Dr. Philip Rajan (Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh)
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ― William Arthur Ward
When Prof Dr Chin Kin Fah, Director of UMMC's Minimally Invasive Laparo-Endoscopic Surgery (MILES) Training Centre first jostled the idea of running a ‘Silent Mentor’ workshop, in a meeting we had, my first impressions were that this was some form of ‘mentor-mentee’ program. I presumed the supervisors had minimal or no direct contact with trainees but rather some form of background or indirect supervision or support. As we progressed further into the conversation, it dawned to me that we were discussing about a cadaveric dissection workshop. Having conducted cadaveric dissection workshops before, I wondered whether coining the term ‘Silent Mentor’ made this workshop any different.
The Silent Mentor Programme, was first announced by University of Malaya in 2012, based on the Taiwanese Tzu Chi University's programme, is a whole body donation programme where members of the public may pledge their bodies to be used for medical training and research after their death.
As Prof Chin explained, one of the key differences between the ‘Silent Mentor’ programme and conventional cadaveric dissection workshops is that of ‘consent’: the ‘Silent Mentor’ or ‘donors’ have fully consented for their bodies to be used for dissection or training. This mirrors consent taking before any procedure in medical/surgical practice and helps build a foundation of ethical practice among medical students and surgical trainees. The Silent Mentor programme is not just a professional training workshop but rather it is an elaborate process. It is a complex interaction between the donors, their families, the MILES staff, medical students, workshop participants and involves a series of steps which includes home visits, initiation ceremonies, gratitude ceremonies and finally a funeral service.
‘The Silent Mentor workshop has a totally different atmosphere compared to other cadaveric dissection workshops I have attended’, quotes Dr Gagandeep Singh, participant of the workshop. While the technical aspects of training are similar to other dissection workshops, the key difference is the ‘humanistic’ elements which provide the opportunity to develop ethical, respectful and caring doctors.
Ms Ooi Lay Khuan (Inti International University)
This is an experiential learning for our TCM students . The take home value may differ according to respective person’s background, but one thing for sure is, ‘the learning points will be crafted in them for life’ !
From the home visit to the Gratitude and Sending off ceremony, the Silent mentor and her family members have become someone we knew --- our Teacher, our friends. Because of this, the students learnt to respect, to care, to appreciate. Knowing how helpless the ‘Teacher’ went through when she was sick, remind us how important for a doctor to be competent, to be compassionate, to be able to empathize, to put patient before us.
The selfless spirit of the Silent Mentor; the message from the silent mentor; the support that given by the family members, is truly felt by all. This is an awesome experiential learning of humanity and humility, students ‘felt’ it for themselves their duty as a doctor, and the purpose of being a doctor ---- is to treat the ‘patient’. We will remind ourselves, each patient’s feeling is important, each patient’s pain is real.
The opportunity of observing real anatomy structure adds value to the knowledge of TCM students. Students have better grasp of critical areas’ anatomy structure which will enhance their confidence when performing treatment of these areas and reduce the risk of negligence.
We are very grateful and thankful to all who make this happen. To the Silent Mentor, although you say nothing, what you have delivered worth a thousand words, the lesson learned will benefit many people in time to come. To the family members, we respect your generosity. To members of M.I.L.E.S. Training Centre, we are grateful to you for creating the opportunity, nothing could have happened if no one takes the first step.
Thank you. 感恩。
Dr. Wan Zainira Bt Wan Zain (Universiti Sains Malaysia)
I would like to deliver my greatest gratitude to Prof Chin Kin Fah and faculty members of “Silent Mentor” Program for inviting me to join the teaching sessions. It was truly a great honor for me and I treasured it as a great teaching experience.
Silent Mentor Program opens a new dimension of learning for young doctors, not only they gain clinical skills in surgical field but more importantly I believe they would grow into more compassionate and responsible doctors in future.
During the program lecturers and students; both parties showed full commitments and everything run in a very professional way. For that, again I congratulate Prof Chin and his team.
At the end of the day, I think everybody leaves the program sharing the same, one sentence: Thank you very much, Silent Mentors.
Dr. Zaidi Bin Zakaria (Universiti Sains Malaysia)
I would like to congratulate Prof Chin Kin Fah and his Silent Mentor staff by making this pre-congress workshop (Silent Mentor) successful. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute as faculty member for Silent Mentor pre-congress workshop.
Previously, we only have chance to learn in dry lab, videos or hands on workshop with the risk of complications but now, after the contribution from the society for the Silent Mentor Program, it is definitely going to make our doctors become better persons and surgeons.
From the program, there were opportunities for the medical students and junior doctors to learn and master their skills in open and laparoscopic surgery. In future, I like to see Robotic surgery as a part of this program. This program was excellent and really beneficial for every level of training.
I like the idea to expand this Silent Mentor Program all over the country for creating better doctors and surgeons in near future.
Thank you again for the invitation.