Wan Aizat Wan Zakaria, MBBCh, MAnaes(UM)
Senior Clinical Specialist, Anaesthesiology Department
University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
As someone from a developing country who traveled some 13000 km to be a fellow in Neuroanaesthesia, I was very much looking forward to learning many new and wonderful things at a prestigious center, like the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN). It can be said with confidence that what I obtained from my fellowship was everything that I hoped for and more. I was very grateful to be given this wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Over a year, I have been involved in various cases ranging from intracranial, complex spine, neurovascular, and neurointerventional surgeries. Some cases are similar to what I have encountered in Malaysia, and there are some that were completely new. We also spent time with the neurophysiologists in their clinics and in theatre, where we learned more about the applied physiology of the nervous system by EEG, EMG, evoked potentials, and nerve conduction studies. As fellows, we were also given the responsibility to participate in the Pre-operative Assessment Clinic and attend Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings. We were encouraged to take up the Quality Improvement (QI) project of our interest and present topics at both national and international Neuro conferences. In conclusion, I feel the training has developed my clinical practice, research, and communication skills.
The NHNN is one of the accredited centers for the International Council on Perioperative Neuroscience Training (ICPNT), an international initiative by the Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care (SNACC) to improve the overall perioperative care of neuroscience patients. There are now many ICPNT accredited neuroscience centers which share the same objectives, mainly to provide good education and, therefore, to bring about better neuroscience practitioners.
What I love most about the ICPNT is the opportunity of connecting with other Neuroscience enthusiasts from all over the world. Even after I have completed my fellowship and returned to Malaysia, I have received invitations to participate in the many activities of the Neuroscience community – which is a source of motivation and inspiration to improve the practices and the care of patients in my country.
The Malaysian Society of Neuroanaesthesiology and Neurocritical Care (MSNACC), which Dr Peter Tan is chairing, was recently honored to have Prof Andrew Kofke speak at our online webinar session. Prof Kofke has given an overview of the development of neuroscience education and the establishment of ICPNT, which could be the way forward for the Neuroanaesthesia and Neurocritical Care sub-specialty training in Malaysia. In that webinar, we also had Prof M Radhakrishnan from Bangalore, India, and Dr David Highton from Brisbane, Australia.
For me, the journey has just begun. I now have the responsibility to provide and continue the neuroscience education in Malaysia, which will hopefully improve the delivery of care to our patients. A special thank you to Dr Val Luoma and Dr Sally Wilson; both have always been supportive and believing in me. And to all my wonderful teachers in NHNN. I will someday pay it forward.