Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has unveiled its new medical school building at the heart of Singapore’s medical hub in Novena.
“NTU’s Novena Campus is the academic heart of HealthCity Novena, and the campus creates a symbiosis of education, research and healthcare,” said NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson, the driving force behind Singapore’s youngest medical school.
Towering 20 storeys, the Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) houses state-of-the-art smart classrooms, the latest medical teaching facilities and high-tech research laboratories.
The student learning facilities are designed after authentic clinical environments. For example, the Simulated Ward can be configured into a multiple hospital ward where students can perform basic diagnostics and practise doctor-patient interaction. It can also be transformed into an intensive care unit or an accident and emergency (A&E) ward to simulate everyday hospital scenarios.
At the Practical Skills Lab, students practise various skills from venepuncture (drawing blood) to suturing techniques in hybrid scenarios. Simulated patients who are trained actors are fitted with prosthetic wounds so students get to combine their skills with good communication.
Besides smart classrooms equipped with multiple LED screens, these facilities give students a hands-on approach to learning, preparing them for their careers with realistic training experiences.
Classes at the Clinical Sciences Building started in January this year.
Professor Andersson said, “The new Clinical Sciences Building with first-class medical facilities will carve a unique learning environment built around realistic hospital scenarios. This not only helps transition and integrate students into the medical scene but also nurtures a generation of doctors well-versed in using the latest technologies to solve tomorrow’s healthcare issues.”
Together with the seven-storey Experimental Medicine Building at the NTU main campus, which was opened in August 2015, the Clinical Sciences Building forms the dual campus of NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine).
Students spend time at both campuses besides being attached to hospitals and clinics around Singapore. A dedicated shuttle bus ferries students between the two campuses and the majority of the medical students live on the NTU campus.
Merging the classroom with the clinic
The various facilities in the new Clinical Sciences Building are designed to integrate and transition students into hospital and clinical settings.
The Centre for Clinical Simulation, which runs across two floors, houses a configurable Simulated Ward, a Practical Skills Lab and a Communication Suite. Besides being equipped with oxygen mock-up panels and various equipment, the ward can be configured into various settings such as an intensive care unit or emergency room.
Students get hands-on experience, learning clinical skills from suturing a prosthetic wound worn by a simulated patient to managing scenarios, such as stopping uncontrolled bleeding.
The centre’s Communication Suite has 10 paired consultation rooms, where students hone their doctor-patient interaction skills. Along with simulated patients who are trained to role play and give patient-focused feedback, students learn to develop a deeper understanding of patients’ ailments and concerns.
The Anatomy Learning Centre supports the learning of intricate structures of the human body. Besides using plastinated specimens (preserved human bodies pledged towards medical education), the centre is also equipped with a resource facility that has over 170 bottled specimens from NTU’s partner, Imperial College London.
At the school, students also get to conduct virtual dissections on the Anatomage Table. With the swipe of a finger, the human-size virtual operating table allows students an unprecedented realistic visualisation of full, life-sized body anatomy in 3D.
Dean of LKCMedicine Professor James Best said, “As well as being a welcoming home to the entire LKCMedicine family, the Clinical Sciences Building is a symbol of our ambition to bridge the gulf between pre-clinical research or studies and the clinical world. In the future, the Clinical Sciences Building will physically integrate the School with Novena HealthCity. Situated at the heart of this upcoming medical hub, the School can be a catalyst for clinically significant discoveries and innovations in medical teaching, benefiting patients in years to come.”
Supporting 21st century education
Besides being modelled after clinical environments, the facilities are designed to support NTU’s flipped classroom pedagogy, which does away with the typical lecture-tutorial format.
In this new model of learning, students access course content on their own and the increased face time with professors in class is devoted to team-based learning. With students in small groups, this encourages greater interaction and engagement.
The various smart classrooms, labs, and a circular 250-seat Learning Studio are designed with clustered seating and multiple screens to support this pedagogy. This allows students to view discussion materials regardless of the direction they face.
For example, the Anatomy Learning Centre is equipped with advanced audio-visual systems, which casts images across multiple 80 inch LED screens in real-time. Students grouped in alcoves can effectively study anatomy including clinical imaging such as X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasound scans.
Professor Kam Chan Hin, NTU’s Deputy Provost for Education, said, “To nurture professionals and leaders of tomorrow, we need to design the physical spaces to support the new pedagogies. These emphasise team-based learning and active problem-solving using info-communication technologies. Our new medical school is built to support this pedagogy, moving towards a 21st century education model built for millennials.”
A medical library occupies the top floor, which comes with an unobstructed panoramic view of Singapore’s city skyline. The library is also home to unique collections under themes such as Medical Humanities, Medical Art Prints and Singapore Doctors.
Supporting NTU’s drive towards holistic learning, the medical building has an indoor gym with full shower facilities, dance studio, multipurpose hall and a music room. It also has a meeting room for the school’s Medical Students Society, and a dedicated room for each of the school’s five student Houses.
Deeper immersion into medical research
Students in their fourth year undertake a six-week Scholarly Project module, where they work alongside clinicians and researchers on a variety of research projects. This will help enhance their understanding in a focused area of scholarship and improve their scientific enquiry.
Split into four broad themes, projects span from medical education and basic research to clinical and health services outcomes research are undertaken at LKCMedicine as well as other Schools at NTU and partner hospitals.
The NTU medical school opened in 2013 with an inaugural intake of 54 and currently has 328 students.
Its Novena Campus is a cornerstone of Singapore’s 2030 Novena HealthCity Master plan, with the School forming the heart of the education hub.
About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.