Since I started studying Medicine, I kept being asked this question "What do you want to specialise in?" I had always found this a difficult question to answer. As a matter of fact, I find every specialty interesting in its own way. Choosing a particular specialty means that I would be out of touch with the other specialties. It would be quite boring if I could only be in one specialty.
In 2017, I started considering General Practice as my first choice of specialty. Being the first point of contact for patients, general practitioners get to see cases of all specialties. This is certainly more interesting than being in any other specialty. There's also better work-life balance in General Practice compared to other specialties.
However, I later realised that it isn't easy to specialise in General Practice. The Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) qualification cannot be taken in Malaysia. The only way to do General Practice specialty training in Malaysia is by joining a Masters programme at a public university, which is highly competitive to get in.
In 2019, I had new plans. I decided that after graduating with an MBBS degree, I would pursue Internal Medicine by taking the Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (MRCP) qualification. Internal Medicine is very broad and it encompasses many specialties. I didn't want to think about any further specialisations after MRCP for the time being.
Now, I have finally decided on what I want to specialise in. It's Medical Education!
My interest in Medical Education isn't new actually. Soon after I began Stage 1 of MBBS, I had observed that the job of the medical lecturers at NUMed is quite interesting. As I had always liked sharing my knowledge with others, teaching medical students is something I would enjoy. Medical lecturers have good work-life balance, and they get to be in touch with all specialties.
Since then, I had been considering the possibility of becoming a medical lecturer. However, there were a few issues. There's a stigma that medical lecturers are "doctors who are bad at clinical practice". This is something even some lecturers have admitted themselves. The society expects medical graduates to become practising doctors.
I was worried that others would view me less favourably if I become a lecturer. I also had the feeling that it would be a waste for me to study MBBS for 6 years only to end up being a lecturer instead of a practising doctor. Consequently, I didn't give any serious thoughts about being a medical lecturer, and I never told anyone about it.
Despite that, my interest in Medical Education remained. It motivated me to apply for the NUMed teaching fellow post, which I succeeded eventually.
Working as a teaching fellow makes me realise how much I love this job. I have always wanted to teach my students as much as possible. I never complain about delivering too many teaching sessions, instead I complain about having too few sessions. While I do feel tired after a long day of teaching, after taking a good rest I am looking forward enthusiastically to more teaching on the next day.
This makes me want to keep working as a medical lecturer in the future. I am very sure that there's no other job in this world that I will enjoy more. If I don't get full support for that, so be it. If some members of the society look down on me, so be it. If I have wasted my 6 years studying for MBBS, so be it. The only thing that matters is for me to do what I really enjoy.
Therefore, I have made the firm decision to pursue Medical Education. This is my one ultimate aim, and I have no second thoughts.
My experience working as a teaching fellow will certainly help me achieve my aim. My application for Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) has been successful. I will go a step further and apply for Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) by October 2021. I will complete my house officer training and take the MRCP as planned, as these are essential for me to become a medical lecturer.
As my teaching fellow post nears an end, no doubt I'm feeling very emotional. However, I'm also hopeful that I will be back again in the future.