June 2016 | Issue 24
Becoming a clinician educator

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By Nicole Lim
Assistant Director, Communications & External Relations

 

Teaching new volunteers the ropes at the Singapore Science Centre perfectly combined Kevin Kow’s two passions – teaching and science. Looking for a career path that would allow him to continue with both interests, Kevin decided to study medicine with a view to becoming a clinician educator.

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Kevin and his classmates at a graduation ceremony

Having applied to a number of top medical schools, Kevin had his heart set on Edinburgh. But against his own expectations, he fell in love with Imperial College London. The now final-year student recalls, “I’d had my heart set on Edinburgh, because if I was going overseas, then I was going to do something pretty out of the box, and see everything there was to see. But when I went to Imperial, everything just felt right.”

During his time at Imperial, Kevin enjoyed all that Imperial had to offer – from clinical attachments with some of the UK’s leading specialist centres and biggest hospitals to research opportunities that led to poster presentations at prestigious events such as American Thoracic Society Conference and British Thoracic Society’s Winter Meeting.

Fact Box
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Name: Kevin Kow

Age: 25

Occupation: Soon to be Foundation Year 1 junior doctor in the NHS

Family: Third of four sons

Hobbies: Swimming, cooking, hiking

Aspiration: To pursue a career in something I’m passionate about

Best medical school memory: Finding out I passed my final examinations!

Other ties to LKCMedicine: His youngest brother is in the Class of 2019

Kevin said, “My first clinical rotation was with the respiratory medicine team at St Mary’s, where I had a great experience and saw some interesting things, including a patient in septic shock. Towards the end of my rotation, I approached Professor Kon Onn Min to see whether I could come in during my free time to help with some research. We had such a good relationship that I went back to Prof Kon the next year for my BSc project.”

While his involvement in education took a backseat as he focused on completing his BSc and MBBS degrees, Kevin was keen to seek out opportunities to be involved in teaching and medical education research. During his third year, he became involved in teaching communication skills. Managing small groups of first year students, Kevin facilitated and offered his own feedback, and shared insights with his juniors, something that he had benefitted from greatly during his first year.

And when it came to planning his final-year elective, Kevin got in touch with the London Office of LKCMedicine. With their help, he arranged to spend his elective back home in Singapore, gathering data from the inaugural cohort at Singapore’s newest medical school.

Kevin said, “I’m comparing feedback that third year students get – from clinicians, other health professionals and each other – with the feedback given to Imperial third year students to see whether there are good practices that the two schools can share. As this is the first cohort going into clinical years, it’s a unique opportunity to do some benchmarking too.”

He spent eight weeks at LKCMedicine, gathering feedback through a cohort-wide questionnaire and qualitative one-on-one interviews. The project has been a big learning curve for Kevin. Although familiar with research, this was his first time setting a project up from scratch. This included developing all the study materials and getting ethics approval from the two universities.

Now back in London, Kevin is completing his project and hopes to be able to share his findings by early August.   

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Back home with his family and friends, Kevin is dedicated in completing his project

Apart from getting this project completed, Kevin is looking forward to starting his Foundation Year 1 post in Southport Hospital in July, a posting which he hopes will set him on the path to specialise in either respiratory medicine or medical education.

“Either way, I hope to continue my ambition to become a clinician educator, in whatever form that may take at the end.”