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Personalising the road to recovery

Ren Ci Hospital physiotherapist Jerome Lim guides people with injuries and disabilities through a range of movement exercises to help them recover and regain mobility. “I have always wanted to work in an environment where I can help others,” says the 28-year-old.

You work as a physiotherapist in community care. What is it like to work in this particular field of healthcare?

“Community care sector is usually the continuation of healthcare service from the acute sector or where patients get active treatment. Physiotherapists play a significant role within the multi-disciplinary team in making sure patients can cope with their daily lives when they return to their homes or communities. For instance, if we see that it is unsafe for the patient to be home alone, we will have to assess if the patient will need a caregiver.

The biggest challenge I face in this field is communicating and addressing the expectations of patients and their family members. Often, finding out the effects of a medical condition may be overwhelming to patients and their loved ones. We have to take the time to explain the next steps to take and manage their expectations.

Personally, I feel that physiotherapy has evolved to a point where it is not focused only on treating physical ailments, but it is also an advocacy on taking charge of one’s health. Education on self-management is currently the cornerstone of our service to our patients. It is hard to expect others to help us if we do not first learn to take care of ourselves.”

How did you get on this career path?

“I started my journey with Ren Ci Hospital after graduating from Nanyang Polytechnic. I have gone through several rotations in the community hospital facility, from neurological units to orthopaedics and cardiopulmonary, as well as chronic sickness.

I was also active in planning events that involved promoting and raising public awareness for physiotherapy and multiple exercise programmes. I did that for more than two years before I decided to pursue my degree at Singapore Institute of Technology-Trinity College Dublin. My degree conversion was fully funded by Agency of Integrated Care. My mentor recommended it to me, and I am thankful that my department and seniors gave me their full support.

Now that I’m done with my studies, I’ve gone back to doing clinical work and taking on various clinical projects to challenge myself in researching the best practices for patients.”

What do you hope to achieve in your career?

“I am currently working in the cardiopulmonary ward, where I prescribe exercises for patients to improve their cardiovascular endurance, strength and balance, and educate them about their condition.

I like how my current job challenges me to think of what and how much I can do for the patients because no two treatments are the same. Right now, I want to focus on gaining more clinical knowledge and exposure before pursuing further studies. I believe there is so much more out there for me to learn and grow as a clinician, so I can provide better care for my patients.”