Ms Goh Pei Qi does cognitive training through simulating grocery shopping in a minimart replica at St. Andrew’s Senior Care.
PHOTO: ST. ANDREW'S SENIOR CARE
By Suki Lor
When she was just five, occupational therapist Goh Pei Qi began harbouring an ambition to serve the elderly — inspired by the care and concern nurses showered on her grandmother during the senior’s frequent hospital admissions.
“I was amazed by what the nurses were doing. On top of providing Grandma with basic care and medication management, they made efforts to ensure that she was comfortable, and injected humour into conversations they had with her. They also made sure family members were comfortable,” said Ms Goh, now 28.
“Seeing them help others made me want to be as noble as them!”
Ms Goh initially aspired to be a nurse and has always nurtured a keen interest in healthcare-related matters.
But attending an open house at Nanyang Polytechnic opened her eyes to the nursing course as well as the range of allied health studies available, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy (OT) and diagnostic radiography.
By the time she completed her GCE A-levels, Ms Goh was “deeply convinced that to make an impact in a person’s life, I needed to facilitate activities that are meaningful and purposeful to them, and hence applied to study occupational therapy.”
Ms Goh Pei Qi with her grandmother at her church’s Parents’ Day Celebration in 2011. PHOTO: GOH PEI QI
Getting into healthcare
She pursued a diploma in OT with Nanyang Polytechnic. While working at St. Andrew’s Community Hospital (SACH), she completed a degree conversion course to obtain a Bachelor of Science in OT. In 2019, she received her Master of Science in Palliative Care from King’s College London in the United Kingdom through a scholarship.
“To me, it is important to keep learning as healthcare is an ever-changing landscape. We need to constantly upgrade our clinical skills and knowledge,” said Ms Goh, stressing that it is important to improve interpersonal skills, research abilities and management capabilities to meet the needs of the future.
The elderly are foremost on her mind. “As my interest in healthcare stemmed from caring for my grandmother, I knew as an OT student that I wanted to serve the geriatric population and the elderly,” she adds.
The experience gained from several clinical attachments and seeing how a nurse made her grandmother so comfortable during the last few months of her life piqued her interest in palliative care.
Ms Goh said: “My grandmother died when I was still an OT student. Thinking of how I might have better used my OT skills when she was facing a life-limiting condition inspires me to do more for my elderly and terminally ill patients.”
After seven years at SACH, she is grateful that her childhood dreams have been fulfilled. She has no doubt that her grandmother would have been very proud of her passion to help others.
Paying it forward
After working at various wards, Ms Goh requested for a transfer to St. Andrew’s Senior Care centre to serve seniors in the community.
“What I enjoy most is the ability to spend more time with my clients and their families, and accompany them throughout their recovery and/or illness,” she says.
“My job has also made me think beyond what my organisation can do, and identify other community support partners, such as senior activity centres, to provide assistance to clients who lack adequate support or care at home.
“Little steps we take to improve the care provided in the community now will hopefully translate into better care for all in the future.”
Those who are interested in a career like Ms Goh Pei Qi’s can apply for the Community Care Scholarship. The course of studies include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social work and administration (all disciplines except medicine, dentistry and other healthcare-related disciplines).
Recent A-level, diploma or equivalent qualification (e.g. International Baccalaureate (IB) or NUS high school diploma) graduates, as well as current undergraduates pursuing selected
disciplines; Singapore citizens and permanent residents who are willing to take up Singapore
citizenship; tenable for local and overseas studies
VALUE OF AWARD (For full-term scholarship):
Tuition and compulsory fees; monthly allowances; pre-study allowance; return economy airfare (for overseas study only); sponsorship for approved developmental programmes;
commencement award; distinction award (for scholars who graduate with at least Second Class (Upper) Honours or equivalent)
For full-term and mid-term studies: Four years (local); six years (overseas)
Visit www.healthcarescholarships.sg for more information.