Dedicated faculty, talented residents and two consecutive wins at the Inter-Sponsoring Institute Medical Jeopardy prove SingHealth’s Internal Medicine Residency Program a force to be reckoned with.

March 6, NUH Auditorium - it was the finals of the Inter-Sponsoring Institute Medical Jeopardy and the audience were at the edge of their seats. The tie-breaker question was on the SingHealth team – cluster headaches and running noses. It was make-or-break.
SingHealth Internal Medicine (IM) residents proved their mettle when they won that night, trumping competitors NUHS and NHG to bring home the trophy for the second consecutive year.
Dr Loo Khang Ning, a Year Two IM Resident at SingHealth Residency said the essential ingredient that added up to their win was not textbook knowledge. Rather, it was the well-rounded, comprehensive clinical training they receive at SingHealth IM Residency.
“It offers the most number of subspecialties in Singapore for us medical trainees. The high volume and diverse range of cases here are also higher than other Sponsoring Institutes, so we get exposure to rare cases that others may only read about in books.”
"Whether over coffee with the consultant or at the bedside, these interactions give the practical aspect of clinical care that no textbook or internet guide can ever teach."
The strong emphasis on ward experience and patient-centric approach give IM Residents more than just the nuts and bolts of diagnosis and treatment. IM Residents also learn about the doctor-patient relationship in patient care and get the opportunity to collaborate with different subspecialties.
Dr Loo’s team mate at the Jeopardy competition was Dr Cheong May Anne, whose practical experience gave the team the winning answer.
“My answer would not have come to me based on what I learned from the textbooks alone. My experience being embedded in the transplant wards allowed me to immediately think of it,” said Dr Cheong, who is in her second year of IM Residency.
She added, “I have learnt a lot from curbside teachings, whether over coffee with the consultant or at the bedside. These interactions give the practical aspect of clinical care that no textbook or internet guide can ever teach.”
An outstanding part of IM’s residency program is the dedicated faculty who are widely-recognised as leading clinicians in their field.
“We have handpicked teachers who can teach and are willing to mentor students,” said Dr Warren Fong, Assistant Programme Director at IM Residency.
“They are all very supportive,” agreed Dr Cheong. “Dr Phua Ghee Chee, our programme director, goes out of his way to connect with us. He makes it a point to attend all our events and even meets up with each resident twice a year. Dr Fong is also a great support, helping us with our in-training exam and checking in from time-to-time to see if we need help.”
“They provide not just work and education support, but also support for emotional issues and even our social life. They are always available and responsive,” said Dr Loo.
The faculty conducts yearly assessments of their residents to identify knowledge gaps and bridge it through lectures or case discussions. The faculty in subspecialties also organises teaching sessions tailored to individual learners rotating through the subspecialty.
“IM has continually evolved its teaching methods. In the past, residents had to look for tutors themselves. Now, we help match students with mentors in the subspecialties that they are interested in,” said Dr Fong.
IM residency plans to make more lectures available online for residents to view at their own pace. The programme will also introduce small group tutorials on medical education innovations. New to the residents’ syllabus will be topics like interviewing skills and how to provide comfort and relief in end-of-life care for our patients.
"There is nothing better than being able to transmit knowledge to a younger generation."
Based on the idea of paying-it-forward, Residents are also empowered to take on the role of mentorship and teach their fellow colleagues through various resident-led peer support initiatives such as CADENCE that helps prepare residents for MRCP PACES, a clinical exam for trainee doctors to enter higher specialist training.
This formula has brought more wins to IM Residency. CADENCE, for example, has resulted in passing rates of the MRCP PACES examinations to surge above 80 per cent. Moreover, it has fostered strong bonds among the residents.
Beyond helping their peers, IM residents have also stepped up to sharpen their teaching skills and mentor their juniors and medical students through resident-initiated events such as COMPASS, an IM orientation programme, and Student Internship Programme (SIP) bootcamp.
The latter was initialised by Singhealth IM residents to prepare senior medical students for their internship postings and housemanship, and it has since been adopted as an annual flagship programme.
Ultimately, it is the passion to care for patients and learning that drives IM residents and their faculty.
“There is nothing better than being able to transmit knowledge to a younger generation, and see that they learn faster and don’t make same mistakes that we did,” shared Dr Fong.
“One of my hopes as an educator is to instil a love of learning in my residents, as I share my own passion for learning with them. I want to provide a unique brand of medical education to residents coming to our institution.”