“I know firsthand how miserable it is to be unable to see your family for a long, long time. I usually go back to Malaysia a few times a year to visit my family but with the pandemic travel restrictions, I could not,” says Dr Jeffrey Fong, a consultant at Diagnostic Radiology. “A lot of our housekeeping staff are also from overseas so I empathise with their longing to be with loved ones.”
It is this deep seated empathy for his housekeeping colleagues that drove Dr Jeffrey to rally his RadScience doctors to raise funds to give an ang pow to each of their 30 housekeeping colleagues during Chinese New Year in 2020. “It is also our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to them for disinfecting our department so that we do not catch COVID-19.”
Dr Jeffrey leads the RADSC Office of Staff Experience (ROSE), under the SGH Division of Radiological Sciences. In the pre-pandemic years, there was a welfare committee in Diagnostic Radiology. When the Division of Radiological Sciences was formed, the welfare committee was renamed 'ROSE'.
Like many others throughout SGH, our RadScience colleagues have been working over extended public holidays or nights these past two years. With no end in sight to the pandemic, morale is at an all-time low. “When I was nominated to lead ROSE, I agreed because I want to reach out to my colleagues and lift their spirits,” explains Dr Jeffrey, recipient of the 2021 SGH Genuine Care Award.
“Dr Jeffrey helped to orchestrate multiple bento meals and treats to keep morale high. We have been happy recipients of many surprises. I especially remember the artisan cookies that came from his very own kitchen!” says Dr Lionel.
Says Dr Lionel Cheng, Senior Consultant, Diagnostic Radiology, who nominated Dr Jeffrey for the Award, “Jeffrey’s efforts have made a significant difference to the morale and culture of our department and division.”
Diagnostic Radiology colleagues gamely dressed up for a virtual fancy dress competition that replaced the department’s D&D cancelled at the height of COVID-19.
Dr Jeffrey organized multiple mini town hall sessions – without supervisors - so that the junior frontline staff could share their thoughts freely with the Division Chair.
Explains Dr Jeffrey, “I was looking out for key things that we could improve and act upon in our department arising from the results of the Employee Engagement Survey. One of the concerns that seemed to occur across all staff categories including nurses, radiographers, Patient Service Associates in our department was that they feel a disconnect with their supervisors.
“When I spoke to the Division Chair about this he was really keen to listen to our colleagues. This gave me an opportunity to organise small meetings for the ground colleagues to have a frank and open discussion to express their concerns and expectations to the Division Chair. We excluded the manager-level colleagues as it can be quite uncomfortable for some to speak openly to their direct supervisors.”
Yet Dr Jeffrey takes a humble view of his contributions. “Being just a cog in the wheel, I am not able to improve or fix everything. But there are some things that are still within my control, which I can try to make better. The least I can do is to raise awareness and give suggestions on how we can improve the experience of colleagues in my department.”
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