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Learning from the Inside Out

Dr Eugene Gan

Dr Eugene Gan, a SingHealth Postgraduate Year 1 (PGY1) Alumnus, is a firm believer in experiential learning. He actively seeks out opportunities to improve his skills and expand his knowledge by making every experience count. Determined to become the best Clinician that he can be, Eugene’s mantra is: “Practices makes perfect”. He believes that the more knowledge, skills, and abilities he gains, the more confident and competent he will become. Eugene shares with us the challenges, joys and experiences from his one-year PGY1 programme.

What prompted you to pursue the PGY1 programme with SingHealth?

My elective postings and experience preparing for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree in the wards convinced me that SingHealth was the place that I wanted to train in. I found the case-mix in SingHealth extraordinary. In addition to the unrivalled variety and volume of cases, SingHealth has a wealth of resources, and connections to the biggest sub-specialty institutions in Singapore. This gave me the confidence to plant the roots of my training in SingHealth, and strive to become the best Clinician that I can be.

What did you enjoy most about the SingHealth PGY1 programme?

I enjoyed the friendships and sense of identity built with my fellow PGY1s who rotated through SingHealth. Training within SingHealth means we will work with one another more often and build our camaraderie. It was definitely memorable working together to care for our patients, and enjoying good food and drinks as colleagues!

Relate a memorable incident that happened during your rotation to the various specialties.

The most memorable experience would be when my fellow House Officers and I noticed that a patient was about to turn ill. We promptly came together to resuscitate her, escalate antibiotics and send her to the intensive care unit for optimal therapy. In the process, we also spoke to her daughter, consoled her and assured her that we would do our best for her mother. Later, I was pleased to find out that the patient had only a short stay in the ICU and was discharged to the general ward within two days. I was really proud of the teamwork we displayed to ensure that the patient received the best care possible.

What were some of your apprehensions prior to joining the SingHealth PGY1 programme, and how have these been addressed?

Most people will say that training in SingHealth is tough, and at times intimidating. However, after joining the programme, I realised that there are many nurturing and caring seniors here who are willing to mentor and teach, if you are willing to work hard and have the courage to ask for their help. The training seemed overwhelming initially, but I learned to manage my mindset, and have come to believe that tough training can only make one stronger.

Share with us your experience transitioning from a medical student to a SingHealth PGY1.

On my first day in Residency, I was welcomed by a very warm Faculty and administrative team. They not only gave me independence to manage patients, but also provided constant guidance, support and encouragement. The PGY1 Faculty and administrative team constantly engaged us through dinner gatherings and regular feedback sessions. All this gave me and my fellow PGY1s a sense of belonging, knowing that a group of dedicated people was there to see to our development.

Share with us a challenge that you faced, and how you overcame it.

When I started my first House Officer posting, I was worried about being able to deal with the volume of work, being able to prioritise effectively and deal calmly with acutely ill patients. This is probably a concern shared by many new House Officers. It took many months and I eventually gained the experience to handle better. My advice to new House Officers would be to learn to forgive yourself, understand that it may take a significant amount of time before you finally experience a "breakthrough", to always adopt a humble attitude and be eager to question and learn how to do things better.

You have completed the PGY1 programme. What are you currently pursuing?

I decided to train in the SingHealth Internal Medicine Residency program, and I am currently a first-year Resident. I am very grateful for the opportunities that SingHealth has given me, and hope to do my best for my patients and give back to SingHealth by educating my juniors and the next generation.