Jurong Health Services (JurongHealth)
Special Features | Healthcare

Bringing Healthcare
Closer To The People

As one of the six healthcare clusters in Singapore, JurongHealth aims to raise the standards of healthcare for communities in the west. Healthcare Scholar Chiu Wai Leong tells us how he hopes to help keep the community active and well.

Singapore's Healthcare Scholarships empower compassionate individuals to take huge strides toward improving themselves and the health of others. These are administered by MOH Holdings (MOHH) on behalf of the Singapore Public Healthcare Sector, and Healthcare Scholars serve meaningfully in one of Singapore’s six public healthcare clusters after graduating from university. One such cluster is JurongHealth, which facilitates the integration of healthcare services and care processes in Singapore’s west region. By 2015, JurongHealth’s new integrated healthcare hub in Jurong East, with the 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and 400-bed Jurong Community Hospital, will be operational.

To accompany this expansion of healthcare services, JurongHealth’s healthcare professions are constantly given essential training and support to push Singapore’s healthcare system to the next level. One such recipient is Healthcare Scholar Chiu Wai Leong, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy in Singapore Institute of Technology-Trinity College Dublin. With his Physiotherapy diploma, the Degree Conversion Healthcare Scholarship allows him to complete his university education in a single year.

What Sparked Your Interest To Become A Physiotherapist?

Chiu Wai Leong: I remember watching the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 and was amazed at how dexterous physiotherapists appeared to be as they attended to athletes' injuries with fast hands and efficiency. I found myself very much drawn to the prospect of being able to provide 'healing hands' to people who need them!

Chiu Wai Leong
Healthcare Scholar
(Degree Conversion Healthcare Scholarship)

Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy),
Singapore Institute of
Technology-Trinity College Dublin

My interest was further intensified during my clinical attachment as a Nanyang Polytechnic student. I remember assisting an elderly gentleman to walk after he had suffered a stroke. Although his progress was slow, his wife came to me after a few sessions and thanked me profusely for the little improvements he showed and that mattered so much to them. The awareness that physiotherapists can make a difference in patients' lives certainly left an impact on me.

What Opportunities Has The Healthcare Scholarship Given You To Prepare You For Your Future Career?

Wai Leong: The scholarship gave me the chance to attend health policy seminars to observe how the nation’s future health policies are being formulated. In addition, I also attended a service development course that sharpened my organisational skills and allowed me to keep in touch with my compassionate side through my involvement in local community projects.

Throughout my scholarship journey, I’ve also had opportunities to network with professionals from the Ministry of Health, my sponsors from JurongHealth, my future physiotherapy colleagues and other Nursing and Allied Health students, and all these sessions have helped me better understand how all Allied Health Professionals can cooperate to achieve positive patient outcomes.

Furthermore, I had the chance to participate in an overseas exchange programme in Dublin which exposed me to an entirely different culture. Through my experience and constant interaction with the Irish, I learnt how to overcome many cultural barriers and become more adaptable and understanding.

Share Some Of Your Thoughts On The Healthcare Industry In Singapore.

Wai Leong: The healthcare industry is constantly growing and evolving. It is working towards achieving wider healthcare coverage to ensure the greying population has better access to healthcare.

Now that Singaporeans are more educated and tech-savvy, they are better aware of how to take responsibility for their health and well-being. With greater access to healthcare and education, Singaporeans will be able to reshape their perspective of healthcare – that is, instead of depending solely on curative care, Singaporeans are now taking measures to receive preventative care, and this will definitely have a positive impact on the long-term outlook of Singapore’s public health.

Tell Us More About Your Future Career Aspirations As A Physiotherapist.

Wai Leong: I aspire to become a patient-centric physiotherapist. Physiotherapists diagnose and treat individuals of all ages who suffer from a wide range of health-related conditions or injuries that limit their mobility. Being able to communicate with patients and understanding their conditions is key to being a good physiotherapist.

"The awareness that physiotherapists can make a difference in patients' lives certainly left an impact on me."

I would also like to take on primary and preventative health projects that support Singapore’s ageing population and combat the effects of prevalent chronic diseases. I want to apply my knowledge to realise JurongHealth’s vision of 'Transforming Care. Bringing Health to Every Home' and undertake its mission of ensuring the community stays well.

What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Healthcare Scholars?

Wai Leong: When providing care, healthcare professionals must not forget that patients may not be solely seeking medical care. Patients often seek overall healthcare, which also incorporates mental and social aspects. One of my professors once told me, “We are health professionals and not illness professionals.” It is essential for healthcare professionals to work with their multi-disciplinary team to provide holistic care for and educate patients, who can then modify their lifestyle behaviours and take preventative measures to improve their lives.

I also believe that a healthcare professional is a reassuring figure who lends a helping hand to those who are in need. This line of work requires a great deal of personal commitment but it is nonetheless fulfilling. If you are interested in joining the healthcare sector, the Healthcare Scholarship will definitely provide you with the resources you need to develop your potential during and after your studies!