Detected: A Sense of Accomplishment
Valedictorian Ang Xu Kai shares his journey from classroom to the imaging room, meeting the demand for healthcare workers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic
Barely after completing his clinical placement at Philips Healthcare in April 2020, Xu Kai was asked by National University Hospital (NUH), the company he was bonded to, if he could start work in May, a few days after concluding his undergraduate studies at SIT. Struggling to cope with the rising COVID-19 cases at the time, hospitals were very much in demand for radiographers, with suspect COVID-19 cases having to undergo chest X-rays. Xu Kai was one of 52 newly-minted Diagnostic Radiography graduates from SIT who stepped up to help alleviate the manpower crunch.
"I was supposed to begin full-time employment towards the end of 2020, so when I got the request to start in May, I was surprised. At the same time, as clichéd as it sounds, I felt the calling to do my part to help curb the spread of COVID-19. I also felt ready, after going through four years of applied learning, both in the classroom and in the hospital setting," recalled Xu Kai.
When he officially commenced work at NUH, he was deployed at higher-risk areas of the hospital which treated and housed suspect COVID-19 cases at the time. The role also required him to man portable X-rays in Isolation Rooms for patients who were suspected to have COVID-19.
The fear and uncertainty of the pandemic did not deter Xu Kai. "To me, I didn't mind it at all as my job is to help the sick and those in need of care," he said. "During my course of study at SIT and during my clinical attachments, the best practices and top standards of care were always advocated by our teachers and mentors, thus I felt equipped and had no problems adjusting to these heightened measures," he added.
The countless hours of clinical placements that he did at NUH during school time helped him adapt to his role as a radiographer and he could transit into full-time employment more seamlessly. "Modules like Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Pathophysiology and Pharmacology helped me understand clinical diagnoses. During my clinical placements, I acquired both technical and soft skills through experiential learning, complementing my theoretical knowledge, which helped make the transition to full-time employment easier," said Xu Kai.
A year on, Xu Kai is still finding his work as a Radiographer at NUH fulfilling, and he shares that someday, after gaining enough experience, he hopes to be an Allied Health teacher to inspire future students to work in the field.
Recalling his time at SIT, Xu Kai remembers feeling encouraged by several awards he received while studying, namely the Canon Medical Systems Outstanding Student Award in Diagnostic Radiography (2020), Fullerton Health & Radlink-Asia Yearly Performance Award in Diagnostic Radiography (2018), and the Radiology & Co. Book Prize in Clinical Radiography Practice 1 (2017). “The most rewarding part of my job is when I am in close contact with patients and able to aid them and reassure them when they’re worried. This contributes to their well-being and relief, beyond the core work I perform. I’d just like to say a big thank you to the donors of the awards I received, for recognising my hard work in school and motivating me to keep pursuing a career in this field.”