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All That I Know Now: Being a (Sort Of) Jack of All Trades

My first job out of school was in hospital administration (operations) at a local public hospital. (Maybe I should still use present tense, since I’m still in this job…but oh well) The first month was dedicated to an orientation programme, where the new hires are introduced to the different support departments in the hospital, via a series of talks and presentations by the departments themselves. This was extremely helpful, especially to the fresh graduate who knows absolutely nothing about the world of healthcare administration.

At the end of the month we had to give a presentation as well, to the senior leaders of the hospital, to introduce ourselves. It wasn’t a formal presentation, we just had to maybe describe a little about our academic background, and interests/hobbies I always struggle with such presentations, not only because it was presented to experienced senior leaders, but I generally can’t give proper self introductions. There is no one word I can use to describe myself, and I have SO MANY hobbies (on and off over the course of my life) it will take forever to talk about them all.

After pondering for quite some time, I decided that the best way to describe myself was: I’m the kind of person who likes to know a little about a lot of things, instead of a lot about a little.

In university I loved being able to study a wide variety of subjects, even if it was brief introductions to these topics. I did a Life Science (biology) major, but escaped to the Arts faculty whenever I could. There, I read topics like Philosophy, Geography, History and so on. At one point I had wanted to do a minor in Sociology, but eventually gave that thought up. If I had gone for the minor, I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn more about the meaning of Art & Recreation in the university’s music faculty! Or the implications of tourism on the world, or the political history of the island city I call home. While Sociology intrigued me, the idea of learning much more about other fields appealed to me more. I even had the chance to learn 2 new languages (albeit at a very basic level).

Hobbies wise, I play the guitar, tried learning the keyboard (failed), took up photography, bird watching, rollerblading, painting, graphic design…and now the latest – blogging.

collared kingfisher bird watching singapore chinese garden
Collared Kingfisher, seen in Chinese Garden (Singapore)..and taken with a Canon 60D by me!

I am well aware that I’m not a pro at any of it, but I think I do those things pretty well enough. I certainly can’t boast of extraordinary skills or knowledge all those topics, and sometimes it can be quite embarrassing how little I know. At the same time, I’m happy that I am able to hold a pretty decent conversation about many topics, or participate in a wide variety of activities.

Oh and just in case you’re wondering, I’m an ENFP. Which might sort of explain this…we lose interest really quickly. 😔

Writing about this sets me thinking about what it means for me in medical school, or for my medical career in the long term. Does this mean I should pick a general specialisation? (Does that even exist…sounds like an oxymoron to me) I guess I’m worried about picking the wrong specialisation, or whether I’ll be satisfied with being a specialist in just one field.

On a similar note, working in the hospital gave me insights on whether we should focus on specialised care or patient-centred care, where the latter looks at the patient as a whole when providing care. Currently our patients see many different types of specialists for the different conditions that they have, and this often causes lapsed care coordination. Should we encourage physicians to be generalists and “jack of all trades”?

Of course, it is probably too early to be worrying about these concerns since I’m not even in med school yet! Hopefully in the next 4 years I’ll be able to figure out the answers to these questions!

PS: This will make 10 posts on the blog! Yay to me, and you for reading!

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