To Embrace the Dying Light

By Victor Senthinathan
Honourable Mention, Writing Competition 2017

Prompt 2: Tell us about an encounter with a patient that has significantly shaped your understanding of medical practice or changed your worldview.

I always thought of hospitals as unpleasant places. It was a place where sick and dying people congregated, where white walls stretched out aimlessly and there was the ever-present promise of a registrar quizzing me on something I had just forgotten.

On this day however, my hospital seemed idyllic. It was the type of day where sunlight didn’t just stream into rooms, but cascaded off walls, golden glitter veiling the room. It was the type of day where every ward held smiling patients with easily identifiable differential diagnoses. It was the type of the day where your clinically appropriate shoes can’t help but skip into a room to find a patient for your case report. This is where I met Mary. I would be amiss as a medical student to not mention that the patient has been de-identified to maintain patient confidentiality.

Continue reading

Death: A Medical Student’s Perspective

By Yung Chong Soon

This Wednesday morning started like any other day on the general medical unit as a final year medical student. I looked through the ward list, and noticed that Mary, a patient who I have been closely monitoring over the past three days, was no longer on the list. I was hit briefly by a moment of disbelief. Fearing the worst, I proceeded to ask my registrar, who was on his usual routine of checking bloods prior to the ward round. He turned around from his office chair and calmly mentioned that Mary had passed away in the early hours of this morning.

Continue reading

More than High Yield

By Tamara Hall

“That’s really high yield, focus on that!”

“SUPER high yield.”

“This topic is very high yield…”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “high yield” perhaps I wouldn’t be facing such a looming HECS debt upon graduation! I know that people are well-meaning, that we need to focus on what’s considered most vital if we are to get through medical school and not drown in the sheer amount of content it covers. It helps to have a structure to base study around and not lose sight of the forest for the trees. Yet I’ve started to feel quite jaded about the phrase.

Continue reading

Rest and Recalibrate

By Faye Liu

As the weather gets colder, the financial year draws to an end, and post-exam crammed knowledge slowly escapes our brain, most of us would have entered our mid-year breaks – the perfect time to rest and recalibrate. For some, this may be a long awaited period after a busy first semester, for others, the perfect time to make a trip back home.

Continue reading

Medical school vs. friendships

By Sherihan Goni

Med school is tough. Between the crazy influx of information, long hours of study trying to keep up, many many cups of coffee and the all-consuming, exhausted sleep that follows, often it becomes hard to maintain a social life. It becomes really easy to isolate oneself from people, to hide behind a laptop and piles of books, until one day you sadly realise you’re better acquainted with the grooves on your desk than actual people.

Continue reading

So you want to do a BMedSc(Hons)

By Luigi Zolio

It’s that time of the year when people start to consider whether to take a whole year off from their studies to do … more study! A BMedSci, formally known as Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours), is a one-year research degree that can be undertaken after the completion of Year 3B. It’s a very popular program and a well-established one for people who want to get a proper first-hand experience with research. So how do you go about pursuing it?

Continue reading

The tireless pursuit of a good night’s sleep

By Grace Scolyer

If I could make one generalisation about the specific problems with self-care that medical students have, and why our physical and mental wellbeing is so much poorer than the general population, it would be that it all comes down to time.

We have 24 hours a day: depending on the day of the week and your year level, around eight to ten of which will be contact hours, one will be travelling, one will be getting ready, two will be breaks taken for food and coffee, two will be note-taking or preparing for the next day, two to four will be additional study. Leaving four to eight hours. To socialise, watch TV, exercise, meal prep, or scroll through Facebook. And, if we have time, sleep. It’s not always as simple as putting your phone on do not disturb or trying to avoid caffeine after 2pm – it can be ridiculously hard to get a decent night’s sleep.

Continue reading

The first time I saw a patient die

By Aaron Kovacs

The first time I ever saw a patient die was just over two years ago, only a month or two into my first clinical placement as a third year medical student. She was an older lady, maybe in her mid sixties, with advanced uterine cancer. The resident and I found her lying on top of her bed, eyes wide and fixed in place, her body rigid as concrete.

Continue reading

The (Great) Unknown

By Rose Brazilek

Watching the trepidatious first year medical students enter the hallowed halls of building 15 for the first time, it is hard not to get swept up by their wide-eyed enthusiasm and innocent optimism. Phrases such as “I’m definitely going to attend all the meetings of the Disney club” and “I don’t need to pre-read any lectures,” are often heard, phrases they may regret uttering so freely six months from now. However, it was not so long ago that many of us also opened a medical textbook, encountered a cadaver or calculated the exact time until an assignment could be re-submitted on Turnitin for the first time either.

Continue reading