Between 15 April and 31 May 2013, 17 Year Six MBBS students from Imperial College London completed their seven weeks LKCMedicine Elective Programme in Singapore, which included a one-week structured Orientation of Singapore’s healthcare institutions and six weeks of clinical and research placements.
One of the elective students, William Birmingham, who spent three weeks in a paediatrics placement at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and another three weeks at Bukit Batok Polyclinic, describes the LKCMedicine Elective Programme as an immersive experience. He says, “I got the opportunity to visit and interact with elderly patients at Teck Ghee Seniors Activity Centre. For half a day, I accompanied an occupational therapist to see how healthcare is delivered personally at patients’ homes. I am glad that I could serve patients outside the medical setting, such as this community project, where I learnt how to overcome language barriers."
William at Teck Ghee Seniors Activity Centre
Echoing William’s sentiments is fellow elective student, Heechan Kang, who completed a neonatology placement at KKH. He states, “All the staff at KKH Neonatology department were very friendly and helpful. The head of the department, Professor Samuel Rajadurai, spent time welcoming and orientating me to the placement and project that was offered."
Due to his positive experience, Heechan also indicates that he is considering working in Singapore and he believes that the hands-on experience and interaction with hospital staff have helped to shape his desire to pursue Neonatology as his future specialisation in medicine.
Some of the Imperial students also took part in research projects during their elective. Dr Jason Maroothynaden, LKCMedicine Deputy Director (Technology in Medical Education and Innovation in Simulation) and the elective research projects supervisor, believes the elective students’ work on the research projects demonstrates the School’s commitment to developing innovative pedagogical tools and basic science research for real world clinical application. One elective student, Francesca Conway, has developed a novel, patient-focused simulation framework tool for exploring mis-diagnosis. In close collaboration with the Cardiology department at TTSH, another elective student, Punam Shah, has developed a novel Operation Room based test system for assessing stent device performance.
LKCMedicine's Senior Assistant Director for Student Life and Services, Renay Taylor, who coordinated the Electives programme, states that the School received positive feedback from the clinical supervisors and healthcare institutions at which the Imperial students were placed. She says having the students placed with and working alongside fellow medical students and new graduates from Singapore further enhanced their learning about the healthcare settings and medical training in Singapore. It also helped them forge social bonds with peers in Singapore, which will hopefully continue as they embark on their professional careers in Medicine.
Following the positive feedback from the 2013 Elective Programme, and the recognition of the excellent learning opportunities provided within the Singapore healthcare institutions, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine has already received applications for its 2014 Elective Programme.