Asst Prof Ho (top left), at a zoom meeting with Training and Education colleagues - (clockwise L-R) Kwek Su Hui, OTE; Shane Chew and Koh Jia Hui, SingHealth Residency (Cardiology); Jenny Lee, ACP; Oh Seow Fong, Lebelle Soh, Quek Yiling, Ang Yan Ni, OTE; Tasha Tan, ACP; and Lim Hui Er and Chan Ailing, OTE.
The training and education arm in NHCS has been instrumental in grooming numerous doctors under the SingHealth Duke-NUS Cardiovascular Sciences Academic Clinical Programme (CVS ACP). Under the able leadership of the Vice-Chair for Training & Education, Dr Kurugulasigamoney Gunasegaran from 2012, and later, Assoc Prof Yeo Khung Keong since 2016, and supported by the Office of Training & Education (OTE), significant contributions have been made to the growth of the CVS ACP. Assoc Prof Yeo also played a key role in establishing the Cardiology Residency Programme.
In April 2021, Asst Prof Ho Kay Woon officially took up the baton from Assoc Prof Yeo as Vice-Chair of Training & Education. His previous role for almost a decade as directorship for medical students training was handed to Assoc Prof Jonathan Yap. Also joining the new team is Asst Prof Paul Lim who has been appointed as the Director of Residency Programme. He takes over from Asst Prof Daniel Chong. We put our newly minted Vice Chair of CVS ACP Training and Education on the hot seat.
In your previous role as Director, Medical Students Training, what was most challenging in keeping the Medical Students engaged in learning?
It was perhaps my good fortune that most students rotated to NHCS were enthusiastic and motivated to learn. The challenge was to balance busy clinical workload with students’ requests for more teaching and tutorials. Hence, the solution was to teach them the “how-to” of the trade - how to communicate effectively with patients, how to take a good history to diagnose the medical conditions accurately, and how to perform systematic and detailed physical examination to pick up abnormal signs. With this, patients will in turn become the medical students’ best tutors, as the more they interact and examine patients, the faster they learn and able to pick up clinical signs independently.
We heard that the programme received good feedback from the students. What are the ways to motivate our doctor-teachers to remain passionate and committed to teaching?
To improve efficacy of our tutors’ delivery of education content to students, we organise the students’ curriculum according to standardised topics to tailor to different needs of students at different learning stages. Many of the tutorial slides are standardised and downloadable from a central source to minimise redundancy of efforts in preparation. We group students based on levels, for early learners, they will have their initial ward and clinical attachments, whereas for senior students nearing graduation, we will prepare them for integration into the hospital’s working environment.
Feedback from students is sought regularly to identify areas of improvements for tutors. Positive feedback gives encouragement to tutors for teaching and doing well. Every year, we recognise top and role-model clinical tutors who have contributed significantly in teaching hours and received good student feedback as a way of appreciating their continued excellence in medical education.
As the new Vice Chair of T&D, what are your plans for faculty development?
Early identification of clinicians with passion for medical education is a key step to enhance the quality of teaching within the ACP. Through the formal feedback system, promising tutors could be identified. These tutors will receive relevant training sessions, be given opportunities to teach a variety of different student groups and gradually take on greater responsibility to organise medical education sessions and events. Tutors who aspire to have a greater role in medical education are also encouraged to develop further with given protected time and explore the option of being a Clinician-Educator.
How is the team going to continue its training plans amid the ongoing pandemic?
Covid-19 has changed the way we conduct training. Leveraging on technology and virtual platforms, we are able to continue with the delivery of medical education. Training sessions were organised to get the tutors familiarised with teaching virtually and teaching curriculum has to be tweaked for optimal learning and experience. Despite the initial apprehension of virtual platforms, most tutors were open to using new teaching methods and swiftly adapted to a virtual learning environment. These innovations have indeed brought about efficiency and effectiveness in their delivery of medical education.
What do you hope to achieve for this area of work?
To train and have competent doctors with compassion who can take good care of us when we grow old 😉
Oh Seow Fong, Manager, OTE shared, “Even during this period of pandemic, we received constant requests from overseas participants for observer-ships and attachments in NHCS . This is a testament of the quality of our training and educational programmes, and one that we have worked very hard with our clinician educators to build over the years.”
With Asst Prof Ho’s leadership, we are certain the flame for learning will burn brighter than ever.
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