Lim Kay Ray, amongst the inaugural batch of Community Care Scholarship (CCS) recipients awarded by MOH Holdings in 2020, is poised to make a tangible difference to the community as a physiotherapist.
A series of sports injuries and the guidance of a senior who is attending the same undergraduate physiotherapy course put Kay Ray on the path towards the pursuit of physiotherapy as a vocation.
Like many, Kay Ray did not know much about the healthcare sector at first, thinking everyone was either a doctor or a nurse. But when he and his teammates sustained various injuries during sports, he began researching rehabilitative methods. In the process, he discovered that physiotherapy played an important role not only in his personal recovery, but also in healthcare.
“I have always been heavily involved in sports – I learnt swimming when I was young, picked up canoeing in secondary school and continued canoeing throughout Junior College (JC). Through sports, I was always keen to know more about the human body and its intricacies. Learning that physiotherapists restore physical function and improve strength and mobility, it piqued my interest to do further research on this profession. In JC, I actively applied for opportunities to job shadow or intern at hospitals during the school holidays,” the 21-year-old shared. Aside from the personal connection, he also appreciates how physiotherapists in the Community Care sector had more opportunities to interact with their clients on a longer-term basis and form stronger bonds of care and healing.
Once his mind was set, he began his research on scholarships as he strongly believed in being independent and funding his own education. He also wanted to fulfil “a personal mission” of being a scholar.
“The vision of my secondary school (Anglo-Chinese School Independent) is for every ACSian to be a Scholar, Officer or Gentleman. This inspired me to be a scholar,” he mused.
He was unsure of where to apply, until his classmate in Anglo-Chinese Junior College pointed him in the right direction. “My college classmate, Li Ching, who is studying Physiotherapy at Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) told me about the new Community Care Scholarship (CCS) and the Community Care sector at a gathering,” he recalled. “She also shared with me the differences between an acute and community hospital.”
“That conversation piqued my interest to join the Community Care sector as it is an evergreen and growing sector in Singapore. I will also have more opportunities to work with clients throughout their rehabilitation journey, beyond episodic care.”
Through the scholarship application, Kay Ray discovered that MOH Holdings partners various clusters and organisations to provide healthcare scholarships – one of these organisations being the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), the sector integrator and developer for the Community Care Sector.
“AIC provides referrals to subsidised Community Care services, grows the support options for caregivers, administers eldercare-related financial assistance schemes and reaches out to seniors to understand and support their needs so that they can live well and age gracefully.”
His newfound knowledge about the Community Care sector further reaffirmed his interest to apply for the scholarship.
As a CCS scholar, Kay Ray is now studying physiotherapy at SIT. Lessons have gone online due to the pandemic, but there is never a dull moment as there is much to learn and experience.
“The professors try their best to make lessons engaging and comprehensible like in a physical lesson. Our cohort size is smaller than in college and our peers and seniors are very helpful toward each other, so we always have avenues to clarify our doubts,” he said.
Aside from classes, Kay Ray continues to be active in sports, having recently added Ultimate Frisbee to his repertoire. “I joined SIT Ultimate to pick up a new sport. The group at SIT Ultimate is very welcoming, providing a pillar of social support in school. We exchange friendly gestures whenever we see each other!”
He reflected that the extra-curricular activities not only hone his sports ability but soft skills as well. “I believe that time management from juggling studies and extra-curricular activities is an essential skill that we should all have, as there will never be enough time. Good time management can make a world of difference between two people and their productivity for the day.”
Putting Theory to Practice
Kay Ray anticipates putting his knowledge to good use at St Luke's Hospital, where he will be posted after his graduation.
“After my graduation, I look forward to applying the knowledge picked up in school at St Luke's Hospital, while continuing to learn in a real-world context.
Client recovery and treatments are a lot more complex than textbook presentations, so it is important to keep an open mind while administering person centric-care as a physiotherapist.”
For those considering a scholarship, Kay Ray cited a couple of reasons why he chose CCS. He said: “Singapore's Community Care sector is an integral part of Singapore's healthcare system, and will play an even bigger role ahead as the focus shifts beyond hospitals to caring for patients closer to the community and to homes.
There will also be more opportunities for CCS scholars to interact and build long-term relationships with clients in community care, and work closely with them to achieve their rehabilitation goals. For myself, as a physiotherapist in community care, a good understanding of my patients' health habits as well as their social and emotional needs will put me in good stead to prescribe an effective rehabilitative treatment plan.”
More importantly, he advised that prospective CCS scholars should have their heart in the right place: “If an organisation's vision and mission resonates with your personal values, just like it has for mine, you will know for sure that you are at the right place. A scholarship is a two-way commitment so looking within yourself and understanding your personal values are important.”