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Training Biomedical and Biotechnology Preceptors

03 Oct 2017

‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.’ – William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)

Not all teachers work in the classroom. As educationists increasingly advocate ‘experiential learning’, the role of preceptors, or on-site supervisors, becomes more essential in moulding competent graduates. For this very reason, the Applied Biomedical Science and Biotechnology Department organised their first Preceptorship Workshop on 10 July 2017. This workshop was aimed at training preceptors and supervisors for IMU Biomedical Science and Medical Biotechnology students, who undertake their practical attachment in their final year. We welcomed twenty enthusiastic participants from various institutions: Pantai Premier Pathology, the National Heart Institute (IJN), BP Healthcare, Thermo Fisher Scientific Sdn Bhd, and Cryocord Sdn Bhd, to name a few. Prof Chin Beek Yoke, Associate Dean of the School of Health Sciences, broke the ice via her welcome speech. Then, the participants were engaged in a fun Kahoot! game facilitated by Dr Valsala Ramachandran. Prof Chin stayed on to deliver a stimulating talk on the ‘Role of the Preceptor and Professionalism’, which emphasised on the characteristics of an effective preceptor and highlighted the challenges preceptors face. This was promptly followed by Prof Vishna’s lively presentation on ‘Communicating with Millennials and Giving Effective Feedback’, as well as an ‘Introduction to the IMU Competency-Based Curriculum’. Prof Vishna, as the IMU Dean of Learning and Teaching, shared nuggets of wisdom on managing the expectations of Generation Z youth vs that of the trainers.

The morning talks gave way to a campus tour, whereby participants were introduced to various facilities at the IMU, including the teaching laboratories and medical museum. In the afternoon, an interactive workshop ensued. Participants shared their thoughts on various case studies and learned strategies to overcome similar challenges they face while training interns. They also found it helpful to deliberate on the assessment methods and learning outcomes expected of the trainees.

A live-steam webinar by Wendy Leversuch (Head of Scientific Training in Health Services Laboratories, London) proceeded without a glitch, thanks to the careful planning and support by the E-Learning team. Working in collaboration with IBMS, Wendy shared the experience of training biomedical science preceptors in the UK. She had also been a panel reviewer for the IBMS accreditation visit in October 2016, after which the IMU Biomedical Science programme had received a full 5-year accreditation.

After an eventful day, the participants were eager to return to their posts and share the knowledge gained with their peers. Both facilitators and participants vowed to strengthen their affiliation and be active partners in providing a holistic internship experience for the students.

Prepared by Dr Lim Chooi Ling, Chairperson, 1st ABSB Preceptorship Workshop

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