Exploring a Medical Career in Singapore
A medical career is a profession of extensive responsibilities. It is a career of challenge and you should have the ability to remain knowledgeable about changing trends in medical technology, research, discoveries, and inventions. Medical career is a very noble and humanitarian profession. It is often the most admired career in the world. However, to create an enviable medical career, you should be able to devote lot of time and effort for study at medical schools, practice in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical institutions, and undertake thorough research into all details of any ailments or illnesses.
A medical career does not necessarily indicate towards a doctor’s profession. Although the word ‘medical’ does conjure an image of a doctor, flourishing and interesting medical careers exist in related fields like pharmaceutical manager, medical biller, medical transcriber, medical coder, medical officer, administrator of the whole medical and pharmaceutical affairs. Rather, medical careers abound in practice, administrative, manufacturing, and management fields of medicine.
Reasons for Choosing a Medical Career in Singapore
Excellent Healthcare Infrastructure: Singapore offers an excellent healthcare system. All private and government hospitals are equipped with the most up-to-date diagnostic technology. There are numerous government polyclinics as well as private clinics. Further, government has introduced community hospitals for intermediate healthcare of the aged and convalescent sick that do not require care of general hospitals. There are many new and upcoming hospitals like Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Novena medical centre, Alexandra Hospital @ Yishun, and new specialist centers for cardiology and pathology.
Excellent Working Atmosphere: Singaporean hospitals offer you the choice to practice in any field of medicine like optometry and paramedical services, dental care, speech, occupational, and physical therapy, and others. Singaporean hospitals offer a very conducive atmosphere for work. Singapore medical practice standard is among the best in the world. It is Asia's premier medical hub and is targeted to attract a million foreign patients every year by 2012.
Multicultural Society: Singapore exposes diverse ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and religions but intensely interlinked. Singapore is always ready to welcome and accept international professionals. There is no language barrier as you can easily converse and communicate in English.
Medical Research Opportunities: Singapore offers extensive and advanced medical research opportunities. Government has taken the initiative of investing more than US$1.4 billion over a five-year period for biomedical research. Although Singapore is a hub of numerous healthcare providers, presence of internationally acclaimed companies like Siemens Medical, GlaxoSmithKline, and Baxter Healthcare provides extensive opportunities for medical professionals to pursue research, teaching, and medical practice. The immense research opportunities have made it possible for Singapore to carry out many medical research breakthroughs.
International Exposure: Singapore is centrally located and well connected to all parts of the world. Further, the excellent facilities and vibrant atmosphere has made it even more preferred destination for many international medical conferences and scientific meetings. Singapore has hosted many such events in the past like 2005 World Congress of Nephrology, Asian Pacific Congress of Cardiology, International Medical Eye Congress, and 18th Wonca World Conference - Genomics & Family Medicine.
Safety and Cost of Living: Singapore has been long held as a very stable society offering immense racial and religious harmony. You can carve out a safe haven for you in Singapore. Further, Singapore has one of the lowest income taxes in the world. It offers the best quality of life among Asian countries. You can maintain a good standard of living, as all amenities are available at the most easily affordable rates across Singapore.
Accommodation and Relocation: Since Singapore welcomes foreign professionals, there is a variety of accommodation facilities available. You can make your choice according to your preferences. Relocation is not any problem as every area in Singapore is well equipped with all facilities like schools, malls, markets, food centers, clinics, and easy accessibility to Mass Rapid Transit railway system.
How to Proceed for a Medical Career in Singapore
If you are on the lookout for a medical career in Singapore in the public sector, you should look for opportunities with National Healthcare Group or NHG and Singapore Health Services or SingHealth. Before starting to work as a doctor in Singapore, you should have:
• Medical Registration with Singapore Medical Council (SMC) or Dental Registration with Singapore Dental Council (SDC)
• Employment Pass for non-Singaporean or non-Singapore Permanent Resident
If you are a specialist, you would additionally have to register with Register of Specialists as per the Singapore Medical Registration Act 1997 (Cap 174). Only thereafter, you can use the title of a specialist.
If you are on the lookout for a medical career in Singapore in the private sector, fulfill all basic criteria as approved by Singapore Medical Council to be registered as a medical practitioner. You should have a medical degree from a recognized university as specified. You should then secure a job with a Singaporean health care establishment. You should submit all necessary documents like medical registration, your examination transcripts, letter of verification from University, and others. Thereafter, your prospective employer will follow up with SMC and SAB for all registration and accreditation processes. It would take around two to three weeks for processing of all documents. You may be required to submit the original copies of some documents.
There are four types of medical registration for doctors to practice in Singapore. These are:
1. Provisional Registration: This allows an overseas-trained fresh medical graduate to be employed as a house officer in approved hospitals.
2. Temporary Registration: This allows an overseas-trained doctor to conduct lectures like a visiting expert or take up short-term assignments at public hospitals for research, teaching, or postgraduate study.
3. Conditional Registration: This allows an overseas-trained doctor with experience of internship to work in a healthcare establishment, however, under supervision of a fully registered doctor.
4. Full Registration: This allows an overseas-trained doctor to practice independently. However, you have to complete specified number of years through conditional registration to qualify for full registration. This is one to two years for specialists and two to four years for non-specialists. There are further mandatory requirements like assessment grades of 8-10, should be considered good or very good by employers or employing institution, and practice should have been at specified postings and hospitals. Nevertheless, there are few exceptions to all such rules.
You would also require an employment pass before starting work in Singapore. There are three categories of employment passes like P1, P2, and Q1. Normally, your prospective employer arranges it. Usually, your employers would also take care of your visa and other legal procedures essential for your stay in Singapore.