SingHealth Group Director of Education Professor Lim Shih Hui wants to make the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC) the best clinical school in Asia Pacific. He shares plans to create the ideal environment to support this.
What is your vision for education?
The SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC must be the best “clinical school” – the best place to learn clinical sciences – for all medical, nursing and allied health professionals in the Asia-Pacific region.
It has been said that half of what we learn can become obsolete within five years. So I am very clear that continual professional development and lifelong learning is a must.
How will you encourage a culture of teaching?
To build a culture of teaching, we have to build a culture of lifelong learning. The best way to learn is to teach. That is why we need a core group of committed clinical educators - up to 20 per cent of medical staff who can spend 20 per cent or more of their time teaching.
All clinicians are content experts in their respective fields, but expecting them to teach without telling them how to do it well is less than ideal. We also needto improve our educators’ competencies by training them in the art and science of teaching.
The Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM•EI) was set up in 2012 for this very purpose. To facilitate a work-learn balance, we have to provide the time and financial resources for our healthcare professionals to take the courses.
And they shouldn’t be learning in silos. As a medical professional myself, I see the increasing importance of team competency in providing holistic and multidisciplinary care, especially for patients with multiple conditions.
Interprofessional education allows for greater sharing of knowledge and multiplies the impact of learning.
What are the challenges for education and what are we doing about them?
My greatest challenge is getting enough people to spend more time in teaching, as well as sending as many people as possible to faculty development programmes.
We also need to appropriately recognise those who are already doing so. We offer teaching as a career path for medical professionals, besides the clinical or research route. There are also academic and education administrative appointments with the appropriate remuneration, such as vice-chair or director of education in the AcademicClinical Programmes (ACPs), as well as Designated Institutional Official and Programme Directors in SingHealth Residency along with their deputies.
Awards like the AM•EI Golden Apple Awards and SingHealth Excellence Awards recognise outstanding teaching individuals in SingHealth and Duke-NUS, on top of national level recognition such as the National Medical Excellence Awards.
As of now, we are trying to optimise resource utilisation for simulationbased education. We are also looking at developing common and core curriculum for medical students from the various medical schools. By the end of this year, we will reorganise SingHealth Group Education to better coordinate all education efforts within SingHealth.
"All teachers must at least have the core competencies to assess, evaluate and give feedback to trainees. I see AM•EI as an integral part of our faculty’s professional development as it teaches these competencies. Individually, educators must continually upgrade themselves to be effective in teaching their students." - Assoc Prof Chan Choong Meng,Deputy Group Director, Education (Undergraduate), SingHealth
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