"Right from the start in medical school, there is a significant culture of seniors guiding juniors with organized tutorial sessions. Some hardworking seniors hand down fabled "senior's notes"! In that aspect, I think I have always had the passion to contribute to educating.
What I am today as both an educator and a clinician, I owe it to my seniors and mentors who have gone the extra mile to educate and guide me. They are truly my biggest inspiration. The most enjoyable part of teaching for me is that I continue to learn myself in a bid to remain well-read and in tune with the current knowledge.
One of the most memorable moments for me as an educator was when I received a text from someone whom I had taught years ago when she was a family medicine resident rotating through the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery when I was a senior resident. She thanked me and conveyed her deepest appreciation for teaching her an approach to low back pain. She said that she could remember it after several years and it had recently come in useful as she diagnosed a rather serious condition in one of her patients. That to me really highlights the essence of medical education. Medical education is not focused on just getting students to pass exams or providing someone with a means to make a living. Medical education is to ensure better health for the patient we are treating.
As an Orthopaedic Surgeon with a busy clinical practice, time is always the challenge. Not just the time needed to teach but the time to "learn how to teach". The art and science of medical education are very well evolved today and I believe that every medical educator needs to have some level of commitment to getting trained to be a trainer/educator. We are very fortunate that we have the Academic Medicine Education Institute (AMEI) that organized excellent courses for medical educators. I try my best to plan my schedule in advance so that I can make some time to attend some of these courses that allow me to teach better.
We must always look to improve the status quo. As much as it applies to our surgical techniques, research methods as well as healthcare delivery, this attitude should also apply to the way we teach. We must continue to evolve the way we teach so that the learners are able to learn better and perform better. Medical education is not just about teaching knowledge and skills, it is also about providing experiences. I hope all of us can be committed to providing meaningful experiences for our juniors so that one day, they can take over from us and be better than us. That will be the crowning glory for medical educators."
- Asst Prof Hamid Rahmatullah Bin Abd Razak, Consultant, Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sengkang General Hospital