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​LKCMedicine inducts seventh cohort with White Coat Ceremony 

Published on: 13-Aug-2019

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LKCMedicine this morning welcomed its seventh and largest cohort of 150 students with its traditional White Coat Ceremony, a symbolic occasion which marks the start of their medical journey. 

Excitement filled the air at the Nanyang Auditorium, as the Class of 2024 and their loved ones, gathered together to celebrate their achievement of being accepted into LKCMedicine. 

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Kicking off the White Coat Ceremony, NTU President and Distinguished University Professor Subra Suresh congratulated students and parents for making it this far. In his welcome address, Prof Suresh pointed out that they are entering the medical profession "at a profound time of change for humanity", when technology is significantly impacting the day-to-day life of humans. "Robotic surgery, telehealth tools, regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence in diagnosis, virtual reality in the clinic and in the operating theatre, 3D printing of body parts: all these things are here and will impact your career in decades to come," said Prof Suresh.

He also spoke about how healthcare challenges in Singapore are becoming increasingly complex. For instance, Prof Suresh noted that in less than a decade, Singapore will be heading towards a 'Silver Tsunami', as it is expected that one in five Singaporeans will be at least 65 years old. While Singapore is one of the countries with the longest life expectancy, he acknowledged that "longevity can also come at a price".

"The Singapore Government has declared a 'war on diabetes', so as life expectancy increases, one has to also pay attention to the quality of life. So you will be practicing medicine at a time of profound changes in the way technology impacts medicine and also profound demographic changes locally in Singapore. LKCMedicine's innovative curriculum has been designed to prepare you for the shifting healthcare needs of Singapore. You will have many opportunities to work alongside teams in clinics and hospitals across Singapore and to begin observing the challenges ahead and the changes that will be required," said Prof Suresh.

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Following his address, Guest-of-Honour, LKCMedicine Governing Board Member and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Prof Lee Eng Hin took the stage.

Addressing students in his keynote address, Prof Lee said while they have a long journey ahead, it will be one that is "exciting and often exhilarating". For one, he pointed out that it is a "challenging time to start medical school today".

"The explosion of medical information and the technological advances have resulted in huge amounts of knowledge and skills that a medical student has to acquire during their training. Patients are well educated today and have unlimited access to information on the internet, and thus have higher expectations when they consult doctors," he added. While students are well-positioned to take on the challenges of medical education today in the age of Information Technology in the digital world, Prof Lee reminded them that to be a compassionate and caring doctor, having excellent cognitive and motor skills are not sufficient.  

"To cultivate a good doctor patient relationship emotional skills are extremely important and this involves having the ability to communicate well with patients and establish good rapport. Many millennials and post-millennials are so comfortable communicating by texting that they may have some difficulty in their verbal communication skills. To be a good doctor, you have to earn the patient's trust by showing that you care and much of this is through listening to patients, meaningful verbal interaction and positive body language," he added.

Citing an Ayurvedic Medicine text, Prof Lee said, "Charaka Samhita which teaches that 'He who practices not for money, nor for caprice, but out of compassion for living beings (bhuta-daya), is the best among physicians' and from Sun Simiao, a 7th Century Chinese Ethicist, who wrote 'The Physician must develop first a sense of compassion and piety, and then make a commitment to try to save every living creature, to treat every patient on equal grounds and to avoid seeking wealth because of his expertise".

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The insightful speeches by Prof Suresh and Prof Lee were followed by the conferment of the white coats. Explaining its significance, LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best said, "The white coat is one of the symbols, perhaps along with the stethoscope, associated of being a doctor. Wearing the white coat will initiate the journey through challenging but exciting time in your lives".

With smiles on their faces, Prof Best, along with LKCMedicine House Tutors and Assistant Deans, placed the white coat on each medical student's shoulders. The students were also concurrently inducted into their respective LKCMedicine's Houses. 

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Dressed in their white coats, the students then faced their families and recited the Declaration of a New Medical Student led by LKCMedicine Vice-Dean for Education Professor Naomi Low-Beer. The declaration reflects a binding commitment to patients as well as a doctor profession's ethics and tradition, based upon sound scientific knowledge combined with patient-centred care. 

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At the end of the conferment, LKCMedicine Year 2 student Tan Tsien Ming Evan recited a poem titled, "Death's Waiting Room", written by his senior, Year 3 student, Pereira Emma Marie-Pamerlyn. The White Coat Ceremony concluded with a photo of the full cohort with the School's leadership, House Tutors and Prof Lee. The new medical students celebrated the milestone by taking pictures with their families and friends, while having lunch at the foyer of the Auditorium.

Many students such as Daniel Yap is excited to begin his journey in LKCMedicine. Daniel aims to learn all the clinical and practical knowledge required to perform well as a doctor. Beyond acquiring the hard skils, the former Dunman High School student also hopes to hone his soft skills such as communication and situation management skills during his time in LKCMedicine. "I wish all my batch mates and friends a fulfilling journey ahead," he added.

Meanwhile, his classmate, Mahima Loomba hopes to contribute to society as a medical student. "One thing I am really looking forward to is going for overseas Community Involvement Project, because I've always wanted to help out in rural communities, but never gotten the chance to," said the Raffles Junior College graduate. 

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