Veterinary diploma gave NUS medical student hands-on training
When she was six, her favourite pastime was watching Animal Planet with her mother. She later aspired to be a doctor.
Miss Sofeah Samsuddin, 20, then put the two together and decided to pursue a diploma in veterinary technology (VET) at Temasek Polytechnic's (TP) School of Applied Science.
She graduated with a cumulative grade point average of 3.86 last year and is now a first-year medical student at the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
She told The New Paper: "I really like helping people and giving out good energy. That is why I want to be a doctor."
She added that TP's course had given her many opportunities to learn practical skills.
"In Year 2, I had a six-week attachment to clinics each semester. I attended to cats and dogs. At first, my hands were not used to the fine work, such as (giving) injections and drawing blood, so I am happy I started young," she said.
Miss Samsuddin is thankful for the hands-on experience.
She said: "(For healthcare), you have to see it with your own eyes. Not all symptoms will appear for a certain disease, sometimes it will display differently in different patients."
The highlight of the course for Miss Samsuddin was her five-month internship with the Singapore Zoo in her third year, where she helped perform basic health check-ups on animals, such as the lions and the Sunda pangolins.
She also performed blood and urine tests in the lab.
She said: "I realised how important my job was. I have to be conscientious in my work. If I make a mistake, it is extremely dire to the patient's life."
After she completed her internship, she was invited back as a ward-keeper, where she took care of sick animals, such as the red pandas, jackass penguins and otters, in the wards.
She said: "It is stressful, but I have a passion to help people. It is meaningful to show you truly care for patients as it allows them to trust you.
"I want to build a rapport with my patients as mental well-being is important to healing."
Dr Jomer Bo Lucanas, section head of VET diploma, said the course does not just focus on the theories but also the hands-on aspects of healthcare for animals.
He said: "With the diploma, Sofeah could apply to animal clinics, hospitals, tourist attractions such as the zoo, research institutions or other pet industries."