Admissions Blog

First of all, allow me to give some background about myself: I am a first year medical student at Duke-NUS with a Bachelor in Business Management from Singapore Management University (SMU). After being accepted into Duke-NUS, people have approached me throughout the past few months asking the same question, “Why the sudden change from business to medicine?” To be honest, answering the question with a brief, two minute summary usually doesn’t suffice to shed enough light onto my decision making process, and the conversation usually ends up revolving around salary, time foregone, and skillsets unutilised.

graduation rayson

Graduating from Singapore Management University (SMU) in 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Management

Eczema is a chronic itchy skin condition. In most circumstances, it is not fatal and does not result in significant physical morbidity. This has often led the condition to be branded as “benign” by both the medical community as well as the general public. But in reality, it has been shown to have great negative impact on the quality of life of patients, especially when it’s inadequately controlled.

The appearance of lesions as red, oozy and angry makes patients appear to have an infectious condition. This leads to social isolation, teasing and bullying by peers and acquaintances, which may inhibit their activity, play, and social interactions that are fundamental to their development.

To allow patients a chance to better understand their condition, support groups for the condition have been formed by the KKH Dermatology Service and National Skin Centre. The support group conducts biannual Eczema camps. In November 2014, students from the Duke-NUS Dermatology Interest Group joined tertiary students from SMU, NUS Yong Loo Lin and La Salle College of the Arts to organize and help out at the event, held at two locations in Singapore.


A confident-looking young man in his medical scrubs stares confidently into the mirror, proud to be starting his medical career. Sauntering into the hospital, a busy nurse stops him and starts giving him orders. His blank stare was followed by this famous monologue...

“Four years of pre-med, four years of med school,
and tons of unpaid loans
have made me realize...I don't know jack.”

This iconic opening scene from the popular television comedy series, “Scrubs” is hilarious but accurately sums up the emotions of a first-year medical intern.

My first day was a nightmare. I was the Solo House Officer1 attached to a busy surgical team with 30 patients, a much higher ratio than normal. A Solo House Officer is a tragically ironic name since “solo” conveys that you are independent and in control, however the reality is overwhelmingly the opposite. You are saddled with so many responsibilities and work that your primary function of stepping out of the hospital is to nap and shower so that you don’t spread head lice to your colleagues. Looking back, it’s a miracle I survived those days.

As part of our "4 Years at Duke-NUS" series, we have invited a group of students to share their respective reflections as the curriculum year comes to an end and they move into the next academic year. Our fourth contributor is  Dr Joshua Chua (Class of 2014). Read on as he shares his experience in the fouth year of medical school.

Advice for the Fourth Year

So now you’re in your final year; you’re striding into wards with confidence exuding, casually waving at professors and hitting questions out of the park like a boss… well at least some of your classmates seem like they are..

Fourth year of medical school can be quite an exciting and positive year, on one hand, there is quite a bit of stress over residency applications, on the other hand, its the part of your medical school education where you get to be more relaxed and have more control over your time.

While it might seem that the amount of available time is relatively abundant, it would be good to prioritize on a few things

Invest in your career

Dr Jaemin Park, a graduate from Class 2014, is currently a Pathology resident at Baylor College of Medicine, US. Prior to graduation, Jaemin spent two months in India (one month in Tenali as a volunteer in an orphanage). The town of Tenali has few foreign visitors and even fewer foreign volunteers. The entire town soon knew about Jaemin and two local Telugu Indian newspapers even featured him. Jaemin shares his story.


Jaemin with Dr T Thirumoorthy at the Duke-NUS Graduation & Hooding Ceremony on 31 May 2014. Dr Thirumoorthy taught the class about the importance of empathy in young doctors - something that resonated deeply with Jaemin during his time in Tenali

Towards the end of my 4th year in medical school, I thought, ‘Why not use the two months until graduation to do something truly meaningful?’ I knew that once residency began, it will be challenging to commit myself for a long volunteer trip.

As part of our "4 Years at Duke-NUS" series, we have invited a group of students to share their respective reflections as the curriculum year comes to an end and they move into the next academic year. Our third contributor is Anuradha Pandey, a current MS3 student. Read on as she shares her experience in the third year of medical school.

As the start of our final year at Duke-NUS fast approaches, I was asked to reflect upon my third year experience, and to share some ‘pearls of wisdom’ with the ingoing 3rd years. These reflect my personal views however, and I would advice you to speak with other seniors as well!

As part of our "4 Years at Duke-NUS" series, we have invited a group of students to share their respective reflections as the curriculum year comes to an end and they move into the next academic year. Our second contributor is Shu Fang, a current MS2 student. Read on as she shares her experience in the second year of medical school.

Today (15-Aug-2014) marks the end of our 48-week clerkship in Year 2.

We will run our last final lap next week before we can duly call ourselves MS3 instead of “old MS2” - that is, after finishing CPX2, CBSE and CCSE!

However, let’s not think about those upcoming exams for now. It is a good opportunity for me to take a hiatus and reflect back on the ups and downs for the past 1 year and for you to have a glimpse of the life of a 2nd year medical student in Duke-NUS!

Although I am not quite sure why I was invited to write this blog, I hope I can accurately reflect what my classmates and I had gone through for the last 1 year.

As part of our "4 Years at Duke-NUS" series, we have invited a group of students to share their respective reflections as the curriculum year comes to an end and they move into the next academic year. Our first contributor is Hong King, a current MS1 student. Read on as he shares his experience in the first year of medical school.

World Autism Awareness was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly, which declared 2 April as ‘World Autism Awareness Day’ (WAAD).

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism for short, is a pervasive disorder that is characterised by a triad of impairment: social interaction, language and communication, and perspective taking and inflexibility. Not everybody with autism spectrum disorder has the same difficulties. Some people may have autism that is mild while others may have autism that is more severe. Two people with autism spectrum disorder may not act alike or have the same skills.

ASD affects tens of millions of people in the world.

Here in Singapore, World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW) was first inaugurated in 2011 by students from Benjamin Sheares College, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. WAAW was held from 2nd April to 6th April this year. Working closely with our distinguished partners from Autism Association Singapore (AAS), Autism Resource Center, Singapore (ARC), Saint Andrew’s Autism Centre (SAAC) and Rainbow Center, we celebrated WAAW this year by holding the annual “Light It Up Blue!” campaign on 2nd April, roadshow at ION Orchard on 4th April, followed by the Healthcare Seminar for medical professionals the following day.

When we were inducted into the Duke-NUS’ Benjamin Sheares College, we were excited to take on the task of promoting Autism Awareness. It was a real privilege to be part of this worthy cause as many of us had been touched by people with autism – either personally or professionally. We recognized the importance of raising awareness about autism throughout society and to draw attention to the need for social understanding and acceptance of individuals with autism.

Working with Duke-NUS’ main autism partners, Saint Andrews Autism Centre, Autism Association of Singapore, Autism Resource Centre and Rainbow Centre, our Sheares’ seniors together with colleagues from Duke-NUS, KK Hospital and other organizations, we began to learn more about autism by visiting various Autism Centres and inviting speakers to talk about autism. It is always a challenge to inherit a cause that has been upheld admirably by our seniors. They worked hard to execute the regular annual events such as the ION Orchard roadshow, the “Light It Blue” Campaign and the Healthcare Seminar in previous years. This year, we were challenged to continue this tradition while we sought to further increase public awareness.