World Health Day 2019 – Dr Shawn Jia Hwang TAN

Dr Shawn Jia Hwang TAN, Class of 2012

MBBS, Newcastle University, UK

Foundation Year 2 Doctor, Warwick Hospital, NHS


Shawn, can you tell us about your life after GIS?

I started studying Medicine at Newcastle University (UK) after finishing my A-Levels at GIS. It is a 5-year course and upon graduating in 2017, I started my Foundation (previously known as Housemanship) Training in the West Midlands. I am currently doing my rotation in Trauma & Orthopaedics at Warwick hospital.


What made you to choose this field?

I am planning to pursue a career in orthopaedics after I complete my foundation training. I developed an interest in orthopaedics in my teenage years after I was treated for various sports injuries by a professional and humble orthopaedic surgeon who really inspired me through his holistic approach to me as a patient.


After your foundation  training – what comes next?

I plan to enter the Core Surgical training programme; this will enable me to develop my basic skills and knowledge in surgery before applying for higher specialty training in orthopaedics.


What is the most rewarding part of your medical career?

The most rewarding part of my current job is being able to use my skills and knowledge to help patients regain function and quality of life through appropriate management and, if necessary, surgery.


What personal qualities or abilities are important to being successful in this career?

Diligence, perseverance, empathy, humility and passion.


Do you have fond memories of your time at GIS that you’d like to share?

One of the fondest memories I have from my time at GIS would be playing football during lunchtime. Every day would be a new match and nobody wanted to lose!

All my teachers in GIS were fantastic and taught me plenty. But if I had to choose one teacher to mention, it would be Mr Jim Donaldson, my Year 13 Tutor and A Level Chemistry teacher. He really inspired me to push my limits and guided me during my university applications.

I am glad to have made many friends during my time at GIS, quite a few of whom I am still in contact with, despite being in different parts of the world!


Finally, do you have any advice for current students who would like to choose the same path as you?

Try to get work experience placements during your summer holidays in hospitals to get a true feel for what the day-to-day job of a doctor is really like.

Also, when the time comes, remember to do proper research about the universities you apply to and ensure that your CV is proofread many times (I think I had 10 drafts for my CV)!