August 2017 (Special Edition) | Issue 31
Induction of fifth cohort marks full circle for LKCMedicine

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Less than two weeks ago, LKCMedicine welcomed its fifth cohort of 120 students in traditional style with its White Coat Ceremony. With the induction of these newly minted medical students, the School’s curriculum is now for the first time being delivered across all five years.

The White Coat Ceremony, held on 16 August, was a proud moment for the students, who distinguished themselves during the admissions process from over 1,000 applicants; and the Nanyang Auditorium was abuzz with excitement.

In a special welcome to the Class of 2022, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson, who will be stepping down from his role at the end of the year, promised them an exciting journey ahead. He said, “You are entering a world in which you will learn to exercise your head as well as your heart. By combining your knowledge and skills with compassion and empathy, you will practise medicine to improve people’s lives and contribute to the good of humanity.”

Following Prof Andersson's welcome, the Guest-of-Honour Permanent Secretary for Health at the Ministry of Health Mr Chan Heng Kee took to the stage, outlining the many ways in which healthcare is evolving – focusing in particular on a shift from healthcare to health, hospital to community and quality to value. To make these shifts successfully, the practice of medicine in Singapore also has to evolve, he said, citing three areas as crucial in achieving this goal: more doctors who provide broader, integrated care; more doctors who can work across physical boundaries and care settings; and more doctors who can work across teams and professions.

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Guest-of-Honour Permanent Secretary for Health at the Ministry of Health Mr Chan Heng Kee outlines the many ways in which healthcare is evolving during his keynote address

“In each of these shifts I have spoken about, medical schools have a crucial role to play. They can facilitate these shifts by inculcating the right philosophy and mindsets early on in medical school education. Their curriculum needs to be designed to help students develop universal generalist skills, such as competencies in geriatric care, internal and rehabilitation medicine,” said Mr Chan, who was heartened by LKCMedicine’s efforts in these areas.

Having heard from Mr Chan and Prof Andersson, it was time for the conferment of white coats. Explaining their significance, LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best said that the white coat serves as a reminder of the professionalism that is required of student doctors when meeting patients.

Eager to receive this official symbol, the 120 students made their way by House onto the stage where they received their white coats from their House Tutors Assistant Deans and Prof Best.

With this, they were inducted not only into the School but also into their Houses. LKCMedicine’s five Houses, which are named after luminaries in the fields of science and medicine, provide a support structure that helps students develop a sense of belonging to the School and the larger student body, which has now grown to 448 students.

Wearing their white coats, the students recited the Declaration of a New Medical Student led by Vice-Dean for Education Professor Naomi Low-Beer, pledging to serve humanity, care for the sick, prevent disease, promote good health and alleviate pain and suffering.

Amplifying one of the core values of the School and a key tenet of doctors, LKCMedicine Class of 2021 student Goh Xin Rong recited the poem What is Empathy?, written by her senior, Gabriel Tan from the Class of 2020. In the poem, Gabriel reflects on the need to shed our selfishness and step into other people’s shoes to become truly empathetic to those around us.

In bringing the ceremony to an official close, National Healthcare Group Group CEO Professor Philip Choo took to the stage, calling on students to always put their patients, many of whom come from humble backgrounds with few means, first.

He said, “You are now entering into a science-based profession and discipline, but the practice and outcome depends a lot on the heart and the art. You must always remember that they are not just patients, but are human beings in front of you. You are in a position to help, and you do it not as a doctor, but as a person who cares and has the knowledge to do that. That is medicine and that does not change.”

With a group photo of the full cohort, House tutors, School leadership and the Guest-of-Honour, the ceremony concluded. It was time for the Class of 2022 to celebrate their induction with their families and friends, filling the foyer of the Nanyang Auditorium with happy chatter, cheer and shouts of joy.

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LKCMedicine’s newest students strike a pose in their new white coats as they look forward to a fulfilling five years ahead