9 Sep 2020 From Biomedical Science to Robotic Surgery – An Exciting Career in Germany
Life is full of surprises; you will never know where life brings you and the only thing you can do is to keep on moving forward.
I joined the IMU Biomedical Science programme in 2010, the time I spent in IMU was the moment I explored my identity and acquired valuable skills which help to shape my work ethics and personality now. After graduating, I went to Germany intending to learn the language and continue my studies. Realising that my interest lies in exploring the human body and surgery, instead of continuing my master studies, I decided to start afresh with a 3-year surgical tech assistant training.
The training was carried out in three different hospitals where I had to complete a rotation between different units and departments. Those times were very challenging as German was the only language they used, and I was without any experience in the operating theater besides having to study for tests constantly. I can still remember feeling unsure and nervous to go to work because of my lack of proficiency in the German language, also joining conversations and expressing myself was problematic in the beginning. Yet with practice, it became better with time.
Compared to my course mates who started the training directly out from school, my degree in Biomedical Science definitely helped me a lot and helped me stay ahead. Since we already had a few modules focusing on different body systems and human biology, I didn’t really face many problems in class. For a foreigner who has to study in German, having an understanding of anatomy beforehand was really helpful.
I had participated in countless thoracic, visceral, ENT, gynecology, orthopedic, and neurology surgeries during my training in Germany. There were many memorable moments: welcoming babies during the caesarian section, touching and feel the lung inflating in an open thorax surgery, looking into an open abdomen cavity, etc. Being able to assist in major surgeries was nerve-wracking but if the surgery went well, the thrill and adrenaline rush were all worth it. Other than assisting with the surgery, we were also responsible in ensuring that the surgery could be carried out smoothly. For example, preparing the necessary instruments and materials, sterility before and during surgery, the functionality of the devices, and so on.
From my experience and observation of my colleagues, one has to have certain type of personality to work with the surgeons. Having a calm mind and quick reaction in difficult situations are really important. I could still remember one patient who started to bleed intensively during surgery, and we had to locate the source of bleeding to keep it under control. At the same time, we had to make sure we had all the materials we needed. Thankfully, the patient was finally stabilised and the surgery was a success.
After completing my training and being a certified surgical tech assistant, I wanted to gain new experience in another field. Thus, I worked in an aesthetic clinic assisting in plastic surgeries such as breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction, and face lifts.
My career progression didn’t stop there because I am about to embark on a new journey as a clinical specialist in a surgical robotics company. Looking back, I am grateful for the steps I took, from starting in IMU to where I am now, and am excited to see how it will develop. IMU has always emphasised on lifelong learning, and so, I will carry along this value on my journey and never stop learning.
Written by Lim Wai Wai