W orking with intricate medical radiation equipment, radiographers capture images of the human anatomy to assist doctors in providing patients with holistic diagnoses.
We speak to Hashwin to find out more about what a career in this allied health profession entails.
What inspired you to join the healthcare sector?
Hashwin Singh: As diverse as my aspirations were as a kid, a career in the healthcare sector was never really on my list. It was only when my younger sister suffered from Pyloric Stenosis did I experience first-hand the importance of healthcare. During the frequent hospital visits, I observed the professionalism and care displayed by the healthcare providers throughout the course of diagnosis and treatments, which left an indelible mark on me.
Radiographer, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
Why did you choose Radiology amongst the other healthcare professions?
Hashwin: I had always been fascinated with how we can take radiation, which may generally have negative connotations, and administer it on patients to help save their lives. The significance of radiography in the medical chain cannot be overstated. A mentor of mine, Mr. Azhar Samsudin, puts it best, “Doctors are the brains, and nurses are the heart in healthcare. We are the eyes”.
What are some of your roles and responsibilities as a Radiographer?
Hashwin: Our main role is to aid in diagnoses and keep radiation doses in the process to a minimum. We are often the first-line of clinical imaging assessment in the medical chain. This means that we have a huge influence on how diagnosis and treatment will be implemented. “Small” mistakes, like selecting the wrong exposure factors in a basic X-ray or using a slightly incorrect technique in ultrasound scans, could lead to serious ramifications for patients.
As Radiographers we also have a list of other responsibilities, such as ensuring the equipment we use, environment we work in and radiographic techniques adopted are continually reviewed. This requires constant vigilance and critical thinking. A stereotype exists that radiographers are mere ‘button-pushers’, but we are more than just that.
How do you overcome challenges at work?
Hashwin: One of the biggest challenges at work is to remain calm and level-headed under stressful situations. Working in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Care department can be extremely stressful and daunting, especially for a new radiographer like me. Sometimes when panic and nervousness take over, you may be prone to mistakes. Moreover, when you are dealing with something as harmful as radiation, your confidence in being a competent radiographer really takes a hit. Thankfully, I have the good fortune of working with some of the most capable and patient colleagues who never fail to guide me along.
To date, what has been your most memorable experience as a Radiographer?
Hashwin: Before leaving to pursue my degree in Australia, I had performed an X-ray on a young patient who had fractured her spine and femur in an accident. As she was in a state of shock and distraught, I tried my best to reassure her with words of encouragement during the entire process.
Wee Kiat: I am performing the role of Property Executive at Capitaland Singapore. I would say that the experiences I’ve gained from all three internship programmes have given me an advantage. These experiences nicely complement the theoretical and practical knowledge I’ve acquired from university. I have been adequately trained to manage contracts, vendors and tenants, as well as conduct proper scheduling for projects in my current role.
A year later, the patient returned to the same orthopaedic clinic for a follow-up. She was in remarkably high spirits and burst in excitement when she saw that I was once again her radiographer. As radiographers, we tend to see patients at their lowest, so it is very gratifying when we get to see them recover not just physically but also emotionally.
What are some interesting or little-known facts about AHS?
Hashwin: The hospital believes strongly in the word “kaizen”, which is a Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement. It is mandatory for new staff in my department to devise and implement ideas that will improve the overall experience for both patients and staff. It seemed challenging to adopt the philosophy at first, but I have grown to see its value. It opened my eyes to possible areas of improvement in the workplace. Another little nugget people might be interested in is that we have a mini-jamming corner in our karaoke room, recently furnished with a drum set and keyboard to unleash the musician within us!
What opportunities have you been given as a Healthcare Scholar?
Hashwin: I was attached to St Vincent’s Private Hospital during my undergraduate studies in Australia. The experience was an absolute blast! The staff there did not treat me as a student but as their equal, and we got along remarkably well. I had the opportunity to observe the differences in radiographic techniques and practices compared to that of Singapore. In fact, I have employed several of these insights in my current job.
Do you have any advice for those considering a Healthcare scholarship?
Hashwin: More often than not, working in healthcare can seem like a thankless job. This is why having a deep-rooted passion for helping others is paramount. There may be days when you feel frustrated and burnt out, but at the end of the day, you will stand with pride knowing that you are making a difference in people’s lives.