into the medical field and how exactly a hospital operates on a day to day basis –> Through the internship I was able to understand how logistically everything works and the roles of registrars and medical “hierarchy”
- To find out and clarify my interests within the medical sector and possible specialisations —> After the internship I believe I have become even more passionate about wanting to join the medical field and I have also begun to have more of an interest in the clinical part of being a doctor rather than the surgical
- To better understand the importance of a doctor and their day to day roles -> As mentioned above, I got to know about different things doctors did that I didn’t realise they did
- To get more comfortable in a hospital setting –> This was the biggest goal for me and I believe I genuinely achieved it through the internship as I saw various aspects of it
What might have been some strategies that helped you achieve those goals?
- I believe I maintained a positive attitude throughout and I was able to learn from what I saw
– I ensured that I asked as many questions as possible to clear any doubts or curiosities I had in my head to make the most of my time as well as to learn the most I possibly can
What mistakes did you make along the way? (A challenge I faced) How have these mistakes/challenges shaped your learning?
- A major challenge was hearing that a man we had seen the night before had passed away the following morning. This was the first time I had experienced a hospital death and the way the doctor deals with it. It was hard emotionally to understand how and what happened as well as how to react. This was difficult for me because I had never had to experience something like that before. I believe it was the most heartbreaking experience but I was also able to learn about the challenges a doctor feels daily.
My Advice to the Next Set of Interns:
- Ask as many questions as possible, they really help you understand everything and also help you make the most of your time on the job
- Offer to help whenever you can, this sounds obvious but by trying to help out in any way you possibly can –> you might be able to help in a way the doctor may not have thought of anyway and you might be able to gain something valuable out of it
I am very grateful for the internship and believe I have learnt a lot more about the medical profession than I believe to have known.