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How a Health Professions Education Programme Contributed to my Career Advancement

12 Mar 2019

If you’re an undergraduate planning to stay in university or a professional contemplating a return to higher education, you need to choose a course that will provide you a stepping stone to an advanced position after graduation. If you choose wisely, postgraduate studies can be a rewarding pathway to enhance your competencies and to help maximise your career potential. Health Professionals Education is a field in which clinicians, health professions educators and administrators achieve mastery in designing and delivery of effective educational programmes that will result in high quality health services.


At IMU, the Postgraduate Programmes in Health Professions Education aims to graduate practitioners with an in-depth knowledge of educational principles, demonstrating values related to contemporary learning environments and practising internationally benchmarked assessment processes in order to produce leaders and scholars in health professions education. The educational objectives of this programme is to ensure that the graduates will have the opportunities to design and solve educational challenges at their own institution and achieve recognition of their initiatives at the national and regional levels. This programme is not only for healthcare professionals and educators but can be of value to educational managers or administrators who are involved in the many processes of providing better educational programmes at their institution.


Prof Vishna IMU’s Pro Vice Chancellor of Education, Prof Vishna Devi Nadarajah, embarked on such a journey nearly 10 years. She reflected on her competencies as both educator and researcher, coupled with her increasing involvement in educational management at IMU. She realised she needed to acquire a different set of knowledge and skills to adapt to the new roles given to her. The answer came in the form of a Masters in Health Professions Education (MHPE), she quips, the MHPE programme is like the MBA for teachers in a medical school. It has modules from learning theories to educational leadership and continuous quality enhancement. After completing her Masters, she could see the positive impact it has made to her personally as a scholar but also to IMU as an institution to have educational experts recognised internationally.

She recalls, how 10 years ago there were no MHPE courses in Malaysia, and how she and a few other national and regional counterparts had to do it part time overseas. It’s really fortunate that IMU is now offering this course making it accessible regionally, and that too with international faculty who are expert educationists from both our partner schools and visiting professors. The principle of benchmarking to international standards used in our undergraduate programmes is very much applied for our HPE courses too.

Dr Pulikkotil Shaju Jacob, a lecturer from IMU School of Dentistry shared that the programme was designed to ensure that learning processes are closely related to the learners’ experience as a clinician, educator, manager or administrator. As a graduate of this programme, he found that the learning experiences are rewarding in both career development and teaching scholarship.

Dr Pulikkotil Shaju Jacob,  IMU School of Dentistry Lecturer
Dr Pulikkotil Shaju, IMU Lecturer “I am passionate about learning and understanding how students learn. This passion was further fuelled by IMU’s vision of becoming the best healthcare educator in Asia. IMU provided me with plenty of learning opportunities which I grabbed to update myself in newer learning methods and techniques. Each opportunity has led to other chances until I enrolled in Postgraduate Certificate of Health Professions Education course. This was a very comprehensive course. This course has been designed for the working teacher who could use the experiences and opportunities available to learn. All assignments were constructed so it can relate to the on-the-job experiences. The knowledge and skills gained from this course groomed me with a new set of competencies and had landed me the most important role; a programme director for Bachelor of Dental Surgery in the School of Dentistry. I am now thrilled as I can apply both knowledge and skills learned from the course and my previous experiences as an educator to conduct the programme effectively. I am now looking forward to enrol in Postgraduate Diploma level to learn more about health professions education.”

In addition, this programme is also valuable to fresh graduates who have interest in education and waiting for their internship placement. They will further widen their choice of career. Furthermore, knowledge and skills gained from the course will help them to make informed decision at a later stage of their career as health professionals. Siti Suriani, IMU;s Programme Director “Since young, I have a strong interest in both human sciences and education. After I completed my bachelor degree in health sciences, I was left with a few choices of what to do for my career, and I chose to contribute to the society by becoming a teacher. During this period, my passion in teaching younger generation developed and I realised that this is something I wanted to do. In order to achieve my target, I decided to further my study in education. I graduated with Master in Medical Education from a local public university. Reflecting to my experience, I now realised that the choices I made a few years back has changed my career pathway tremendously. This degree had given me a better and brighter opportunity as I am now a programme director at International Medical University. However, my journey will not stop here as I am sure the scope of health professions education is wide and can be further explored. I am planning to further my study by doing PhD in Health Professions Education” –Siti Suriani Abd Razak, Programme Director, PGDHPE In fact, recent graduates of IMU Postgraduates Degrees in Health Professions Education stated that by joining this programme, they are now having better perspectives and understanding of educational processes. Therefore, they will ensure current practice of educational processes in their programme will conform to the best practice.

Dr Kok Yih Yih- PGDHPE Graduate
“The PGHPE programme has helped me to be a better teacher. After completing the PGDHPE, I am able to comprehend the theories behind teaching and learning, that can be translated into better understanding of the aspects of education. In addition, it has also given me confidence in conducting educational related research which is different from pure science studies”

Postgraduate degrees in Health Professions Education in IMU is offered as a mixed-mode including both course work and research training, yielding a dissertation at the end of the master programme. It is possible to pursue the programme in both full-time and part-time mode. The flexibility of the training is rendered by the weekend on campus classes as well as online learning, which helps working adults to have a comfortable journey through the course without interfering with their regular professional work.

The postgraduate certificate and diploma programmes are Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) accredited Level 7 while the Masters is provisionally accredited and is in the process of full accreditation. Being a 6* University under the SETARA rating in Malaysia for outstanding achievements, the programmes are periodically reviewed and restructured, keeping in line with the global standard and need of the hour.

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