“Adding years of healthy life” – that is National Health Group’s (NHG) vision. As the frontrunner and pioneer of Singapore’s public healthcare industry, the passionate professionals working at NHG strive to provide all Singaporeans with quality medical care and facilities. It has a large network that consists of nine primary healthcare polyclinics, acute care and tertiary hospitals, national specialty centres and business divisions.
We speak to Azizah Binte Hajamohideen and Nurnazlyna Binte Mohd Bahtiaraffandi, who work as an Orthoptist and Prosthetist and Orthotist respectively. They give us the inside scoop on their promising and enthralling career as healthcare professionals with NHG.
Azizah Binte Hajamohideen
Tell us about your roles and responsibilities at work.
Azizah Binte Hajamohideen: As an Orthoptist, I work closely with Ophthalmologists of three main subspecialties - Paediatrics, Neuro-Ophthalmology and Oculoplastics. My general roles and responsibilities involve assessing patients who have a misalignment in their eyes and measuring the amount of deviation from the central position.
Based on that assessment, the Ophthalmologist can then accurately diagnose patients and provide suitable treatment options. Following the diagnosis, I manage the patient with eye exercises, patching or prisms accordingly.
Nurnazlyna Binte Mohd Bahtiaraffandi: I hold two roles at NHG, one as a Prosthetist and the other as an Orthotist.
For my role as a Prosthetist, I am in charge of customising and calibrating prosthetic lower limbs for my patients. From taking a cast of it so that a socket can be manufactured to taking the necessary measurements to enable a prosthesis to be manufactured. Upon doing so, I would then fit the prosthesis on the patient and make changes to the gait alignment in order to optimise the patient’s walking pattern as close to normal as possible. Apart from that, I would also perform regular check-ups to review the patient’s prosthesis fitting and function.
For my other role as an Orthotist, I assess patients according to the type of management they require. This could range from spinal to lower limb assessments. Some of the orthoses could be off-the-shelf so I could fit them almost immediately on patients - more common for the inpatient and orthopaedic clinic setting. For patients requiring customised orthoses, I would need to make a cast or measure in order to fabricate the orthosis for them. Patients would then return a few weeks later for fitting and subsequently be reviewed at the clinic.
How does NHG support your development? Give us some examples.
Azizah: NHG has allowed me to share with the public my knowledge on what Orthoptics is all about, which then provides an avenue to advertise and educate the public.
Recently, NHG provided me with an opportunity to be a representative at the Healthcare Scholarship Fair held at Raffles Convention Centre to advice parents and students the role of an Orthoptist. We also had a panel discussion which provided a casual interaction for those who wanted to find out more about the profession. I believe that such events allow young individuals to be more aware of how wide and varied healthcare can be.
NHG is also constantly providing development through professional and personal courses, both locally and internationally. These courses provide a great platform for me to further develop my skills clinically as well as other related skills such as statistical analysis and language courses.
Nurnazlyna Binte Mohd Bahtiaraffandi
Prosthetist and Orthotist
What qualities should NHG scholars possess? Why do you feel that these qualities are important?
Azizah: A NHG scholar should possess integrity, compassion, professionalism, respect, collegiality and social responsibility. These values represent the NHG’s mission of providing a patient-centred healthcare and a knowledge thriving environment. Additionally, it also allows each individual to serve with pride. This I personal feel, makes the journey of obtaining the scholarship and providing healthcare services back to society even more meaningful.
Nurazlyna: It would be important to have an interest to serve others in need and be compassionate. Sometimes, work can be a routine and the difficulties we face make us feel dampened in spirit. However, if serving and caring others compassionately is a virtue that one possesses, then this is the fuel that continues to drive us in carrying out our duties despite the odds that come by.
Also, having a “never give up” attitude would be an important trait as one would always continue to face new challenges. Just remember that it is only through these challenges that we would grow, and get better in what we do.
What advice would you have for those exploring a healthcare scholarship?
Azizah: My advice would be to apply for internships with institutes, and observe the roles of healthcare practitioners at work. Personally, that helped me appreciate and understand Orthoptics much more before enrolment. Interacting with various practitioners allow sharing of various work experiences, and for those exploring a healthcare scholarship to understand more and also helps build a network within the profession for the future.
Nurazlyna: Go for it! The scholarship is amazing, but what is more amazing will be what you will contribute to the healthcare of the country! Ensure what you intend to pursue suits your interest and strengths. Attend some work attachments at the department you are keen to join to experience the actual nature of the job beforehand.