Equipping Future-Ready Allied Health Professionals
Industry-centric curriculum and programmes at the Singapore Institute of Technology empower its students with the skills, know-how, and mindset to smoothly transit into the working world, as Eunice Shannon Teh would attest to.
The saying goes: “Knowledge is power.” However, how the knowledge is applied is crucial. Perhaps it could be more aptly phrased as: “True power lies in the appropriate application of knowledge.”
Applied learning is what sets the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) apart from the rest. As Singapore’s University of Applied Learning, SIT offers programmes that are industry-focused, with a pedagogy that integrates work and study. This is exemplified in the university’s signature Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), where students are immersed in a real work environment for up to 12 months, where they are able to hone essential skills for them to be industry-ready.
SIT’s curriculum is intentionally designed to prepare students like Eunice Shannon Teh for the working world. Currently a final-year Diagnostic Radiography student, she will be transiting seamlessly to her full-time employment at Changi General Hospital upon graduation.
Making the Right Switch
Before she joined the programme, Eunice took a while to consider switching to Diagnostic Radiography after earning a Diploma in Pharmacy Science from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. She wanted a discipline that allowed her to work in a team, and one that is relatively more involved with patients. But it was still a jump from Pharmacy Science, so, naturally, she was concerned about whether it was the right decision.
Her consideration crystallised into conviction after she attended the SIT Open House, where she gleaned some useful insights from students and lecturers about the field of Diagnostic Radiography. Strategically assessing her options, Eunice believed that SIT would provide a suitable pathway for her, giving her the education that she wanted, as well as the career prospects that she aspired towards.
“As someone who learns best through hands-on practice, the curriculum offered by SIT appealed to me, as it lets us put the theories taught in the classroom into practice in a clinical setting,” explained the 24-year-old.
An Environment Designed for Excellence
Diagnostic Radiography involves the use of sophisticated equipment and techniques to produce medical images of the human body. The four-year Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Radiography programme covers a broad range of topics, aimed at equipping students with the essential knowledge and skills for the role of a professional radiographer.
A vital component of the SIT healthcare degree programme is its Clinical Practice Education (CPE), which puts undergraduates in a workplace setting, so that they can put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice. Each clinical placement lasts six weeks.
Although for Eunice, no amount of textbook knowledge could have prepared her for her first CPE assignment at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).
“I was working at the Accident & Emergency department, and some of the accident patients came in badly disfigured and writhing in pain. Some screamed (in pain) as soon as I adjusted them for the X-Ray. While there are textbook methods of positioning patients correctly for the X-Ray, I also had to be mindful not to add to the pain they were in,” she recalled.
The experienced radiographers at TTSH taught her how to manage the patients and improvise using sponges and other contraptions to get the job done. Until now, she has not forgotten the lessons from that placement.
“I firmly believe that the CPE placements are key for any budding healthcare professional. These lessons and tips that you pick up from industry professionals who have years of patient experience truly make a difference, and these will stick with you for life.”
Besides providing high-quality, practice-oriented education, what makes SIT special is its supportive and nurturing learning environment.
“There is healthy competition, and this motivates us to perform better,” she said. “Nonetheless, SIT has a supportive culture, where the lecturers and peers are always willing to offer their help and encouragement.”
Applying Knowledge Outside the Classroom
At SIT, Eunice did not just receive an education, but had her talent nurtured to her fullest potential. She was awarded the bond-free SIT Scholarship, which offers development opportunities to nurture future leaders, through activities such as camps, workshops, and outreach events. In addition, she is the Head of Volunteer Management in SIT’s Community Service Club, which she described as a deeply enriching experience.
“I got pushed out of my comfort zone to work on projects like the rock-climbing event for children from the Chen Su Lan Methodist Home,” she said. Eunice had planned everything down to a tee, but soon discovered that there is no certainty with event management.
“It was truly a baptism of fire for me in terms of event planning and project management!” exclaimed Eunice. While waiting for their turns on the rock wall, the children got restless and impatient. Some even broke out into scuffles. Eunice and her team had to regroup, and much like her placement at the A&E department, improvise quickly to adapt to the situation.
“We had to break them up into smaller groups and played games like Dog and Bone to calm them down,” she said, “The children eventually settled down and got a chance to climb the rock wall. Thankfully, order was restored and they all went away happy.”
Through this project, she learned the importance of situational awareness, quick-thinking, and flexibility, which surely bodes her well for her career as a diagnostic radiographer.
“Overall, I learnt many valuable lessons from serving the community through the Community Service Club. It was a memorable experience for me. Also, as an ambassador of SIT, I am proud to embody the SIT-DNA to help shape the student culture.”
Set for Career and Life
Eunice aspires to specialise in either Ultrasound or Computed Tomography so that she can aid her colleagues with more in-depth analyses. She also hopes to inspire more radiographers in the future.
“My career aspiration is to be a Clinical Educator, so I can impart my knowledge to student radiographers, and assist in training new radiographers.”
And as is evident from Eunice’s journey, you will discover more about yourself and maximise your potential with SIT guiding your way.
This article was adapted from BrightSparks July 2021 with the permission of CareerBuilder Singapore.