Saturday, August 03, 2002

Well, believe it or not, contrary to what I thought, I've actually found some time to log in and make an entry!
Yes, I'm in cardiology at NUH now. It's a major culture shock -- completely new hospital environment, no housemen/interns to help us, and rounds last at least 3 hours each day. Plus, this place is all the way in the west, whereas I live in the northeast, so it takes me 40 minutes each way, and mostly because of the crappy traffic jams.
It's my first call today, and thank goodness it's been relatively quiet. Oops, it's only 8pm, so hope I didn't speak too soon, aargh! There's this superstition that if you say a call is "quiet", all hell will break loose. Eating buns is also bad luck during calls, while showering is believed to be protective -- I've tried all of them, and they don't work for me. :)

The upside is, NUH is one of the few hospitals here with full-time phlebotomists. I was surprised to hear about this, but also relieved. All the hospitals I've worked in so far don't have this service, and my internship was therefore riddled with tonnes of daily bloods to take after legthy ward rounds, and nightmares about difficult veins and fussy patients who scold you even if you miss once. But I survived, and so did my peers. Personally, although I support the idea of having other people take blood for me, in retrospect, I feel that interns should learn to do venepunctures themselves -- how to handle problematic veins, how to take blood in the most efficient way, etc. It builds character, and once you turn resident, there isn't any blood you can't take. This will prove useful when someday you're confronted with a really sick patient in the middle of the night and his veins are collapsed from hypotension. It's also a good skill to have if you're an emergency physician -- hence my opinion. :)

Sequel to my earlier comment on doctors' heavy workloads in Singapore. A few days ago, a registrar, aka senior resident, whose name I don't recognize but who works in a government hospital, also complained about the sorry state of affairs. I really admire his courage -- I've been told that doctors in the public sector are not allowed to air their views in the national newspaper without prior clearance with the Ministry of Health or some other higher authority. I'd like to know what happened to him after his letter was published. Is he still alive? ( Just kidding :))

Looks like I did speak too soon. There's an admission! Work beckons, so will write again some other time. Hope I live through tonight.

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