JONATHAN CHEN

INTERVIEW BY JUSTIN LEE AND SUSANNA MO
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SUSANNA MO


 

How’s your internship treating you?
Internship’s great! I’m on a rural placement at the moment. I’m the urology intern and it’s been quite amazing, you learn a lot, you make a lot of mistakes. I feel like an idiot, been clumsy in theatre all the time, been yelled at by patients a few times, been yelled at by bosses a few times, but it’s all a learning process you know? And generally, it’s because I’m an idiot!

Have you encountered something you wish you studied more in med school?
A lot of my job is actually logistics, it’s personal interactions, so your extracurricular activities matter more. 70% of my job is getting people to like me – your job gets dramatically easier once you get to know the ANUM and the ward clerk!

What’s been the most memorable moment of your internship so far?
Every two weeks your bank account value actually goes up quite dramatically, like quite dramatically…
But other things, like meeting your favourite long-term patient you just get along with, they get discharged and you walk them through the door and they give you a hug before they go.

Any tips for MDRP?
Research is important, it’s just not my cup of tea… Do I have any tips for MDRP people?
It’s MD4! Look, you do your research and that’s cool but MD4 you also have job applications going on. It’s just a good time to relax a little bit before you start work. So, I would say have lots of coffees, get to know your stats or what-not, I don’t know. I’m probably just not that enthusiastic about research – I hung out with my best friend the entire time, because we were doing the same project at the Alfred, and it’s great… but work hard guys, work hard. It actually matters.

“I went, took a pretty decent history and I was like “He’s peeing at night time! His blood pressure is 180! Continence! Bladder! Words!” It was an absolute mess, and my consultant was just like “Slow down!” So Step 1: Don’t panic!”

Why do you think helping organise MDSC was a valuable experience for you in medical school?
You get to see, certainly for me, you get trained to have pretty good emotional intelligence just tolerating both your staff from medical school, so some logistic things that don’t go through, like funding. Money is a consistent issue that we have to fight for; and also the student body, because you need to learn to be okay that the sessions you put on are not going to please everybody, yeah? So the amount of emails I received last year because of Clementine Ford was outrageous. It’s fine, it’s a very intelligent cohort, everyone’s opinions are very valid. At the start it’s hard not to get hurt when the show that you put on has the positive feedback drowned out by the negative feedback and you just have to be okay with that.

All I can say is we’ll do better next time. In 2016 when I ran a day in the conference, some of my sessions had a rating of two out of five, but all I can say is that I’ll do better next year. Same with putting in the catheter, “I can’t get through the prostate”, “I can’t put it in”, “Just can’t go through” just tell your reg, “I can’t do it”, and will try to be better next time. Man, the first time I put in a catheter, I forgot to put back the foreskin and gave the patient paraphimosis, so it swelled up the next day and you know what, just do better next time!

 

“All I can say is we’ll do better next time. In 2016 when I ran a day in the conference, some of my sessions had a rating of two out of five, but all I can say is that I’ll do better next year. Same with putting in the catheter, “I can’t get through the prostate”, “I can’t put it in”, “Just can’t go through” just tell your reg, “I can’t do it”, and will try to be better next time. Man, the first time I put in a catheter and gave the patient paraphimosis, so it swelled up the next day and you know what, just do better next time!”

 

Tips for internship applications?
Job applications are really hard, it’s a pretty anxiety provoking period. I’m an international student on an international business visa now. I did 15 applications, maxing it out. It’s a hard period to be in when everyone’s got their offers and you’re just sitting there going [expletive]. Yeah, so I get what it means. Certainly, reach out to your interns, they will have the best resources I reckon. My best tips for writing a cover letter is start from your bottom preference. Start from the last one and work your way up because by the time you start writing for your first preference you’ll be really good at it.

And for your CV, any extracurricular commitment you put on, put a time spent to quantify. Anything that you put on your CV, you need to bear in mind that it’s for your CV reader to have some sort of perspective. So, if I just write down convenor of MDSC, that means nothing to them. It all comes down to numbers, I spend 20 hours per week on this role, I lead a core team of 15 people working on multiple projects including blah… 70% quantitative, 30% qualitative is what I’d go for. It’s all about impact, impact comes in numbers, unfortunately.