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... the House Officer plays a pivotal role in the coordinating of the multi-disciplined care that is needed in a hospital setting.


The 3rd SMA HO Seminar was held on 27th April 1997 at the Suntec City Convention Centre. For the hundred or so of us who attended the seminar, it was worth cutting short our holidays and sacrificing our Sunday afternoon for the wealth of information and assurance we received.

The SMA MO Committee organises the HO Seminar every year for the benefit of the new batch of House Officers to prepare us for the gruelling year ahead when we actively manage patients as front-line doctors. This year, the Committee brought together various speakers to give us different perspectives and roles of Housemen. Dr Donald Poon, a House Officer was the first to share his experience, giving us a realistic portrayal of our first day at work and giving us tips on how to survive in the hospital.

Dr Dan Yock Young, a Medical Officer reminded us that the House Officer plays a pivotal role in the coordinating of the multi-disciplined care that is needed in a hospital setting. He outlined the responsibilities of the House Officer in the Ward Team as:

1.  Provides first line medical care 

2.  Monitors patient status and treatment results 

3. Participates as member of ward management team 

4.  Performs basic administrative and clerical jobs 

5.  Coordinate inter-department referrals 

6.  Acts as liaison officer

Despite all the hard work, we were reassured that we are not alone, and that the ward team will always be there for us.

Besides being part of the ward team, Dr Martin Lee, a Registrar added that expectations of a House Officer are numerous which arise from the role others perceive doctors to fill. For example, senior doctors would expect us to be meticulous, hard-working and willing to learn and be involved in the care of the patient; our medical colleagues like nurses and medical social workers would expect us to be cooperative and our patients would expect us to be competent and compassionate. He prepared us for the conflicts and distress and disillusionment we may feel when we do not meet up to the standards of others and our own standards.

We were most inspired and encouraged by A/Prof Low Cheng Hock’s speech. His quotations were thought-provoking and his anecdotal stories were captivating. He reminded us once again that we became doctors to answer to a calling, to serve others and to comfort and care for our patients always.

It gives us great courage to embark on this life long career which would probably be full of surprises and also setbacks, knowing that we have a good foundation of excellent friendships to depend on, encouragement from our seniors and the SMA MO Committee to voice our concerns and address our needs.  

1997-1998 batch of House Officers