Issue 122 | Jul-Sep 2020

Special Feature: From Classroom to Frontline

The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have been widespread. Graduates from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine Class of 2020 were deployed earlier than expected to work in hospitals islandwide to meet the nation’s call for healthcare professionals, and most faced a heavy workload from the get-go. Hear from some of our newest alumni as they share their thoughts on graduating early and answering the call to serve during a pandemic.

Dr Joshua Chia
(SGH Internal Medicine)


Initially, most of us were understandably disappointed when our grad trips were cancelled, but it has been an honour to be able to contribute to society in such a time of need. Adjusting to life as a doctor is never easy. The pandemic makes doctoring a little more challenging, but I have been privileged to work with great seniors who are always looking out for us and lending a helping hand to help us cope.

Dr Amanda Chia
(SGH Obstetrics and Gynaecology)


I was nervous at first, but also, the seriousness of the situation sank in and seeing so many of my seniors giving so much of themselves made me want to do the same too. I think the difference is that our department’s manpower is halved and all of us have to step up to cover multiple stations. The learning curve is really very steep. However, no matter how long the night might seem, the sun will rise tomorrow!

Dr Sarah Tham 
(SGH Internal Medicine)


While there are many new protocols in place, the hospitals have made a lot more effort to integrate us this year. Unlike our seniors, we had a one week orientation and one more week of overlap with the senior house officers (HO), as well as “tag on” calls when we would be attached to a senior HO. Our seniors also conducted Zoom lessons to teach us the ropes. I am reminded that every day is an opportunity for us to offer love where there is none, comfort where there is despair, and hope where there is uncertainty. 

Dr Thaddeus Cheong
(KKH Paediatrics)

Dr Thaddeus Cheong (far right) with his colleagues.

I think we were all surprised when we were told that we would be starting work earlier than usual and nervous about starting work in such uncertain conditions. There was a lot of self-doubt about whether we would be up to the task but what struck me most has been the dedication and encouragement of our seniors and colleagues. The nurturing and resilient attitude they modelled for us is something I hope to one day carry as well. So as we continue in our first steps of this journey, we owe a huge thank you to all who have guided us along!

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