Life after Housemanship: Now What?

It’s been 4 months after I officially finished my housemanship.

I’m pretty sure a lot of people had the same doubts as I had when I was nearing the end of my housemanship. Yet I consider myself decisive when it came to making a decision for myself.

Many people would settle for one of the big 7 specialisation – Medical, Surgical, Orthopaedics, Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Anaesthesiology and Emergency Medicine. A lot would settle for serving at rural clinics or Klinik Kesihatan.

As for myself, I have not an inkling of idea what to do with myself in the next 30 years. And I shudder to think of being oncall for the rest of my life. I don’t see myself being in the clinical side of things. And I absolutely hate calls. Lack of sleep and the heavy patient load has taken it’s toll on my body and health and I loathe to imagine how I would end up if I continue doing something I hate for the next few years.

So that meant almost all of the specialties is a no-no for me. In Malaysia, that leaves only going into administration or continue being a general clinical MO as viable pathways.

I have always liked Public Health as an alternative and for a time that became my goal. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, that would mean having to go through PhD before one gets recognised as a specialist eligible for registration in the NSR. Not to mention the “mentor-mentee” program (which I have absolutely zero idea about) and having to serve in district (at least that’s how it is in Sarawak).

I shudder to think of being bonded with the government for another 7 or 10 years if I do decide to go for the local PhD route. It would mean having served at least a quarter of my life in an invisible bondage of service.

Another option came up and I chose take it – Occupational Safety and Health. Granted, it is not a specialty by itself. But I went for the OHD course anyway and found myself quite interested in the field. That’s a story for another day.

There are a lot of different fields available in Malaysia as our healthcare system improves every year – nuclear medicine, pathology, radiology etc. Even more obscure ones are those who serve in the military, of which I’m pretty sure are only reserved for those who graduated from the RMC or Universiti Pertahanan. At one point I even fantasised of joining the army as an army doctor but that would mean forfeiting my life once my parents find out and kill me.

Well, for now, I’m content, and I haven’t felt this way in a long time. And that’s saying something.

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