​By Dr Daniel Ting
Ophthalmology Resident Co-chair, Resident Committee (2014)
AMRI Khoo Scholar
SingHealth Residency

Feedback from a mentor is a valuable reflection of one’s strengths and weaknesses.   It also creates opportunities for both mentor and learner to reach for greater achievements in the learning journey.

During the years of training in Residency, it is important to have someone with experience to steady you when you stumble and remind you to be humble when you do well.   Rapport is important in the relationship so that the learner can share issues openly and allow the mentor a good understanding of the learner’s training requirements.

I was fortunate to have a few good mentors during my Ophthalmology Residency. Associate Professor Ian Yeo, the Program Director, was supportive and approachable in guiding me.   Even though I stumbled a few times initially, he did not give up on me.   Instead, he told me to persevere and gave me numerous opportunities. He taught me to be a meticulous surgeon and reminded me that it took hard work to achieve surgical outcome excellence.   He often says, “Everything in any intraocular surgery happens within seconds and we only have one chance to make it right.”

I am lucky to have found a friend in my supportive mentor, Adjunct Associate Professor Audrey Chia.   We had regular coffee sessions to discuss and formulate my learning goals prior to each new clinical rotation. Prof Chia checks on my progress and guides me with timely advice.   It is important for learners to nurture this bond. Residents from different cohorts in Ophthalmology take time off work to meet over dinner, catch up on life and work with our mentors.

Other mentors who have influenced me through the years are Prof Wong Tien Yin, Medical Director of SNEC, and Associate Professor Lim Boon Leng, SingHealth Residency’s Designated Institutional Official. Prof Wong is a world-class researcher who inspires me. Despite the countless achievements under his belt, he is very down-to-earth and never fails to engage the juniors for feedback. To further sharpen my research skills and proficiencies, he recommended that I join the Khoo Scholars Program.

Prof Lim inspired me with his dynamism. He encouraged me to conduct more residents led initiatives. He demonstrated to me the importance of keeping an open mind in implementing new changes that will enhance the quality of residency training in SingHealth.   He gave me the opportunity to join the Singapore Chief Residency Program that has polished my administrative and leadership skills further.

Indeed, the student-mentor relationship is very much worth cultivating.   The SingHealth Residents’ Committee has created different platforms for residents to know their mentors better, such as the annual SingHealth Residency Games and the Student Internship Program boot camp.   The SingHealth Resident-Student Buddy System provides medical students with the guidance and supervision of residents throughout their clinical attachment.

We hope that residents can achieve the most out of their training.   The bonds formed during these years are one of the most important takeaways from their time in Residency. These are our goals as the Residents’ Committee continues to strive for changes to enhance the quality of residency training in SingHealth.