NUS Medical School Responds After NUH Junior Doctor Talks About The Stress of Being a Doctor


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Prized as the ultimate job that will grant universal respect and a sizeable paycheck, being a doctor often appears like a bed of roses to the outsider.

But a recent video by NUS School of Medicine revealed that behind the glory and status lies a harsh reality.

Junior Doctor Reveals Demands of Job

The one-minute video featured a junior doctor from the National University Hospital named Calvin Tijo.

As a new alumnus of NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, he shared that being a junior doctor is often physical, mentally and emotionally demanding.

Had Not Slept for Two Nights

Right at the beginning, we are given a reality check: Tijo had just completed a 20-hour shift and had not slept for two nights at the time of filming.

He added that sometimes he and his colleagues had to work for 30 hours or more without sleep.

On top of that, they are expected to make crucial decisions that affect a patient’s life.

Tijo also highlighted how stressful it can be to make such decisions, and it’s not just about doing their best.

“At each hour of the day, you are expected to make a decision that affects a patient’s life whether they get better or worse. Possibly whether they live or they die.

“Despite your best efforts, the patient might get worse, the patient may not truly understand how much efforts you put in,” he said.

Deal with Death on a Regular Basis

This kind of stress, for a long period, is something Tijo believes doctors can never be prepared for.


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Tijo also shared that what the junior doctors had to deal with such as seeing deaths on a regular basis can change a person.

“Medicine and work will change who you are as a person. It is not normal to see death on such a regular basis.

“It changes your personality because you have many nights spent wondering whether there’s something that you could have done better for that patient that passed on,” he shared.

Therefore, it is important for junior doctors to be able to pace themselves well to meet the demands of the job.

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Mixed Response from Netizens

After the post was uploaded to the school’s Facebook page, many netizens voiced support for local doctors.

Others appreciated the candid nature of the sharing and recognised that the harsh reality of a career in medicine is something all doctors will have to go through.

However, not everyone was too happy about the state of doctors’ well-being and the crucial decisions they have to make while exhausted.

“Please do not glorify working long hours. It’s bad for doctors and this old system needs to be remodeled. No patient wants to be checked by tired doctors who only know medicines but not wellness,” one comment wrote.

NUS Responds

A few days after the video was uploaded onto Facebook, the medical school came out to address concerns shared by viewers in the comment section.

The school elaborated on the intent of sharing this short interview clip, saying they wanted to provide “insights into the working life of a young doctor”.


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It added that new junior doctors have “steep learning curves and deal with many challenges”.

“As a new alumnus of the School, Dr Tijo speaks candidly about his own lived experience. We hope his sharing encourages and inspires those whose hearts are set on helping to make a difference in the health and well-being of people,” the school added.

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Featured Image: Facebook (NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine)