A Doctor's Life
(Singapore Version)

    This page describes a possible lifeline of a typical (if such a thing exists!) doctor, with emphasis on the medical school and post-graduate training paths. After graduation, the paths become really diverse and unchartable, with doctors in every realm of the universe, from the more conventional paths like clinical work, teachers, researchers and admin, to mission workers, army/SAF medical officers and politicians, to sportsmen, monks, businessmen, hoteliers, and my all time favorite, webmasters.
    Even within the training path, most of us don't sail as smoothly as we thought we would when we first started out. From flunking a year in medical school and having to do a Re, to the unexpected like falling sick or forgetting to shade little bubble on your answer sheet on exam day, to being undecided about your speciality (or even whether to do one at all), to doing a speciality then changing your mind halfway (better late than never, I say!), I've seen it all. The path is never as straight or easy as it looks, but when you finally reach wherever it is you were going, whether or not you originally wanted to be there, you'll realise that the detours were worth it.
    Till I see you at the end, have a good trip!

Life Stages
Years Stage End-point Meaning… But…
4-6 Medical Medical Degree Can call yourself “Dr” Realise your registration is only "provisional"
1 House Officer Full SMC registration Can set up shop as a GP Still have a 5 year, $700k bond, so bo pian carry on...
3-5   Medical Officer (non-trainee) Finish bond Can quit without being called a bond breaker Realise all your classmates have post-grad degrees
Medical Officer (trainee) Post-grad degree Can add another 4 letters behind your name and wear a black name tag Still can’t call yourself a specialist
2-4 Registrar Pass exit exam Can call yourself a ‘specialist’ … and finally finish 26 years of exams. Discover your JC classmates who did law and banking have offices (not hot-desks), expense accounts (not training funds) and year-end bonuses (not on-call allowances).
Rest of your life Consultant Retire aged 65 Can finally relax and enjoy fruits of your labour Only to find out the above-mentioned classmates retired age 55 and are in the Bahamas on their private yacht.
Lucky few Emeritus Consultant   Reserved hospital parking lot Find out that the 'youngsters these days' took your lot...

Medical school training
Year NUS Duke-NUS Duke-NUS MD-PhD*
2009 “A” levels / IB Bachelor’s Degree (or early 2010)
2010 Year 1 MD Year 1 MD Year 1
2011 Year 2 MD Year 2 MD Year 2
2012 Year 3 (Clinical) MD Year 3 (Research) PhD
2013 Year 4 (Clinical) MD Year 4 PhD
2014 Year 5 (Clinical) Graduate [July] PhD
2015 Graduate [April^]   MD Year 4 (i.e. no Yr 3)
2016     Graduate [July]
Total 5 years 4 years 6 years
* - NUS MBBS-PhD programme also available, but starts after housemanship/NS.
^ - Subject to change with new residency programme
Additional note: Foundation / Premedical years are not available in Singapore.

Post-graduate Training
Current (Old) System
UK System
1 House officer 1 Transitional Year (depending on speciality) 1 Pre-reg house officer / FY 1
4-6* Medical officer 4* Resident 2+ SHO
2-4 Registrar 1-3 Fellow 3+ Registrar
Total 7-11 years Total 5-10 years Total 6+ years
* - Singaporean Males who have not completed NS: Add 2 years here. (Where this fits into the new residency program is unclear.)

Breakdown of Doctors
All doctors
  Non-specialists /
Family Physician / GPs
4879 (62%)
2962 (38%)
Public vs Private
- All trainees are in public sector
- Most GPs are in private practice
1772 (60%)
1190 (40%)

Copyright, Referencing and other fine print
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Pre-Med Index
Do a quick Bounce to...