High-tech facilities for medical school

Learning spaces called alcove clusters at the Clinical Sciences Building in Novena will feature high-tech glass panels that can be turned into whiteboards for teaching.
Learning spaces called alcove clusters at the Clinical Sciences Building in Novena will feature high-tech glass panels that can be turned into whiteboards for teaching.PHOTO: LEE KONG CHIAN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

At the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), there are no weekly group lectures, a mainstay at many universities. Its students learn independently through online lectures, and go to class prepared for quizzes and group discussions.

Its new facilities will be shaped by this teaching philosophy. Instead of lecture theatres, it will have learning studios where students work in small groups to solve problems.

"Doctors are working more and more in teams, so communication is one of the most crucial aspects of medical training," said dean James Best.

"Medicine is about solving problems, not regurgitating facts - our facilities are designed around the team-based approach."

The studios, designed to take up to 200 students each, were among the facilities unveiled on Thursday at the school's foundation stone laying ceremony at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The guest of honour was President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is NTU chancellor.

LKCMedicine, Singapore's third and newest medical school, was set up jointly by NTU and Imperial College London. It began taking in students in 2013.

The dual-campus school will not be fully completed until next year, but the Experimental Medicine Building at NTU will be ready this August, in time for the year's intake.

At the Clinical Sciences Building in Novena, learning areas will have high-tech glass panels that can be made opaque so they double as whiteboards. There will be simulation wards and a clinical skills lab where students can practise suturing prosthetic wounds on mock patients, for instance.

"The training lets us delve deep into application through such facilities," said first-year student Goh Kang Shiong, 21.

The school has 132 students from its intakes for 2013 and last year. More than 900 students have taken the prerequisite Biomedical Admissions Test and plan to apply for a place this year. This year's intake is set to exceed last year's cohort of 78, said the school, which aims to raise the figure to 150 a year.

kashc@sph.com.sg