Every now and then, friends and colleagues ask me, “Why are you here in Singapore?”. I’m not actually surprised since not many go through the same route that I’m taking.
And the next statement which follows would be, “You’re from UM or UKM?”. Since it’s the 2 only universities that are recognized in Singapore. Understandable. And when I say no to both, they’ll be stunned for a few seconds, just like how you stun them in DOTA.
Anyway, the very reason why I’m in a Singapore polyclinic is to be eligible to take the final paper of Diploma in Family Medicine in Malaysia, which is a 2-years course and I’m already close to the end. I travel back each time there’s lectures. Hopefully it pans out well to proceed on to the next path. RACGP, anyone? Then why not just practice in Malaysia instead since I’ve already attained full registration?
Well, you see. Our Klinik Kesihatans (KK) aren’t really a conducive place for on-going learning. Workload is crazy and there’s a huge number of patients to be seen, that is if you’re posted to a densely populated area in the city. In districts, it may not be as busy but most likely you”ll have to turn your “self-survival” mode on. Not to say that Singapore’s polyclinics workload is not crazy. We see approximately 50-70 patients per day per doctor depending on which cluster we’re in. However, the situation is more ideal for learning, with bosses monitoring your management and give you a big spanking if something is not done right. KK do have Family Physicians too but correct me if I’m wrong that most of them don’t actually bother with your “progress” as long the work gets done by the end of the day. Can’t blame them either, with the current glut of doctors in Malaysia, so many medical officers get thrown to the KKs with so few family physicians, how possibly can they monitor each and everyone’s progress?
Besides, with the same amount of work you’re doing in KK, why not Singapore with a better pay too? At least there will be a standardized care. And with that extra income, you can expand your portfolio by investing in properties, trust funds and insurance to secure a better future. I don’t believe in focusing solely on medicine for your basic necessities. In this new age, you need back ups.
I was in the private practice world for a year, but then I realized it’s heading no where. Working with a company was fine and all, good life, good pay, fixed working hours but there’s not much of a prospect and it kinda went against my principle to put sales at the top of my priorities. And when patients were referred as customers, I knew something was way wrong. As I was planning to leave, Singapore opened its door for me so I just took the opportunity.
Then why not be a general practitioner (GP)? To be honest, GP these days are struggling too. Ain’t gonna join in the fun. Working hours ain’t fantastic either. You’ll have to dedicate more than half a day at work to earn a decent living. With other headaches such as monthly rentals, staff payments, stock checks, licensing and management stuff, absolutely not worth the trouble. At least for now, for where I am. Just gotta set some standards for myself too before I venture out. Skills and knowledge are a must to being a good GP. Once I’m able stand on my both feet planted firmly on the ground then only I’ll think about it.
What’s your plan for the future? Thought about it yet?