Ms Clara Chooi Chi Yuen is a big fan of Korean dramas.
Not only did they inspire her to pick up the Korean language, they influenced her choice of career as well.
Currently a senior radiographer in Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Ms Chooi, 27, recalls: “During my Secondary 4 days, I watched the Korean medical drama, New Heart, and was fascinated by how the doctors could diagnose what was wrong with patients by looking at medical images.”
Eager to find out more about the field, she looked it up online and ended up enrolling in a Diploma in Diagnostic Radiography course in Nanyang Polytechnic in 2011.
In her final year in 2014, she thought of taking a degree-conversion programme in an overseas university after graduation but was worried it would be expensive.
“My friend then told me about the Healthcare Merit Award scholarship offered by MOH Holdings (MOHH) that could help to cover the costs,” she says.
With the scholarship, Ms Chooi pursued a Bachelor of Science (Diagnostic Radiography) offered by the Singapore Institute of Technology and Trinity College of Dublin. The joint degree is conducted in Singapore and offers overseas clinical placement and lessons during the final term.
The scholarship covered the cost of Ms Chooi’s degree programme and part of the cost of her attachment in Dublin, Ireland.
“The attachment opened my eyes to different radiology practices in other countries,” says Ms Chooi, who graduated in 2015.
Image of health
In her current role, she performs general X-ray duties and assists in theatre cases that require X-ray imaging during operations.
She is also undergoing on-the-job training to specialise in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
Doctors often order MRI brain scans in an in-patient setting to query if the patient has had a stroke or not, or to check for lesions in the brain that might have caused the patient’s symptoms or behavioural changes, she explains.
Important aspects of her job include the safety of patients and staff, and the quality of images obtained.
“The MRI room has a very strong magnet that is used to produce the images, so it is very important to ensure that anyone entering the room is free of metallic items as they might be forcefully attracted to the magnet and get injured.
“By screening patients and staff who enter the area, we can ensure that they will not have any unnecessary injuries,” she explains.
Ms Chooi hopes to become more knowledgeable in MRI so that she can guide students or staff who are keen to learn the medical technique.
And to people who are interested in a radiography career, she advises researching more about the job and going to career fairs to get some first-hand information from radiographers who might be there.
“Also try to find job-shadowing opportunities so you can see if it is something that you would like to do, because radiography is more than just pressing a button,” she says.