Medical High School Programme - Our Experience
Vacuum cup delivery? Sutures? Endoscopy? In just 3 Saturdays, these foreign terms were comfortably added to our growing repository of medical terms, courtesy of the Parkway East Medical High School programme.
We, a group of 28 Victoria Junior College students, were privileged to partake in this latest medical programme where we were fully immersed into the world of medical professionals. In an effort to expose youth to the real working life in hospitals, Parkway Medical Group generously rolled out an intricately planned programme in their own premises. Lectures by experienced doctors, hands-on sessions simulating general surgeries and the delivery of a baby, learning to carry out the Heimlich Manoeuvre, an unprecedented peek at state-of-the-art equipment, the list goes on. Within 3 sessions, the programme had offered us an invaluable learning experience by taking us through the works of a typical day in the hospital. For some of us, our previously hazy aspirations to be a doctor have crystallized more than ever over these 3 days of attachment: we wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare sector, be it Medicine, Pharmacy or Allied Health.
The opportunities offered were truly eye-opening. Many of us harboured the desire to enter the medical field, with information gleaned online, through various talks, or even advice from friends and seniors. This programme was a breath of fresh air, by offering us with the opportunities that not only contributed to our knowledge of the field, but also a reality check by exposing us to the unseen hurdles and difficulties involved in the profession. Rocketing university course rates, long working hours, difficult patients and the inherent possibility of failing to save a patient’s life even if we tried our best. This was important in breaking down pre-existing notions that we may have had and it succeeded in conveying the true nature of entering and working in the medical field. Being a doctor is not easy, but is certainly rewarding, derived from both the patients’ gratitude and the growth of self. Being placed in situations that mirrored the real working life in a hospital, the educational value offered by this experience is truly an invaluable one.
Without this carefully structured programme, many of us would still be unable to empathise with our mothers who have undergone the pain of labour. Neither would we be able to understand the crucial roles that surgeons and specialists play, such as the orthopaedic radiologists, without whom, we would run the risk of having inaccurate diagnosis of bone conditions. The lectures and personal experiences shared by the different doctors of diverse fields also provided valuable insights to the specific specializations of medicine, allowing us to have a better understanding of the sectors we have a deeper interest for as well as which would best suit us. The highlight of the programme was that every participant was given the opportunity to carry out various hands-on activities, such as providing first aid, laparoscopy, endoscopy and even using a vacuum-suction pump to deliver a baby.
What is more unique about this attachment programme is the opportunity for participants to not only experience hospital life by putting ourselves in the shoes of a doctor, but also that of other healthcare professionals, namely physiotherapists and nurses. Dr. Radhika Lakshmanan emphasized the importance of being a team player during her sharing, and that every single person in the hospital plays an equally important role. Most of us know that to conduct a surgery, a surgeon is necessary. However, we do not notice the other seemingly minute roles such as the scrub nurse, anesthetist, porter and theatre attendants involved but they are, in fact, as important as the surgeon himself in order for the surgery to be a success. The programme's holistic approach to teaching us about a career in healthcare opened our eyes to an even wider array of career paths. It was exciting to know that individuals with different characters and passions can find their place in the world of healthcare. The attachment programme is revolutionary in that it has successfully taught youth in society who are interested in the sector of healthcare to open their minds and hearts to other occupations in the same field, while still catering to those who wish to know more about the already prominent jobs like the doctors and nurses. Many students in the science faculty are interested in the field of Medicine, with the idea of prestige that comes with it and a high salary in mind. But how many of us have given this career option a serious thought? Are we prepared to deal with the long hours at work and its accompanying emotional demands? The beauty of this programme is its ability in getting us to give this field a serious thought and the dissolving of misconceptions before we are sure about pursuing this career.
Overall, the programme has indeed been an unforgettable and memorable learning experience which we would highly recommend to juniors interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Parkway East Medical High School and the school for collaborating and giving us this opportunity to discover more about the healthcare sector.