SINGAPORE - Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor has encouraged fresh healthcare graduates to pursue the Five Cs - but with a twist.
In Singapore, the Five Cs commonly refer to cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club membership, but Dr Khor offered up her own Five Cs as a formula for success for healthcare professionals - competence, creativity, collaboration, compassion and commitment.
Speaking at Nanyang Polytechnic's (NYP) School of Health Sciences graduation ceremony on Friday (May 4), Dr Khor said that for healthcare workers here, graduation is no longer the end of learning, as they will have to constantly adapt to meet evolving healthcare needs.
"A critical skill of survival is to be able to unlearn and to relearn. Learning involves challenging and abandoning outdated practices or thoughts that no longer serve in the interest of our patients," she told the 435 graduating students.
The ceremony saw the final batch of students graduating with diplomas in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, diagnostic radiography and radiation therapy.
The NYP School of Health Sciences had been offering those courses since 1992, but stopped doing so as the Singapore Institute of Technology started offering them in 2016.
Elaborating on her Five Cs, Dr Khor said competence and creativity is crucial for healthcare workers to stay adept amid advancements in medical knowledge and technology.
She cited the example of the Collaborative Prescribing Programme, which allows senior pharmacists and advanced practice nurses to prescribe medicine and order tests.
"This not only brings greater convenience for patients, but also empowers our pharmacists and nurses to perform more advanced and broader roles," said Dr Khor.
Continual learning in the healthcare sector is also being transformed for healthcare workers to update their skills, she added. For example, the Earn and Learn Programmes let them work and study at the same time.
"To meet the population's healthcare needs, healthcare professionals cannot work alone. A patient's needs may go beyond health problems, to psychosocial and financial needs," said Dr Khor, as she called for collaboration - her third C - between healthcare professionals and other community partners in caring for patients.
She cited the example of nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists from Touch Community Services working together to care for vulnerable seniors.
Lastly, she stressed that healthcare workers need to have compassion and commitment.
While the work will not be easy as they may have to attend to many patients, they should remember that patients look to healthcare workers for advice and support in times of vulnerability, said Dr Khor.
"In this journey, there will be times when you will face criticism, obstacles, exhaustion and failure. Find it in your heart the strength to care for your patients again. Find support from colleagues and friends around you."