Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Academician


We come to a crossroads at the end of our housemanship. Although we aim for posts with less work, most of us continue on with district MOship; others get admin jobs at health-related departments. Me? I took the road less traveled, quit  and joined my alma mater, USIM, to serve as an academician in Paeds.

Joining Paeds justifies having toys at your desk.
 It's not a popular move at HoSHAS (only 1 HO joined a university since 2 years ago), given the fact that the pay was not that good at that time, the job scope was unclear and that most of us still like hands-on work and disliked research. But I joined anyway. I love my university; despite not agreeing on certain elements, I still need to take care of it.

Damn, why am I so handsome?
Looking back, the first batch was often reminded to join and serve the university since Year 1 of medical school. The seniors knew that every first batch has a certain unwavering loyalty to the medical school (given successful past examples). A loyalty forged from hardship - the lack of teachers, the infantile administration, the uncertain future. We struggled as a trial-and-error batch and from that hardship, the faculty prospered into what is it today. After all that hard work, nobody wants to see it destroyed or neglected.

The Oath of the Muslim Physician.
So, after settling thick paperwork, I'm now back to Menara B, Persiaran MPAJ; only this time, I have a cubicle on Level 13, complete with a computer and telephone. I was also joined by my sidekicks - Hafiz and Miqdad - who, like me, are USIM graduates who just finished housemanship. Our job for now, according to the Deputy Dean, was to "help around, taste the academic life, understand that it's publish-or-perish!" and then, do clinical attachment in our field of interest before joining a postgrad programme within 2 years. 

Helped around, we did.

Every one I know is working their asses off and I'm just sitting here.. contemplating.
The first week was a culture shock. We were used to running around the hospital and being active, but after joining, we sat around doing nothing for the first week, punching in and out punctually daily while our colleagues in KKM continue to improve as MO's. I admit that I was a bit jealous and worried about being stagnant and rusty, but that worry slowly faded as work piled up little by little.

Baby Balqis also helped to give marks.
We briefed the Year 1 students about medical school life. We helped to teach systemic physical examination to the Year 3 students. We attended the clinical lectures (Hafiz even delivered one lecture!) and seminars. We followed the ward rounds and highlighted important clinical management and items that the students missed or were too shy/afraid to ask the specialist.

I shadowed a professor as he conducted short cases during the end-posting exams.
We  looked for patients for clinical exams at Ampang Hospital, managed the clinical exams and invigilated over the written exams. We also marked the case write-ups and tabulated the end-posting exam marks. We also squeezed out brain juice during a workshop to update the curriculum.

Don't ask us any questions because we don't know the answers ;-P

As for extra-curricular work, we attended the Medical Students Club annual meeting, set up the faculty Hari Raya booth at Nilai Indoor Stadium, got involved in the USIM Annual Health Conference (I was made to be the MC because I was handsome) and most importantly, played futsal with the students. 

We are also planning to set up a USIM medical graduates alumni soon. 

Baby-friendly meetings.
Oh, also, locums.

Of course, not all of the first batch mates are interested in joining USIM back. Some wanted to delay to get more hands-on experience first; some got extended during HOship; some sent the CV late because they underestimated the horrors of district posting life; some don't want to leave Kuala Terengganu. 

But no matter how much negativity we took from the undergraduate life, all of us still want to serve USIM within our means. Because we love FPSK USIM.