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A career in healthcare is not a walk in the park. It is a challenging and thankless one that calls for dedication, perseverance, and compassion.
Despite all this, there are those who believe in being a force of change and creating positive change in the lives of others.
In this article, we feature three of our healthcare scholars who were featured in our
Force of Change brand video.
Sheryln is our Healthcare Merit Award Scholar and currently pursing radiography at SIT
For Sherlyn, the decision to pursue a career in healthcare stems from her love of science. This fascination with science and technology led her to opt for a degree in
Diagnostic Radiography at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), where she is currently studying.
"I've always had a keen interest in science, so I naturally wanted to pursue a career related to it. But at the same time, I'm also a very social person who enjoys interacting with people," she says.
As a third year student at SIT, Sherlyn has completed a few clinical attachments. Some of the attachments had led to meaningful and exciting patient encounters.
"During my attachment at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), I assisted with a Computed Tomography (CT) scan. On that particular day, we had a patient who came in feeling anxious and confused. While he was perfectly fine with us in the room, he would start to panic when we left him alone. This made it difficult for us to get a decent CT scan for the brain."
For context, a CT scan is a medical imaging technique used to obtain detailed images of the many structures inside the body, including internal organs, blood vessels and bones. The procedure is painless, but patients must remain very still.
Additionally, a CT scan can trigger claustrophobia in some patients, which may have been why the patient Sherlyn encountered had trouble keeping still.
"Looking back, I could understand why the patient felt so uncomfortable, and I knew it wasn't his fault. At that time, I felt terrible knowing that I could do nothing to help him feel better. The radiographer on duty was nice as he would reassure the patient and get him to cooperate."
This allowed them to successfully complete the procedure with the right level of detail. It was during this particular encounter that Sherlyn came to realise the importance of empathy and understanding one's patients.
"Diagnostic Radiographers need to balance getting a good image and keeping a patient comfortable. Some patients have trouble staying in a certain position due to their injuries, which I try to always keep in mind despite wanting to get an ideal X-ray."
"This means that the job can be quite demanding from a mental and physical standpoint. But I take pride in doing my best as I know that I'm helping patients get better, and finding answers within uncertainties."
Harishan is our Healthcare Merit Award Scholar and currently pursing physiotherapy at SIT
"Reality first hit me when I was assigned to help a patient who was paralysed from the waist down due to a spinal cord injury. Helping the patient through various exercises, I realised how much of an effect physiotherapists have on a person's daily life."
"This was someone who counted on me to help them regain some semblance of normality and this strengthened my resolve to give my all. Because I knew that I was bringing about positive change in that patient's life"
As an aspiring physiotherapist, Harishan is learning how to help patients regain their independence by restoring movement and function in areas that have been affected by injury or illness.
Like many before him, he found himself somewhat lost when it came time to choose a career. While he didn't know what he wanted to do, he knew what wouldn't work.
In his words, "I was never keen on being bound to a desk. I enjoy moving around and working with my hands. Because of this, I wanted to do something fulfilling and with a bit of variety. My mom, a nurse, inspired me to consider a career in the healthcare sector, so I decided to give it a try."
Harishan's research would then lead him to pursue a
Bachelor of Science with Honours in Physiotherapy at SIT. This would prove to be the right decision for Harishan, who immediately clicked with the programme.
Additionally, his practical training allowed him to accompany patients throughout their recovery journey. But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for Harishan.
"Setbacks and challenges are a normal part of physiotherapy. As you can see in the video, patients can sometimes get frustrated. But I take it all in my stride and work to encourage them to keep pushing themselves. I remind them and also myself to stay resilient when the going gets tough."
Being an avid sportsman, Harishan enjoys sweating it out on short runs or pushing himself during training with his dragon boat team. For him, the tranquillity at his local park and the camaraderie of his dragon boat team is the perfect antidote after a long day.
Besides helping patients in the therapy sessions, Harishan also has to overcome challenges like differences in language.
"I actually see language barriers positively as this gives me an opportunity to try and improve my capabilities as a physiotherapist. At present, I'm picking up a few phrases in Mandarin to help me communicate better in the future."
From Harishan's perspective, witnessing the full cycle in which patients improve over time is one of the most rewarding aspects of physiotherapy. It is proof that he's creating positive change in the lives of his patients and putting them on the road to recovery.
Melliana is our Community Nursing Scholar and currently pursing nursing at NUS
Seeing a loved one weak and bedridden can break anyone's heart. And Melliana had to deal with visiting both her beloved grandparents in and out of the hospital.
Her grandfather had to be hospitalised after he had suffered a stroke when Melliana was in secondary school. The stroke affected his mobility and balance which led to him falling a few times.
Plus, during her days in JC, Melliana's grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a mastectomy to treat it.
On both occasions, Melliana found herself discouraged by what had happened, but she remained strong. During those visits to the hospital, Melliana was comforted by the friendly and compassionate nurses on duty.
She was also impressed by their ability to stay cool and handle multiple tasks in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment while still having a smile on their faces.
"Having a close relationship with my grandparents is probably one of the main reasons I decided to become a nurse. When they (grandparents) were admitted to the hospital, I couldn't help but admire the dedication of the nurses on duty. In particular, I was impressed by their patience in attending to the patients' requests even when they were busy with other tasks."
"I believe that these were the moments that piqued my interest in nursing. And years later, during JC, when my grandmother was receiving hormone therapy, I couldn't help thinking about how great it would be if I had the medical skills and knowledge to care for her (grandmother)."
After graduating from JC, Melliana would go on to pursue a degree in Nursing at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Through a variety of clinical attachments and her studies, she has come to learn more about the different roles nurses play in healthcare settings. With time, Melliana has found herself drawn to the human aspect of nursing.
"During my first clinical attachment, I didn't have the skills and knowledge needed to work directly with patients. So I made the most of my time by speaking to patients and trying to learn more about them. During that time, I remember worrying whether my patients would have the skills or capabilities to care for themselves post-discharge."
"This piqued my interest in community nursing as I want to help patients continue their recovery even when they've left the hospital. I want to continue forming a close bond with them and make sure that they can stay healthy."
With her empathetic nature, it's easy to see why Melliana was drawn to community nursing. This passion coupled with her warm personality has helped her make an impact in her patient's lives.
"One of my most cherished memories involved a patient with dementia. She knew who I was but often mistook me for someone else. One day, she asked me to write my name on a piece of paper so that she could remember who I was. This moved me tremendously, and I remember feeling both proud and happy for her."
When asked about how she copes with the rigours of being a nurse, Melliana shared that self-care and time for oneself is crucial. She finds inner peace and calm by dancing during her free time (you can catch her dancing at 0:26 in the video).
Melliana says, "A career in healthcare is never going to be a bed of roses as it's a job that requires you to always be on your toes. It requires you to be physically and mentally strong at all times. This is why self-care is extremely important and that you need to look after yourself before you can look after others."
Do you want to be like Sherlyn, Harishan and Melliana? You can be a Force of Change too!
MOH Holdings (MOHH) is currently offering scholarships to nurture the next generation of nursing, pharmacy, and allied health professionals. These scholarships are in partnership with public healthcare institutions and allow you to study in local and overseas universities. For more details on the health science disciplines offered, check out