Opening Address by
Professor Bertil Andersson
President, Nanyang Technological University
LKCMedicine White Coat Ceremony 2017
Wednesday, 16 August 2017, 2.30pm
Guest-of-Honour Mr Chan Heng Kee, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health
Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Governing Board member of NTU’s Board of Trustees, and Chairman of A*STAR
Professor James Best, Dean, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
Professor Philip Choo, Group Chief Executive Officer, National Healthcare Group
Professor Gavin Screaton, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London
Assoc Professor Benjamin Ong, LKCMedicine Governing Board member, Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health
Ladies and Gentlemen
A warm welcome to our newest cohort of medical students and their families. It’s great to have you here this afternoon. I wish to congratulate all the young men and women here today. You have worked hard through the years to be here today. You have made sacrifices and faced numerous challenges along the way. But you have persevered and achieved your goal of entering medical school--LKC medical school, a medical school where we have NTU Singapore and Imperial College London, two top international universities together. All of us are happy to celebrate your success.
I would also like to congratulate all the parents here. I am sure you had experienced the same anxieties as your sons and daughters and were as delighted, if not more, when you learned they had been accepted into medical school.
Medicine is a wonderful and noble profession for any society and today is the start of an exciting journey for our students who aspire to become future doctors. I dare say today is the first day in the rest of your life.
The White Coat Ceremony represents a rite of passage here at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. The white coat symbolises clinical service and patient care, two fundamentals of your coming profession. By accepting a white coat, you are making a commitment to transform yourself into a medical professional with integrity – a professional who patients can trust and rely on, no matter what their ailment.
You are entering a world in which you will learn to exercise your head as well as your heart. By combining your knowledge and skills with compassion and empathy, you will practise medicine to improve people’s lives and contribute to the good of humanity. Remember what I said, not only the head, but also the heart.
Innovative and modern curriculum
Today is also a special day for me. I came here 11 years ago to Singapore, becoming the Provost, and I was deeply involved in the setting up of the medical school during that time. So I am really proud today, seeing the fifth cohort of medical students, because now we have Year 1 to Year 5, we have the full cohort of the medical students. Next year, we will have their first graduation.
Next year, as I said, 2018, LKCMedicine will provide facts on the ground. LKCMedicine’s newly graduated students will enter into the Singapore health system, I’m sure it is going to be a success story.
We have created a world-class programme that will equip you to be the best doctor you aim to be. In five years’ time, you will be among a special group of graduates who hold a medical degree jointly awarded by NTU and Imperial College London.
By combining the strengths of both NTU and Imperial, we have created an innovative and modern curriculum that gives you a firm foundation in the basic medical sciences and clinical experience. These are the things that have to be combined. We have also placed strong emphasis on showcasing the latest advances in medical research, and how they can be used to improve patient care and be an inspiration to you, to all the boundaries of medical knowledge as well.
I assure you and your parents that your education will be shaped by some of the world’s leading experts in the field of medicine and medical education. Our faculty comprises a dedicated team of clinicians and scientists who are among the leaders in their fields, enjoy working with young minds, and believe in their students’ potential.
Latest teaching and research facilities
You have also joined us at an opportune time. Our dual campus in Jurong and Novena is now complete with the Clinical Sciences Building in Novena becoming fully operational with 20 floors of the latest state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. In line with our aim to redefine medicine and transform healthcare, we have installed the best and adopted innovative teaching tools and practices from around the world.
For example, you will soon be having lessons at the new 250-seat Learning Studio or the cutting-edge Anatomy Learning Centre, which are designed for team-based collaborative learning. After all, we all know that medicine is about great teamwork. Healthcare is more effective today because of the combined efforts of clinicians from multiple disciplines working together, supported by technology and lab specialists. So your learning and training will also simulate a team approach to patient care. Your learning relates to reality, I would say.
At the Centre for Clinical Simulation that spans two levels of purpose-built versatile learning spaces, you will undergo a variety of simulated clinical environments – anything from a consultation room, to 4-bed wards and even an ICU. This will allow you to practise your clinical skills as well as patient communication in diverse scenarios and realistic settings.
The Clinical Sciences Building in Novena complements the new-generation smart classrooms we already have at the Experimental Medicine Building here at the main campus.
These smart classrooms are fully equipped with flexible clustered seating, multiple LED screens and wireless communication tools, all geared towards collaborative learning and student interactions, the hallmarks of an NTU education. This is not the conventional classroom you have experienced in the past.
The role of medicine is changing. Medical education is changing. Singapore is facing an ageing population with changing lifestyles and increasing life expectancies. Chronic and degenerative diseases and long-term medical conditions will become more prevalent. This is more than a prediction, I would say.
This is why the School is determined to nurture future doctors who are well grounded in science, patient-centric in approach and multidisciplinary in practice. We want to train you to become the type of doctors that you and I would like to have caring for us.
So as you put on your white coat afterwards, think about the responsibility to your patients — to earn their trust and to give them your best skills and most importantly, your compassion. Remember, the brain and the heart together. The days ahead will be challenging, but rewarding. I wish you all the very best on your journey of discovery.
Since this is a week after National Day, I thought I would practise my Malay. Majulah LKCMedicine, Majulah Singapore!