“I liked that feedback from the Residents were also taken into account to help improve and iron out difficulties in each clinical rotation, so that we could optimise our time spent in each department.”
I was first drawn to Family Medicine during my house officer year – I noticed that many of our geriatric patients had difficulties returning to their pre-morbid status after hospitalisation, and I felt that it would be more meaningful to be able to see them at a primary care level to keep them healthy in their community for as long as possible.
As I spent more time in the polyclinic, I found that I liked to provide continuity of care – understanding patients' priorities and concerns, making shared decisions with them on their care plans, seeing how they improve (or worsen) over time, and getting to know them and their families.
The patients that we see in primary care are often diverse – not just in age or social backgrounds but also in the variety of ways they present to us, which makes Family Medicine both interesting and challenging.
Prior to starting Residency, I was intimidated by the wide range of clinical systems and topics that Family Medicine encompasses. The structured clinical rotations under the Residency programme provided valuable exposure to various specialties, and gave us opportunities to pick up practical clinical skills. I liked that feedback from the Residents were also taken into account to help improve and iron out difficulties in each clinical rotation, so that we could optimise our time spent in each department.
Our Residency Faculty members were also very approachable and supportive, and their mentorship in the Residency Continuity Clinics at the polyclinic helped me to improve my clinical skills and provide holistic care for my patients.
With the breadth of clinical skills and knowledge that is expected of a Family Physician, and the sometimes fast-paced clinical rotations, there can be some challenging times during the course of the Residency programme. However, on looking back on my three years, it has been a rewarding experience, and I am also thankful for the friendships with my fellow Residents, which have made for some great memories as well.
“The learning curve is steep, having to acquire new skills every three months and having many evaluations to complete, but I would say all efforts are worth it as we come out of the training as better doctors.”
I signed up for SingHealth Family Medicine Residency Programme when I was serving my National Service. Prior to that, I rotated through Otolaryngology (ENT) and Emergency Medicine as part of MOPEX. While I liked the subject matter in ENT, my Emergency Medicine rotation made me realise that I enjoyed variety and breadth. As a medical officer in one of the SAF Medical Centres, I decided primary care was what I wanted to do, and Family Medicine became the specialty of choice.
As a junior medical officer, I felt my prior clinical experience was inadequate for me to deliver effective primary care and I needed further training. There were a few options then - Residency, Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine (GDFM) or continue MOPEX rotations. While GDFM gives good training, I felt it lacked the clinical exposure I needed. I chose to take up Residency as it appeared to give me the widest clinical experience within the shortest time (three monthly rotations with various specialist outpatient clinic attachments).
Having now completed the SingHealth Family Medicine Residency Programme, I feel like I have come through with much more experience, having learnt from our specialist colleagues, fellow Family Physicians and patients through the various rotations.
The learning curve is steep, having to acquire new skills every three months and having many evaluations to complete, but I would say all efforts are worth it as we come out of the training as better doctors. The learning continues, as the sheer breadth of Family Medicine along with rapid medical advancement means we constantly need to stay relevant.
Family Medicine as a discipline is challenging, having to manage the very young to the elderly, who present with any and every condition, considering the patient's concerns and social background, with limited time and resources. Family Medicine Residency aims to train competent Family Physicians who can assist patients through our complex healthcare system.
I hope more doctors will join us in Family Medicine and make a difference in the lives of our patients and community.
“The hospital rotations are well-planned, and for such a complicated schedule with such a large cohort, commendably well-executed with the tireless help of our programme executives.”
For most patients, the family physician is often the first point of contact when they encounter a health issue - any health issue. Our practice is not defined by age, gender or organ system, but by our commitment to the patient as a whole. With the rise of chronic diseases and multiple co-morbidities, the family physician is well-placed in the community to help the patient live with, control and prevent diseases, while taking into account the individual's values and goals in life. At the same time, we have our fair share of excitement in the form of acute and, more often than not, emergency conditions. With the number of people we meet each day, there is seldom a dull day at work. In addition, the intellectual stimulation from the pursuit of a wide breadth of knowledge, and the emphasis on patient-centered care is what makes Family Medicine particularly appealing for me.
Choosing SingHealth for my Residency training was a natural step for me since I had done all my postings in SingHealth prior to that, and was hence familiar with the people and the system.
The hospital rotations are well-planned, and for such a complicated schedule with such a large cohort, commendably well-executed with the tireless help of our programme executives. The strength in the SingHealth programme is the extensive collaborative effort we have with all the institutions within the SingHealth cluster.
Apart from having the support of the Family Medicine departments within the hospitals itself, the subspecialty departments and supervisors are also incredibly accommodating and enthusiastic in receiving us, and equipping us with the knowledge and skills relevant for our training. Last but not least, the very approachable and supportive Programme Director and Faculty members sealed the deal. The postings may be tough, but for someone who learns best by experience, I felt that the rigour of the programme was completely worth the effort. What helped to anchor my fellow Residents and I during the rough times was the camaraderie forged with each other, which we continue to treasure beyond Residency.
Even after graduating from the programme, my seniors and mentors continue to inspire and encourage me to stretch my potential. There is no lack of career opportunities within or beyond SingHealth, particularly with the growth of the primary care sector which is in keeping with the MOH's Healthcare Masterplan. Indeed, it is exciting times for the Family Medicine fraternity and I am confident that the SingHealth Family Medicine Residency Programme will continue to rise up to meet the occasion.
“The structured training programme, as well as the dedicated guidance of the Faculty Members, makes for a more conducive and effective environment for us.”
Proud to be pioneer batch of Family Medicine Residents.
I am proud to be a member of SingHealth's first-ever batch of Family Medicine Residents. But, as with any pioneering initiative, I must admit we did run into some inevitable obstacles along the way.
We struggled together and we worked hard together. And eventually with teamwork from the entire Faculty, we managed to overcome these road bumps.
As I look back on an eventful year as a Family Medicine Resident and the many positive experiences and memories I gained along the way, I have come to appreciate the close-knit community of the Family Medicine Residency Programme even more.
The camaraderie between our small group of Residents means there’s always someone I can talk to if I run into difficulties in the course of my work.
The structured training programme, as well as the dedicated guidance of the Faculty Members, makes for a more conducive and effective environment for us.
With pioneer Residents like us and future Residents paving the way and offering feedback to further improve the Programme, I am confident the Family Medicine Residency Programme can only get better in time to come!
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