The student sits before me, listening. The scenario plays out like a story book. Imitating a nurse, I call out, “Doctor! Patient is complaining of chest pain.” The student fumbles for a while, not knowing what to say. I repeat my statement, with added urgency in my voice, “Doctor, you better come now. Patient doesn’t look well!” The student is visibly in distress herself. “Are you coming now, Doctor? Patient is in a lot of pain!” Finally, the student utters, “Where is the patient located? I will come now. Take a full set of vitals now and an ECG. What is he admitted for? Does the patient have any history of heart disease?” I smile. That is a good response. “Ok, Doctor, patient in ward XX/12, taking vitals and ECG now. Patient admitted for acute kidney injury. No history of heart disease.”
Simulation in medicine has always enthralled me. Nothing beats doing the actual thing but there is no better way to prepare than to “experiment” with fictional characters brought as true to life as possible. A doctor various unforeseeable scenarios – the lift cutting off the handphone signal, the needle just not going in, another more urgent case presenting itself, demanding colleagues, unreasonable families, uncooperative patients… The list goes on. Such simulation brings students, unfamiliar with the responsibility and life of a newly minted house officer, closer to reality.
Having been inspired by one of my medical tutors, and realising that no such programme existed, I instituted the night call medicine course, where junior doctors teach final year medical students the most common and stressful scenarios that they will encounter during their night calls. This pioneering spirit that I have was nurtured during my term in the NJC Student Council. My fellow councillors and I believed in uniting the College community and we put our best efforts into coming up with new ideas to build school spirit. I was inspired by my friends, who painstakingly pulled together one of the greatest orientation camps I had ever seen. The plot, storyline, costumes and games were all linked by the theme “La Famiglia”. We pulled out all stops to put together the inaugural Halloween festival and turned the large gym into a house of horror and fun.
Having a pioneering spirit is not about coming up with initiatives for the sake of something new. It is grounded in a firm desire to address real needs. It is really the spirit of service at its best. I owe my gratitude to my friends and teachers for teaching me the meaning of being a pioneer and a servant leader. These two principles, together, can change the world, one initiative at a time.