Physicianaries: Dr Vincent Mok

This week's Physicianary is Dr Vincent Mok.

Vincent is currently a Pilot for Cathay Pacific Airways. Yes, that's right, a pilot!

A GP for almost five years, his heart lay in aviation so he took his career to dizzying new heights (pun intended).

But medicine for him is far from over, with a good heart and an infectious positive attitude and character, expect to see him balancing both careers in the coming years.

What specialty in Medicine did you choose? Why?

I eventually chose GP for its lifestyle and friendly culture. Because I worked at a group practice, I was able to control my hours and holidays and it's easy to get along with GP colleagues.

Through "GP land", I was able to pursue my wide range of interests including aviation medicine, addiction medicine, primary care dermatology and simple surgery. The best part is the opportunity to make a difference in peoples' lives: by catching that early breast cancer; helping an alcoholic break their perpetuating cycle of self harm and regain control over their life; and helping a young man with blindness get a guide-dog then meeting the pup!

Name the Doctor that had been most inspiring or had the most impact on your career?

"Dr Multipotentialite". I met Dr Ada when she was a surgical registrar while doing a law degree and an instrument rating for her flying as a private pilot.

I met Dr Yi who also has a private pilots' license, worked as a surgical assistant and occupational medicine doctor before becoming a bitcoin trader, ski instructor and a locum physician on the ski slopes.

I met Dr Vichai who became an airline pilot at Cathay Pacific and I followed his footsteps.

I met Dr Jeremy, who was a Qantas Boeing 767 pilot who became a doctor and now an aviation medical examiner after developing type 1 diabetes.

These doctors showed me that it is possible to pursue multiple interests and professions, not just specialties within medicine. They're "multipotentialites".

Why did you make the change from medicine to aviation? Which has been easier?

Everything worth pursuing is challenging. As long as there's passion, you'd have the drive to succeed. In a way, aviation is easier because it's been my passion since the age of four, hence I overcame all the challenges with perseverance and hard work- from theory exams, first solo, commercial pilots' license flight test, instrument rating, multi-engine endorsement, jet type rating and line checks.

However, aviation is harder in terms of ongoing quality assurance as we have tests and checks at least every three months and we have to be in excellent health for our annual medical.

I studied medicine because it was a logical option back in high school. I was good at biology and medicine is a stable career option and a lot of my high school friends chose it. However, my heart has always been in aviation and my dream has always been to become an airline pilot.

What has been the most impactful part of your career(s) so far?

Seeing the Northern Lights while flying 40000ft above the North Pole has been the most impactful and amazing part of my career so far. All the problems of the world seems so minute when I see the wonderful manifestation of nature up in the sky.

If there was one superpower you think a Doctor needed the most right now, what would it be?

Having a crystal ball would be useful. In a way, I believe artificial intelligence will become that crystal ball in the next 10-20 years. The challenge for doctors is to use AI sensibly and with good judgement.

Sign up for our no-nonsense Doctology Download newsletter at the bottom of this page.