First impressions do count! As a surgical trainee some 20 years ago, Associate Prof Weber Lau was impressed by the way Urology surgeons worked hard while still being fun and down-to-earth. Thus, A/Prof Lau, who is Programme Director of the SingHealth Urology Residency Programme, decided to dedicate his life to pursuing the specialty. A/Prof Lau still finds tremendous satisfaction from caring for patients in need. He says: “I had never thought about becoming a doctor although I have always enjoyed helping other people. I only realised during training that being a medical professional gave me plenty of opportunities to do exactly that!”
One aspect of Urology that ties A/Prof Lau’s passion for aiding others to his chosen field is the human interaction involved in this specialty. Long-term, trust-based healthcare relationships with patients are common in Urology.
A/Prof Lau notes that he spends much of his time seeing patients in the outpatient clinic and becoming an integral part of their lives, which enables him to provide better care for his patients. “I have a patient for whom I had performed a pyeloplasty for pelviureteric junction obstruction when she was still a teenager. Over the years, she has continued her follow-ups in my clinic. Even today, after her marriage and pregnancy, I am still looking after her—albeit for different issues, like the occasional urinary tract infection.”
The varied expertise needed in Urology is also something that continues to fuel A/Prof Lau’s spirit of lifelong learning. The myriad Urology cases such as stones, cancer and sexual dysfunction across different age groups make for interesting workdays. A/Prof Lau explains: “As our population ages, diseases such as prostate problems, urinary incontinence and urological issues relating to men’s health are increasingly seen.” He adds: “The advancement in technology and research, which I am always fascinated by, has also given rise to new surgical procedures, from microsurgery to robotics.”
In the SingHealth Urology Residency Programme, A/Prof Lau pays special attention to fostering a lively environment for academic learning and research, as well as clinical training. “The primary goal of our programme is education and excellence in research. One of our core missions is to train the future generation of Urologists and prepare them for careers in either academic or community practice,” he says. This is an important point for medical students with an interest in Urology as well. A/Prof Lau points out that Urology is an academic department, where research is strongly recommended. “This can favourably set you apart from others when applying for a Residency slot, especially as Urology is one of the more competitive specialties. If you have presented research at a Urology meeting or published manuscripts and have done a rotation in Urology, the programme offers an opportunity for you to see your interests more clearly.”
A committed Faculty and team-based mentorship are hallmarks of the Urology Residency Programme. “Residents learn first-hand from someone who has been doing it for years, in addition to operating beside an experienced surgeon from Day One of Urology training. When our Residents work closely with their mentors, they receive great support and learn to perpetuate our strong team spirit while remaining accountable for their actions towards patients at all times.” A/Prof Lau believes patients are the best teachers. Every chance for doctor-patient contact is a learning opportunity that will guide one’s career in Medicine. “The most important thing to remember is that if we treat our patients as our close family members and give our very best effort in caring for them, even an unfavourable clinical outcome or complication can improve our overall practice for future patients.”
A/Prof Lau adds that his hope is for the future generation of Urology Specialists to have their hearts full of compassion and their minds always questioning the status quo. He shares a favourite quote that directs his attitude as an Urologist:
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia
If you possess a thirst for knowledge and care about helping those in need, contact UrologyResidency@singhealth.com.sg today!
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