The Editor's Musings

Tan Yia Swam

The recent months have seen major exciting world events, such as the Malaysian elections across the causeway and the historic Trump-Kim summit right here in Singapore. I think all of us should be aware of world news, but it is also important to keep abreast of events even closer to home. It behoves us to know how our own profession is doing. Training future doctors should be a priority; they are our future, and I would want competent and compassionate doctors to care for me in my old age!

SMA News continues our commitment to bring updates on training in every July issue. Dr Ng Chew Lip, vice-chairperson of the SMA Doctors in Training (DIT) Committee, reviews recent developments and changes in the residency programme, with highlights on some salient discussion points in their meeting with the Director of Medical Services. Drs Soumen Das De, Joanna Chan and Celeste Chua inspire us, each with their unique journeys in training. Completing two residency programmes; being pregnant and raising kids during training; starting a residency after having kids... how do these people do it?

Each cluster's residency programme has an orientation day and this reminds me of my days in junior college. Do DITs today need this kind of "hand-holding", when previously we were always just thrown into the deep end and told to swim or sink? Perhaps – but is it such a bad thing? It's not wrong to incorporate fun and camaraderie into training. Our millennial doctors will be looking after millennial patients, with similar social upbringing and expectations. Our responsibility is to train them well and equip them with skills they will need: medical knowledge, how to look for information, where to look for information (not just Google), and the softer skills of compassion, humility, resilience and self-care.

The world is always changing and some changes can be for the better. It is reassuring, though, to know that one thing has not changed – the willingness to do good. It seems that every batch of students and residents is still actively giving their time in volunteering for the needy.

On a lighter note, Dr Jipson Quah has collated some residency-related just-for-fun jokes and memes. Due to copyright concerns, a few of us have provided the accompanying illustrations. We hope you take them in stride, with a good sense of humour. I have already edited out the risqué ones. If you want to know what they are, email us at Enjoy!

Tan Yia Swam is a consultant at the Breast Department of KK Women's and Children's Hospital. She continues to juggle the commitments of being a doctor, a wife, the SMA News Editor and the increased duties of a mother of three. She also tries to keep time aside for herself and friends, both old and new.