Your Priority Is Patient Care

Your Priority Is Patient Care | Walter Yeo


Regardless of whichever university you choose to apply with, medicine is universally recognized as one of the most difficult courses to enrol in and ultimately graduate from. The National University of Singapore (NUS) which happens to be Asia’s leading medical school, receives thousands of applicants each year yet they only offer approximately 300 places.

This easily makes it one of the most competitive courses that a student can choose to pursue so now that you have decided to apply to medicine, it is crucial to understand the underlying ethos of medical schools around the world. Notwithstanding, each school has its own school of expectations and tailored selection policies which you should be mindful about. This article only provides a guide for you to develop your personal statements and mentally prepare yourself for the dreaded interviews.

#1 The Patient Is Always Right

Doctors are at the frontline of the medical profession, not only in diagnosis of illnesses but also in the treatment of these ailments and their “customer” is none other than the patient. Referencing the famous line – the customer is always right and this is something that medical school candidates must recognize. Their work will centre on the provision of care for their patient and hence they must prioritize the patient.

Interviewers will be on the look-out as to whether the candidate understand this overarching principle of medical care and whether he or she knows how to prioritize patient care. This understanding can be achieved by developing key values that will see them through their interview and hopefully, medical career include compassion, empathy, honesty and integrity.


#2 Ask Yourself Why

As mentioned, medicine is indeed a grueling course. The period of study can range from anywhere between 5 to 8 years of study, depending on your country of study. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that interviewers or selection boards will be immensely concerned with the intent of your application. Moreover, some governments, such as the one in Singapore invest a great deal of resources into subsidizing medical education. Hence, selection boards have a natural obligation to ensure that these resources are awarded to deserving students who demonstrate not only the right aptitude, but attitude in completing the course.

In determining this, interviewers look for students who have carefully deliberated their motivation behind wanting to study medicine. Thus it is especially important that medical school applicants think through their reasons for applying, justifying them logically before articulating them clearly before the interview board. This can be achieved by simply asking yourself “why”. In doing so, you will discover more about yourself and have an answer prepared when the question is ultimately asked.


#3 Read Up!

Finally, even though nobody expects you to be able to identify lupus, it is nonetheless valuable to have a basic understanding of some of the more prominent diseases and emerging herapies. This demonstrates effort in trying to understand complex medical concepts that other candidates may not have bothered to research about.

Additionally, some interviews incorporate a test element that assesses a candidate’s ability to reason out his or her decisions with regards to some current issues that healthcare professions confront. For example, the ethical considerations behind stem cell therapy. Therefore, a little bit of research can and will go a long way.


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