Hands-on activities and talks by industry professionals provide insights into various health science disciplines at IMU’s Student Exploratory Workshop
9 December 2015 – A finger prick was all it took for Chai Sook Kee, an 18-year-old STPM student of SMK Cochrane to ascertain her blood type with the ABO blood group analysis. “I thought it would hurt but it was just like an ant bite! Not only did I find out my blood type, I also discovered how blood stains can be detected at crime scenes, just like what we see in the CSI shows on TV.” For Chai Sook Kee and 70 other secondary students aged between 15 – 17 years old from various schools around Malaysia, it was an eye-opening two days at the Student Exploratory Workshop organised by IMU in terms of career options and opportunities in the field of medicine and health sciences.
“This is the second Student Exploratory Workshop I’ve attended as I have joined one last year. I love all the experiments and I never knew that I could learn more than I did in school. I want to be a pharmacist and IMU is my dream university,” said Sook Kee
Due to the low uptake of science subjects among secondary school students, the Ministry of Higher Education in 2014 embarked on initiatives to promote interest in science among school students following the revelation that only 37% of students enrolled in local secondary schools were in the science stream. Meanwhile, it was also reported that only 29 out of 10,000 people in the workforce were Research Scientists and Engineers (RSE). This reflects poorly on Malaysia’s global competitiveness ranking – a truly inconvenient truth for a country that aspires to be a fully developed nation very soon. Heeding the government’s call to reach its target of 60% percent take-up of science subjects in secondary schools, IMU’s unique initiative targeted students in Form 3 and beyond and featured hands-on activities and talks by industry professionals. Contrary to popular belief, the field of health sciences encompasses a broad range of disciplines which students were exposed to at the workshop, including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, pharmaceutical chemistry, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, biomedical science, medical biotechnology, psychology, chiropractic and Chinese medicine.
Said Dr Mei Ling Young, Provost, from IMU, “This workshop is a great opportunity for school students to learn about healthcare education through stimulating and interesting hands-on activities, while also experiencing student life at IMU. We hope that science and the field of health sciences will start appealing to young children, as the world will always need professionals in these fields to keep it going.”
“It was such an interesting experience for my brother and I,” said Nicole Sarah Appukuttan, 15 years old, from REAL International School. “I found out about the Student Exploratory Workshop from a family friend. My brother and I have always wanted to be in the medical field but we were not sure where to go or what to do. The Student Exploratory Workshop by IMU gave us a clearer picture what medical and health sciences are all about. We like the slime ball experiment. It was such a cool experiment and we can do it again at home just by using natural ingredients that we could find in our mother’s kitchen.”
The workshop facilitators, comprising IMU lecturers and faculty members, guided the students on the activities located at the various facilities such as the Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, Dental Skills Centre, Medical Museum, Research Lab and Multidisciplinary Lab. Among the interesting topics that were explored included detecting blood stains at a crime scene and blood typing identification; the basic ‘tuina’ manipulation to relieve shoulder and neck stress; as well as the concept of allergy and various agents that may trigger allergic responses. Students were also exposed to an array of exciting nursing skills practice and had the opportunity to interact with nursing students, lecturers and tutors.
IMU also provided a unique opportunity for secondary school students to experience a day in the life of a medical student, through the Intro to Clinical Skills (Pre-med workshop) on 10 December. At this one-day workshop, students gained fascinating insights into the world of medicine, including hands-on activities and training in antenatal examination, basics of CPR, blood pressure measurement, proper handwashing technique, intramuscular injection, and more.