Radiographers do more than just pressing the buttons on an X-ray machine. As the first link in the medical chain, radiographers tap onto their in-depth knowledge of body structures and employ effective communication to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment for patients. Healthcare Scholar Zoey Ang Zuo Yi shares more about her role in providing X-cellent care for every patient.
Why did you choose radiography amongst all the other allied health professions?
Zoey Ang Zuo Yi: As a student, I enjoyed Biology classes and loved reading about the human anatomy and body systems. Moreover, I had always found X-ray images interesting and been fascinated by how they were produced, especially after seeing my own dental X-rays. On top of that, I had always wanted a challenging and meaningful career that would grant me the capacity to make a difference to people’s lives.
Besides funding your Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiation Sciences) Diagnostic Radiography programme at University of Sydney, what other opportunities did you receive under the Healthcare scholarship?
Zoey: Under the scholarship, I was given the opportunity to participate in an Overseas Community Involvement Programme to Indonesia. We learnt to install water filters for several rural schools, ensuring a supply of clean water for the young children in these communities. The trip not only helped to raise my global awareness and understanding of other cultures, but I also got to make friends with volunteers from other healthcare disciplines! This allowed me to better appreciate how different allied health professions can complement each other in the provision of quality healthcare.
During one of my summer breaks, I also did a four-week attachment at Yishun Polyclinic’s Imaging Centre – one of the centres under the purview of National Healthcare Group Diagnostics (NHG Diagnostics). It was then that I had the chance to familiarise myself with Singapore’s primary healthcare functions. The experience has definitely prepared me well for my work today.
Tell us more about your job as a radiographer.
Zoey: I am currently a radiographer with NHG Diagnostics, where I perform X-ray examinations to produce high quality images for diagnostic purposes. I am also responsible in ensuring that patients are well-prepared and comfortable throughout the different types of examinations. At NHG Diagnostics, I am given the opportunity to exercise what I have learnt in its imaging centres at polyclinics, private centres, hospitals, as well as on-board its roving mobile imaging units.
What is the significance of your role?
Zoey: X-ray imaging is often useful in the diagnosis of diseases and injuries such as fractures. As diagnosis is the first step towards treatment and providing quality care, it is important for me to ‘capture’ high diagnostic quality X-ray images. This is to increase the accuracy of diagnosis and aid healthcare practitioners in timely management of their patients.
Name a common misconception about the radiography profession.
Zoey: One common misconception is that radiography is a dangerous profession. To debunk the misconception, radiographers are actually well-protected from radiation. Our working environment is always lead-lined, which helps to attenuate radiation. At work, radiographers also carry around thermoluminescent dosimeters, which monitor the level of radiation one is exposed to. This ensures that the dosage we receive are within safe and healthy limits.
Zoey Ang Zuo Yi
National Healthcare Group Diagnostics (NHG Diagnostics)
What are some challenges you face at work, and how do you overcome them?
Zoey: Language barrier can be a challenge at work. To overcome this, I use body language and simplified instructions when I am with patients. At times, I will also seek assistance from the family members or my colleagues. There have been times when I could not get Hokkien-speaking elderly patients to hold their breath for a chest X-ray examination. While I am more fluent in Cantonese, I decided to learn simple but useful Hokkien phrases from my colleagues. Now, I am glad that I can communicate simple instructions in Hokkien to patients so examinations can be carried out smoothly.
Share with us about a memorable episode you have had at work.
Zoey: There was once when I did an X-ray examination for a frail and confused elderly woman. She could not really understand what I wanted her to do and had difficulty complying. Therefore, I took my time with her and slowly guided her through the procedure, making sure that she was fully comfortable throughout the examination. Before she left, she thanked me with a bright smile and gently touched my face. That really cheered me up and motivated me to work harder in making X-ray examinations a better experience for all my patients.
What are some key qualities all radiographers should possess?
Zoey: Having an eye for detail is crucial. This will help us to identify any obvious abnormality in any X-ray image as early as possible. As healthcare professionals, we must also be prepared to face any unexpected challenges or medical emergencies. Most importantly, we must have a heart to care for, sympathise and empathise with our patients.
Could you offer some advice to those who are exploring their scholarship options?
Zoey: It is important that you choose a career that you would like and see yourself doing for many years in the future. Find out more about what the scholarship offers and what it entails before making a decision. Once you are sure, do not hesitate! Go for it and enjoy the journey!