Podcast 014: Junior Doctor With Dr James Ooi

Going from medical student to doctor means a life full of money and responsible employment. However, is it the start of a new life as a societal contributor or the death of freedom and time?

As a child, your biggest aspiration might have been to become an astronaut. As a medical student, your biggest aspiration might be to become a doctor. As a doctor, your biggest aspiration might be to take early retirement and never work again. That’s how one horror story might go.

But what is it really like being a medical intern or resident? Is being a junior doctor akin to administrative slavery or is it a chance to be more involved in patient management and help the world?

In this episode, Dr James talks about junior doctor life, coffee, spontaneous patient bleeding and what keeps him sane.


About the guest speaker

Dr James JY Ooi is a PGY2 resident doctor at The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne. After graduating with honours from Monash University in 2016, Dr Ooi tinkered as a novice researcher, authoring publications in the obviously related fields of Rheumatology and Urology. It is a driving passion for improved quality-of-life and functional outcomes that colours Dr Ooi’s work. To that effect, he optimistically jogs towards a career in Sports and Exercise Medicine.

Outside of medicine, James enjoys being suitably average at any sports and pretending to be intellectual, sipping coffee whilst consuming Sir David Attenborough’s latest. Should anyone have the misfortune of meeting this boy man, he recommends forwarding all complaints to his beloved fiancée Michelle, who has carried him through more tough times than can be counted.

Music credits

Opening and closing themes by Phil Poronnik.


Former Music Students, You Will Be Pitied

Former music students, you unfortunate breed.

You thought you left your sordid past behind, but you really didn’t. Not at postgraduate medical school.

When it comes to percussion and auscultation jokes, you’ll hear them all repeatedly.

Given your musical background, every clinician will proclaim how wonderful your percussion is going to be.

Every clinician will tell you how well you’ll hear the heartbeat.

And every clinician will think they’re the first to say it.

Ahh, friend! You have a long road ahead of you.

Food You Can Eat In A Lecture Theatre

According to one survey, top American fears in 2016 included:

  • corrupt civil servants
  • expensive medical bills
  • computers replacing human workers
  • clowns
  • people gossiping about you behind your back

But this research was wrong.

Do you know what’s more frightening than all of those things put together?

Without question, it’s Donald Trump dressed as a clown, waving a pricey medical invoice and shouting “YOU’RE FIRED!” behind your back, because you’re being replaced by a Surface Pro.

Yet there could be something worse: having your stomach rumble in the middle of a quiet lecture theatre.

To say that’s a little embarrassing might be a gross understatement for some.

Luckily, there’s a solution for that — eat more food.

Today, we’ll explore the art involved in selecting sustenance that is nourishing, tasty and able to be surreptitiously consumed in a small space.

For food to pass as lecture-worthy, there are 4 basic requirements that must be satisfied.

1. Smell

The relationship between aroma and public reception is well-established, with an excess of smell often sparking displeasure in others.

An increasing function best describes this phenomenon.


For this reason, hot food is generally to be avoided.

2. Noise

As humans have evolved to listen out for ringing phones and to enjoy bad pop music, their hearing can be quite sensitive. Thus, sound is an important consideration.

In the following graph, we see the impact of noisy food on audience disruption.

2017-01-10_Food You Can Eat In A Lecture Theatre-2.jpg

3. Practicability

Consider how much space is available around you and how space your meal preparation would require. Is there someone sitting next to you? Or do you have horrible body odour that drives everyone away, thus granting you a larger area? These factors can either limit or enable your culinary activities.

For example, filleting a fish might be tempting during a particularly mundane class, but the space requirements often prove too difficult to overcome.


Consider also the effort required. Pineapple would be refreshing in the middle of an intellectually rigorous lecture, but cutting it would involve a lot of mess and a lot of casualties.

4. Waste

Just like your crazy ex, some food comes with excess baggage. This is often in the form of a fruit skin or a plastic wrapper.

Unfortunately, there are risks in standing up to immediately dispose of rubbish. Most insidious is that of the lecturer suddenly stopping mid-sentence, looking pointedly at you, asking if you have a question and drawing the entire room’s attention to you.

The other option — to stockpile wrappers around you until the end of the class — is also unpleasant. As we all know, hoarding is a dangerous pastime with the potential for highly negative consequences.


Does your food of choice involve a haphazard amount of residue or wrapping? You might want to seek an alternative.

Here’s a reminder why.


With those principles in mind, let’s analyse some specific examples.

Banana: Silent and nutritious. Occasionally has a long-range smell. Be prepared to head straight to the bin after consumption. Otherwise, bring a plastic bag to store the leftover peel.

Breakfast bar: Delicious and convenient. Some types pose a crumbling risk.

Nuts: Cashews? Good. Almonds? Good. Peanuts? Good — but not for anyone nearby with an allergy. Pistachios? If there’s a risk of accidentally swiping the shells off your desk when you move your hand, and there always is, avoid.

Yoghurt: Bring a spoon to avoid ungraciously slurping from the container. As with bananas, rubbish is a concern.

Protein ball: Filling. As an added bonus, makes you look like a health aficionado.

Chocolate: A highly recommended lecture food. Good to share with others. Especially if you do have bad body odour and need to entice more people to sit near you.

Apple: Healthy but generally noisy. High crunch risk. A core remains after consumption.

Sausage roll: Warm, delicious and sure to create envy in all your neighbours. Some pastry varieties are particularly prone to breaking off into flakes.

Chips: Crunchy and involve rubbish. Similar to apples in this respect, except without any of the health benefits.

Durian: No.


  1. Chapman University. (2016, October 11). America’s Top Fears 2016. Retrieved from https://blogs.chapman.edu/wilkinson/2016/10/11/americas-top-fears-2016/