A mentor

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I've got my white coat, Now what do I need?

Professionalism is utmost important to me. Because I know, the first impression that I will portray in front of the patient or during any medically related occasion is crucial in reflecting my competency as a future medical practitioner. I will usually spend significant amount of time in front of the mirror, looking at myself, looking for any flaws that could not be seen public for example my nostril hair that seems to gro
w ridiculously fast. Not to say that I fertilize them. Well this post is not about my narcissism or my self absorption, instead it is about the need to have a mentor, especially in the medical field.

I put on my tie, adjusting the length so that it is proportional to my height and of course making sure that the knot is not too big ( personal preference). Finally, I put on my tie pin and there you have it. A young, not so good looking but decent doctor to be in the making. Thinking of that, I reminisce all the rigorous training I've had, telling myself that I did well, above average I presume. In the process of congratulating myself, I never bother to stop and think about all the people that made it possible.

There are people like my parents, teachers and doctors that I've spoke to. They are the ones that make me try and try even harder. I'
ve passed year 1 with my sanity intact. I think that's my biggest achievement so far. Forget about UPSR,PMR and SPM or even college. Living as a SPM or college top student is never close to live a life as a medical student and the worst news is. Living as a medical student itself is still far fetched from being a house officer or a practicing physician. All these mentors have made a difference in my life. From now on, whenever I put on my white coat proudly, I promise I will think of them. They will be symbolically there, adjusting my white coat, making sure that it fits and I look good in it.

If you are lucky, you'll have multiple mentors. But for me in this medical arena. I have one.

Life is complicated and good mentors usually have some battle scars. They like to advice and more importantly they know how to listen and bring out the best of you.

I hereby introduce you to my mentor, Associate Prof Dr Kelvin Lim. Well, I don't really think that he is aware that I admire him so much as we did not go through the ritual ceremony that is required when a disciple finally found a long awaited master as portrayed in most chinese movies.

His qualification:
MBBS (Newcastle) FRCS (Edinburgh) BDS (London) LDSRCS (England) AMM Consultant Maxillofacial and Facial Reconstructive Surgeon,Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre

I would have to admit that it was his awesome qualifications that impressed me initially. However, as time passes by, I found out that he is not merely a doctor to me. He is somebody that provides advice and counsel hoping that you could make good choices in life. He is undoubtedly good at what he did and is interested in passing it down to the next generation. The passion in medicine and teaching that he possesses is overwhelming, he is generous and terrifically smart. He was once a dental surgeon before he decided that medicine is truly his calling and thus making a bold decision in venturing into medicine hence find himself in agony for another 5 years. I know, the best doctors are those who are keen on the vocation, not those who are in it for reason that they do not seem to understand. Only with the right attitude and mindset, you will come out as a respectable healer. Those who does not have it will still eventually make it through. However, they will cause heartache for themselves as well as their beloved ones.

He was the one who made me realize that at my stage, a little bit of humility would be appropriate. He was the one who exposed me to the hostile world of medicine, telling me that life has more to offer other than taking care of sick people. He was the one who proved to me, in order to be successful, it is sheer hard work and sometimes it is unrewarding. He was indeed the one that instill the drive to be successful in me. " I want to be like him, a renown surgeon" this is the thing that kept me going all these while.

Mentoring is part and parcel of medicine. It is about passing the knowledge to the next generation. Yes, you can see it in the hippocratic oath itself, reiterating the importance of making the next generation as competent as you, if not better.

That just as I have learned from those who preceded me,
so will I instruct those who follow me in the science and the art of medicine.

Isn't it good to have some one that you look up to? Telling yourself that you want to be like him/her someday? Cultivate this relationship, and you will find yourself going the extra miles although you never thought you could do it.


Darren Lee said...

Yes I agree that having a mentor is utterly important. And probably you'll be having a few, in different stages of your journey/career. They not only teach about knowlegde/skill, but also their wise thoughts and the priceless experiences!=)

Yong Chuan said...

Thank you Dr Darren. I suppose anyone could become your mentor if he/she inspires you in some way. It does not necessarily need to be someone with a mouthful of qualification. Dont you think so?