Dr Lavisha Punjabi (SingHealth Pathology Resident) discovered her passion for healthcare education when she founded a series of peer-to-peer teaching sessions with a group of like-minded colleagues during the pandemic. Despite the challenges she has faced, Dr Lavisha shares what keeps her going in this role and how she stays relevant in healthcare education.
I started my Residency training at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a steep learning curve to overcome in Anatomical Pathology. Together with a small group of like-minded colleagues, I organised peer-to-peer teaching sessions for us to collectively progress across learning milestones. The idea started as a corridor conversation with a Senior Resident who shared how the Junior Residents back then would enthusiastically get together at a multi-headed microscope to share cases and learn from each other; and to which I thought, what a fun way to learn!
Our peer-teaching sessions began at a scheduled time at the end of each week, where first year Residents and medical officers (MO) would voluntarily share their cases with each other. This included classic, challenging and even rare cases that had landed at our desks over the course of the week. These sessions became a safe space for us to ask questions and recognise our deficits in knowledge, allowing us to learn along the way, especially from being in the hot seat as the “teacher”.
Over time, we expanded the format of the sessions and invited Residency Faculty and experienced Residents as guest speakers, with a steady emphasis on pitching these sessions at the beginner level, which are complementary to the formal beginner tutorials organised by the Residency programme. Recently, we have also invited medical students who are interested in Pathology to join our sessions over Zoom.
We faced multiple challenges along the way as a result of social distancing regulations and changes in group members (in view of the MOPEX and Resident rotation cycles), but teamwork has been integral to sustaining our sessions. I am humbled by the number of people who have come forward to help out, in one way or another. I am also grateful for the support I received from the Residency Faculty in allowing me to pursue this endeavour on the side lines of formal training.
The field of Anatomical Pathology is rapidly progressing on so many fronts, including molecular diagnostics and therapeutics, digital pathology and artificial intelligence. As a predominantly visual subject, Anatomical Pathology is incredibly versatile to digitisation.
During this pandemic, the use of digital technology has gained significant traction in medical education as well as in the clinical and scholarly realms. In our department, tele-education has been embraced across the board, allowing learning and teaching to continue in a manner that is aligned to social distancing precautions. Thus, when I came across the opportunity to apply for the Fellowship in Digital Communications in Pathology (#DCFPath), I jumped on it!
At the heart of it, I am excited to engage in this dynamic conversation with the Faculty and my peers. Through this fellowship programme, I hope that I will be able to gain valuable experience and skills to contribute back to my Residency programme and department.
I will always fondly remember the words of one of my peers, who was attached to our department previously. She shared that the peer-teaching sessions were one of her most memorable experiences of the posting, and that made me realise that the sessions were indeed beneficial.
Postcards. Anyone who knows me well would know that I love sending and receiving postcards. Postcards are wonderful because they carry a little bit of who and where they come from (and can be a lovely surprise to receive at the end of a long day). Likewise, my teaching philosophy is centred on constructivism and eclecticism. I believe that learning transcends the classroom, as we actively construct ideas and knowledge from many different sources.
I believe that all of us are involved in education, in one way or another, and it is important to share teaching ideas, tips and resources with each other. With the demands of Residency training that we need to fulfil, supporting each other goes a long way. After all, the initiatives that you choose to spearhead may serendipitously evolve from a corridor conversation – just as it did for me. We are also blessed with talented and inspiring educators in SingHealth, whom we have a lot to learn from. Stand on the shoulders of giants, they say!
*This article is contributed by the SingHealth Residents' Committee (RC) and copyedited by SingHealth Education Communications.
Subcribe to our mailing list to get the updates to your email inbox...