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    An Immersive Education: Learning at a Hospital

    EdFutures News

    20 Jul, 2023

    18 : 55

    • Time: 27 June, 8:30 a.m. 

      Venue: A hospital in Shanghai

    • On her desk, Anna had intake notes about a 16-year-old female patient from Shanghai who had been grappling with fatigue; leg and face edema; and oliguria.


      Anna and her team examined the initial test reports and studied the patient's medical background, including her drug allergies and vaccination history. After four days of analysis and discussion, Anna and her team reached a conclusion about the diagnosis: the patient was likely suffering from acute glomerulonephritis.


    • Consultation record by students

      Consultation record by students

    Think like a doctor

    • Anna is a secondary student at YCIS Shanghai, not a doctor. She had an opportunity to learn about the medical profession through her participation in the YCYW-Jiahui International Hospital Medical Scholars Programme. This experience provided Anna and her team members with a fictionalised "case" to analyse. Dr Christopher Hurley the programme's supervisor and YCYW's Director of Educational Innovation and Alliances, created the case to nurture the students' inquisitive nature and to teach them about the intricacies of a simulated medical case.


      From 26-30 June, 14 secondary students from YCIS Shanghai Pudong, Puxi, and YWEIS Lingang campuses gathered each morning at 8:30 a.m. in a conference room at Shanghai Jiahui International Hospital to immerse themselves in the "Medical Problem-Solving Challenge" led by Dr Hurley. 


      After an hour of training, the students dressed in white laboratory coats provided by the hospital and observed various medical, surgical, emergency, and laboratory departments for two hours. Then, after a brief lunch break, the students participated in medical workshops organised by doctors at the hospital. The workshops covered various topics, such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSK), surgical suturing techniques, Chinese traditional medicine, and the use of therapy dogs.


      Anna hopes to attend medical school. After learning about the programme, Anna was determined to join, and she devoted three days to preparing her application. She knew that being able to connect with real doctors and witness their interactions with patients would be an invaluable experience.


      Also among the 14 students was Qiyun, from YWIES Lingang, who shares Anna's aspiration to become a healthcare provider. The Covid-19 pandemic deeply influenced Qiyun. She wants to study pharmacology and hopes to provide better medicine to a broader population. Non-fiction memoirs or medical-themed television dramas triggered the curiosity of some students. Other students had undergone surgery and wanted to learn about the inner workings of a hospital, and not just from the perspective of a patient.


      Obviously, five days are insufficient to understand an industry or determine a career path, but specific experiences or meaningful conversations might inspire students to explore unexpected and exciting trajectories.


      One highlight of the Medical Scholars Programme was a luncheon with Dr Yi Huang from the Department of Mental Health and Psychosomatic Medicine. The students were curious about the mysteries of human dreams and sought a psychological explanation. Anna and her classmate Rebecca asked questions about how to identify signs of deception during psychological counselling. Dr Huang explained that a more accurate judgment could be achieved through brainwave analysis and multi-dimensional observation. She also emphasised the importance of examining the motives behind deception. This discussion helped Anna and Rebecca realise that lying had its own significance and complexities. After the luncheon, Anna and several other students expressed a newfound interest in exploring the field of psychiatry.


    • Dr Hurley leading the "Medical Problem-Solving Challenge" course

    • Anna (left) at group discussion

    • Luncheon with Dr Yi Huang

    Super-Curricular Programmes

    • The primary objective of this programme is to provide students with an immersive experience within an industry environment and to offer opportunities for exchanges with experts. This will help students discover their true interests and enhance their academic skills.


      Top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, MIT, Harvard and Stanford, place great emphasis on the applicants' "super-curricular activities", especially those related to the applicants' academic interests. These activities might include extensive reading, participation in scientific research projects, academic camps, or learning directly from professionals. Such activities play a vital role in developing critical thinking, analytical skills, and the ability to interpret new information from various sources. These skills are crucial for students to navigate university academic life successfully. To achieve such goals, the YCYW Super Curricular Programmes (SCP) was launched in February 2023.


      Launching this programme, Dr Hurley and his colleagues have spearheaded a series of up to sixteen activities for students from various Yew Chung Yew Wah campuses, spanning a wide range of subjects including art, computer engineering, leadership, languages, architecture and the Medical Scholars Programme, working with various experts and external organisations.


      Physicists from CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research), and the University of Notre Dame in the US presented a research-intensive CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) class to participating students in March 2023, with YCYW being the chapter organisation for China in the International Masterclass. This experience provided students a research introduction into the fascinating world of particle physics and their application in quantum computing, nuclear medicine and astrophysics.


      According to Dr Hurley, the benefit of implementing a super-curricula programme within the school lies in the integration supplementary content with the existing curriculum. As a result, students are supported to explore real-world applications and extend their knowledge of their key interests and subjects. By coordinating the expanded content with the school's existing curriculum, the programme serves as a complementary component, offering a cohesive and comprehensive educational experience for students.


      Dr Hurley, who earned a PhD in Nuclear Medicine and has expertise in the fields of AI, engineering, programming, and medical research, has served as the mentor for the YCYW-Jiahui International Hospital partnership in delivering the Medical Scholars Programme in June 2023. During the five-day training programme, he taught students about various aspects of medical problem-solving, from learning how to work with AI and medical professionals, to performing medical laboratory analysis and interpreting laboratory and medical test results, and engaging in collaborative medical research. This intensive training introduced students to medical problem-solving methodologies and allowed them to have more productive and meaningful interactions with doctors during daily departmental sessions and workshops.


      Dr Hurley was impressed by the students' accomplishments and shared his observations on the diagnosis process for of the medical case study that students were challenged to work together to solve. He connected the problem-solving critical thinking, research and collaboration processes taught in schools with practises used in the professional medical world.


      The collaboration among students from different campuses enabled students to come together with more diversity of experience and mindsets to solve problems together. Dr Hurley believes that such experiences have great value for students as they progress to IGCSE, IB or A-level courses. The students can use concrete examples and real-world applications to understand abstract concepts.


      On the last day of the Medical Scholars Programme, Dr Wei Jiang, Chief of Mental Health at Jiahui Hospital, joined the students for a special closing ceremony and listened to their reflections about the past five days. Dr Jiang, who conducted clinical research in the United States in 1989 and later became a tenured professor at Duke University, shared her insights on the future development of medicine, highlighting the gradual blurring and convergence of boundaries between different medical subspecialties. She emphasised that this emerging trend would present challenges across all fields and that obtaining a medical degree is only a starting point in medical education. "Constantly acquiring new knowledge is a natural part of human life," stated Dr Jiang.


      As the students prepared to wrap up their semester, Dr Jiang's message on the importance of lifelong learning, and the transformative five-day experience, provided cherished memories for the students to think about during their summer break.


    • YCYW students attending Radiation Therapy Masterclass

    • Particle Physics Masterclass