Inspired by a farmer she met in Thailand when she was in university, medical social worker Joanne Lim (above right) aims to live with passion and compassion.
Ms Lim has wanted a job helping people since she was in Secondary Two, after watching a local Chinese drama that depicted the lives of healthcare personnel and social workers.
She was so committed to this ideal that she pursued a degree in Social Work at the National University of Singapore (NUS), helped by a Healthcare Merit Award (then called the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Scholarship for Social Work) from MOH Holdings (MOHH).
The scholarship was a boon, as her parents also had to finance the education of her three siblings. It covered all her tuition and other fees, and provided a monthly stipend, book and hostel allowances, and a one-time settling-in allowance.
Recipients of the Award are bonded to their allocated healthcare clusters — which was fine by Ms Lim, who was happy to have a job waiting for her after graduating in 2012.
She says: “The scholarship allowed me opportunities beyond funding my degree. It sponsored my study trip to Thailand, deepened my appreciation for political systems and their effects on social ser - vices, and helped me to see that individuals can change their lives and society.”
Ms Lim’s job as a medical social worker is an active one. She spends most of her day in the wards, meeting patients and their families and providing them with emotional and social support. She also attends meetings with team members to discuss the best ways to manage patient care.
She says: “I have a desk but I am hardly deskbound! My job is fast-paced but also incredibly fulfilling.”
She is currently helping the Department of Care & Counselling, where she works, to expand their services offsite, and is also involved in its Scholar Engagement Programme, where she provides guid - ance to undergraduate scholars of the Healthcare Merit Award.
The community of scholars provides support to its members and is a valuable network for collaboration on projects and research.
In the future, Ms Lim hopes to set up an agency to minister to the needs of marginalised individuals.
She says: “I hope to contribute to the development of social services in my own way and to improve the social functioning of the people I meet, one life at a time.”