"My work gives me a chance to make a difference in the life of every individual patient. While peritoneal malignancies encompass a large variety of diseases, I know that appropriately tailored care and timely and skilled surgical interventions give our patients the best chance of a good outcome. When I see a patient's face light up in a smile when I visit their bedside following surgery, it is highly rewarding. So, despite the hard work and sacrifices that this calling entails, it has many rewards – touching the lives of patients in the most wonderful ways is one of them."
Surgery is not only about precision and knowledge, but also the continued pursuit of excellence, empathy for others and the ability to work as a team. These are the skillsets that Dr Bettina herself has honed in her years as a surgeon – drawn not just from her own experience but the invaluable guidance and mentorship of others. This is why, apart from raising the bar on her own clinical and surgical competencies, Dr Bettina is also passionate about educating the next generation of surgeons.
Dr Bettina graduated from Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany in 2000. Prior to commencing her surgical training in the United Kingdom, she attained a research degree (Doctor Medicine) from Friedrich Schiller University in 2003.
She completed Basic Surgical Training and Higher Surgical Training in the United Kingdom and spent her final training year in the Department of Colorectal Surgery at Oxford University Hospital. She was awarded FRCS in 2010 and obtained her Certificate of Completion of Training in 2011.
She joined NUH in 2011. In 2014, Dr Bettina trained for three months at the National Centre for Pseudomyxoma Peritonei in Basingstoke, UK, in Cytoreductive Surgery with Heated Intra-Peritoneal Chemotherapy, and has since been accredited to perform this procedure in Singapore.
Nurturing the next generation
Dr Bettina considers herself fortunate to have met many inspiring mentors who have influenced and contributed to her vocation. One Senior Consultant began it all when she was just a young doctor settling into her first posting. Gentle and kind to all, he also exampled meticulous surgical skill, grace under pressure, and an open ear and door for patients and colleagues alike. She found herself not only emulating these attributes but also wanting to pay such invaluable lessons forward.
To honour their tradition and strive to be what they were to her for many more students and residents, Dr Bettina pursued training in medical education and today, regularly teaches students.
She has received the Dean's Award for teaching excellence several times, served as the NUS Phase 3 director, looking after and coordinating curriculum and assessments for the 300 medical students entering their first clinical year (3rd year of their five-year course) for the past eight years.
Currently, she is Associate Programme Director of the NUH General Surgery Residency Programme.