October 2014 | ISSUE 14
From a hazy to lucid case-line, all with a team

By Lavisha S Punjabi
Year 2 student

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Lavisha (second from left) and her DeSharks team members receiving their first runner-up prize 

The motion for the final round of the NHG-Tan Tock Seng Hospital Student Festival Debate Competition, part of the Singapore Health & Biomedical Congress, itched my mind. My team and I, forming the proposition, were tasked with defending the motion Inter-professional collaboration compromises professional identity formation.

The rule of thumb I revere when I begin thinking about any motion – asking myself why someone would raise this question – did not yield any Eureka! moments, but only an image of a wise soul pondering the contextual nature of identity over a cup of tea. The literature, too, did not offer to hold my hand and direct me out of the labyrinth of tunnels in which I circled.

In view of this Hobson’s choice, my team and I returned to our fundamental analysis of the terms within the motion – inter-professional collaboration, compromise, professional identity and formation – to find guidance. In a mixed team of medicine, nursing and pharmacy students, we were fortunate that our combined experiences gradually led us to a more mature understanding of inter-professional collaboration.

Much like an F1 pit stop crew, a successful team needs to have members who possess a strong identity based on the role they have been trained to serve and at the same time, embrace the concept of no ‘I’ in team.

We based our case-line on the argument that more time and soul-searching is required to form the identity as a team player and as a trans-professional (a profession which is a by-product of inter-professional collaboration), especially if one did not receive adequate inter-professional education. Therefore, my team defended that the compromise lay solely in the formation of professional identity. After the phase of formation, this would, however, lead to a more holistic identity.

From the perspective of the second and reply speaker for the proposition team, DeSharks. DeSharks claimed first runner-up in the competition.