A Job Guide to Kick-Start Your Career in Healthcare
By Healthcare VCF Posted 2mth(s) ago Reading Time: About 5 minutes
As one of the industries expected to grow the fastest in 2021, healthcare services are increasingly in demand – more so with the global pandemic spearheading this surge. For aspiring healthcare professionals, this is a rapidly growing field brimming with promises of countless opportunities. However, it can be hard beginning the job search, given the wide range of healthcare jobs in Singapore. Here are some of the hard and soft skills required to get you off on a good start working in the healthcare and community care sector, depending on which entry-level healthcare position you are considering:
1. Healthcare Assistant
What do Healthcare Assistants Do?
Healthcare assistants (also known as basic care assistants or nursing aides) work alongside patients and nurses, and support nurses in attending to patients’ needs in their activities of daily living, and performing basic patient care procedures. Healthcare assistants work in a wide variety of care settings, including acute care, primary care, community hospitals, and community care facilities.
If you are interested in working as a healthcare assistant in the healthcare and community care sector, you can get a head start by completing a Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Certificate in Healthcare Support.
However, even if you do not have the relevant educational background or prior experience in healthcare, employers may offer successful applicants the opportunity to equip themselves with the essential skills through on-the-job training or structured training programmes. For instance, in the community care sector, community care organisations such as community hospitals, nursing homes, and senior care centres can tap on funding support offered by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), such as the Community Care Traineeship Programme, to send healthcare support staff to AIC-appointed Learning Institutes (LI) for structured training programmes.
Think about how you’ll be attending to different patients on a regular basis. As such, a cheerful disposition and caring personality will go a long way. In addition, if you are able to communicate fluently in more than one of the locally used languages, such as English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and other local dialects, you will be able to overcome potential language barriers along the way. This skill comes in handy when it comes to recognising your patients’ needs and delivering the required services accordingly, so don’t forget to mention it during your interview process!
What do Nurses do?
Nurses play a pivotal role in caring for patients, including assessing their physical and mental well-being, managing their care and performing clinical procedures. Nurses typically work as part of a team of healthcare professionals to ensure the safe and smooth delivery of patient care.
Nursing is another meaningful career worth considering if you desire to improve the lives of people. To practice as a nurse in Singapore, you need to have obtained a NITEC, Diploma or Degree in Nursing, and be registered with the Singapore Nursing Board (SNB). If you are a mid-career individual without a prior nursing qualification, you may consider signing up for the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) in Nursing offered by Workforce Singapore, at the NITEC, Diploma, or Degree levels.
Throughout the nursing career, nurses are given multiple opportunities for continuous training and development to deepen their skillsets in different specialty areas, such as community nursing and geriatrics, and can also progress through different career tracks depending on their interests and aspirations. These opportunities enable nurses to continue providing quality care in a fast-changing landscape.
The nursing career is a very people-oriented one, and nurses will need to work with many different parties, such as the patients, their caregivers, and within a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and healthcare support staff. If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, there are certain soft skills nurses should have in order to do well in this role. When it comes to performing essential job responsibilities, for instance, it’s helpful to possess good communication skills as a start. It can also make a difference to your patients’ lives when you’re emphatic about their needs as well as being resilient and compassionate as you care for them.
3. Patient Service Associate
What do Patient Service Associates do?
Patient Service Associates (PSA) are responsible for providing frontline administrative duties such as registration, billing, appointment scheduling, transporting patients, and assisting patients with discharge procedures. PSAs also attend to patient calls and support clinical support duties when necessary.
To take on this role, your employer may require you to minimally have GCE ‘N’, ‘O’, or Diploma level qualifications, and be proficient with computer skills. Past relevant experience in customer service-related roles will also be an added advantage. Once you join the healthcare institution as a patient service associate, you will also undergo further onboarding training to further familiarise yourself with the healthcare landscape and specific operating context of the healthcare institution.
As the first person a patient and caregiver usually encounter when they enter the healthcare institution, a Patient Service Associate essentially plays an important role in improving the patient’s overall experience in the healthcare setting. As such, presenting a friendly and engaging disposition from the start can do wonders in brightening any patient’s day, encouraging them through their road to recovery. Maintaining effective communication with your patients and being proactive in providing clear directions and instructions can also smoothen their journey in the healthcare institution.
4. Occupational Therapist
What do Occupational Therapists do?
The role of an occupational therapist is to ultimately help a person develop and maintain his capacity to perform day-to-day tasks and live more productively. On a regular basis, an occupational therapist will be evaluating the needs of people who are struggling with physical disabilities, mental and psychosocial challenges as well as designing suitable treatment programmes for them. Besides enhancing their patients’ physical and psychological functions throughout the treatment process, the guidance of an occupational therapist can make a difference in helping them reintegrate with life at home, work and society more effectively. When it comes to improving someone’s quality of life, many are drawn to this line of work to help their patients’ live more independently.
Lastly, the job of an Occupational Therapist can make a meaningful impact on a patient’s quality of life. Occupational Therapists are required to have a qualification in Occupational Therapy recognised by the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) Singapore, or to have passed the Qualifying Examinations recognized by AHPC. You must also be registered with AHPC Singapore. For mid-career individuals considering this role without prior qualification, you may consider signing up for the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) for Allied Health Professionals offered by Workforce Singapore.
When it comes to supporting your patients, attention to detail and good patient engagement skills will play an important role in success. Not every form of therapy will work effectively for each patient, and an Occupational Therapist needs to come up with individualised treatment plans, taking into consideration the patients’ physical condition, and other factors such as their daily routines, activities, emotional health, and social context.
Ready to Make a Difference?Want to make a significant difference in someone’s life through your healthcare career? Get started by browsing through the available job openings in Singapore today. If you’re making a career switch, the Healthcare Virtual Career Fair (VCF) offers more information on mid-career training and recruitment schemes to gain knowledge and hone your skills.