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Featured Article
by Ms Lee Sz-Ying

Anaesthesia: A Medical Student's Reflection

As a medical student from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, I had the privilege to explore anaesthesiology during my 4th year of medical school. It is a two-week posting where I was posted to the Department of Anaesthesia, Singapore General Hospital. During the posting, I was exposed to patients undergoing surgery by various surgical disciplines, namely urology, orthopaedics and general surgery.

Before the posting started, my understanding of anaesthesia was limited. I knew that anesthetists put patients to sleep and woke them up after surgery. Yet in reality, they do much more than that. In fact, they are the ‘pilots’ of surgery. Without them, the flight might not be smooth and the patient might be in danger with complications during surgery or in recovery. Therefore, they play an important role all the way from the pre-operative to post-operative stages of a patients surgical journey. An anesthetist told me: “if the patient cannot remember me, then I succeeded”.

Additionally, I learned valuable hands-on skills and anesthetic techniques. From airway management to anesthetic medications, I learned that anesthetists not only have excellent procedural skills but also extensive medical knowledge in order to maintain a patient’s hemostasis during surgery. In addition, they are quick thinkers and leaders who can spot an impending crisis immediately and act accordingly and calmly by guiding the rest of the team to manage the patient clinically.

After the posting, I was more familiar with several important technical skills required to become a house officer. These included IV cannulation, bag-mask-ventilation and airway management. I also learned more about anaesthesia as a speciality and the principles of managing acute medical crisis situations. The medical school anaesthesia posting provides great opportunities for career development, broadens my perspective of medicine and trains me to become a better doctor for the future.

By Lee Sz-Ying (Winnie), NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Year 4 Medical Student

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