Allied health professionals are experts in their field of practice and are an integral part of our healthcare system. They play a vital role in the care of our patients; working alongside our doctors and nurses to provide the best of care for our patients.
In celebration of the 10th SingHealth Allied Health Day, we spoke to four of our allied health colleagues to find out what they do and why they joined the profession. You would have spotted their faces on the lift posters!
Featuring our NHCS Allied Health stars (L-R): Chen Hebin, Principal Physiotherapist, Jael Tay, Principal Clinical Coordinator, Loh Peh Rong, Cardiac Technologist and Tan Yee Jean, Senior Perfusionist.
What is your job about?
Hebin: As a Physiotherapist, I help patients regain strength and mobility to achieve their highest level of function. My main work is at the intensive care unit (ICU), where I guide post-cardiac surgery patients on breathing exercises, and how to move in and out of bed.
Jael: I help evaluate the suitability of both patient and donor for heart transplant and coordinate the procedures leading up to and after the surgery. Part of my day-to-day work as a Clinical Coordinator includes providing post-transplant counselling to patients and their next-of-kin, and helping with the wound dressings for patients on left ventricular assist devices (LVADs).
Peh Rong: As a Cardiac Technologist, I work in both the Cardiac Catheterisation (Cath) and Echocardiography (Echo) Laboratories. At the Echo Lab, I perform ultrasound scans of the heart for diagnosis of heart diseases. At the Cath Lab, I assist the cardiologists in monitoring patient’s ECG rhythm and blood pressure during interventional procedures such as coronary angiogram, angioplasty and other structural interventions including TAVI, Mitraclip, left atrial appendage, atrial and ventricular septal device closures.
Yee Jean: My role as a Perfusionist is to operate the heart-lung machine during cardiac and other surgeries that require cardiopulmonary bypass, and regulate the patient’s blood flow. My responsibility also extends beyond the operating room to tend to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines for patients who are on cardio and respiratory support.
What motivated you to join the profession?
Hebin: Since young, I have always wanted to make a difference to the lives of others. This year marks my 10th year in NHCS, and I still feel driven to help my patients improve the quality of their lives through guiding them on how best to manage their own health.
Jael: I love how my job provides holistic care for the patients. It has allowed me to follow through my patients’ entire journey to see to their well-being and build a meaningful relationship with them. This is what kept me going for 11 years!
Peh Rong: My interest in healthcare began when I was 16, when my father was struck with his first heart attack - the same condition which took my grandfather’s life. I was utterly distraught. During his time in the hospital, I had first-hand experience helping to look after him and that inspired me to pursue a career in the cardiovascular arena.
Yee Jean: When I graduated in 2010, I wanted to look for a job that could serve and touch lives but I was not sure of what I want to do. Then I chanced upon a job opening for a Perfusionist under the SingHealth Career website, and the job description caught my attention to find out more. It got me more interested after some research on the role. I applied for the job and have never looked back since.
What were your best and worst career moments?
Hebin: My best moment was being involved and playing a leading role in rollout of early mobility interventions after surgery. But the worst was seeing patients’ conditions do not improve despite all that we have done in the ICU. Moments like these are challenging. I always take the time to reflect on what we can do better.
Jael: The best moments are seeing my end-stage heart failure patients achieve an improved quality of life after their LVAD implant or heart transplant. However, we (the team) feel so helpless when a patient passes on despite doing our best for the patient.
Peh Rong: While staying on top of job demands is the biggest challenge, I am proud to be in a team that works incredibly hard to provide quality patient care and diagnostic service. When gets me really down are moments when the patients I know or have been following up, suffer negative outcomes.
Yee Jean: In my first year as a Perfusionist, on a particular night that I was on-call duty, I was activated to return to the lab for ECMO. Upon reaching the lab, I witnessed the anxiety faces of patient’s family who were waiting outside the lab. It was that moment that spurred me to do my utmost to save lives. The road to recovery may not be easy and can be long drawn for many heart failure patients, but the joy of seeing them recovering and returning home to their loved ones, is priceless.
Is there any mantra/ motto that you believe in?
Hebin: 'We always have a choice – do it or don’t.’
Jael: 'Whatever I do – work at it with all my heart as though I’m working for the Lord.’
Peh Rong: ‘Never forget the passion you have when you first joined healthcare. Always believe that you can make a difference in someone’s life.’
Yee Jean: ‘Stay passionate about what you do and do your best.’
Indeed, our Allied Health colleagues are a passionate and talented bunch. During this pandemic, they have been pivotal in ensuring continued care for our patients as well.
THANK YOU for all that you do! Happy Allied Health Day!
Read more about our Winning Team here.