Fresh healthcare graduates were encouraged to pursue the five Cs - but not the usual ones.
In Singapore, the five Cs commonly refer to cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club membership, but Senior Minister of State for Health Amy 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 School of Health Sciences graduation ceremony yesterday, she said graduation is no longer the end of learning, as healthcare workers here 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 Learning involves challenging and abandoning outdated practices or thoughts that no longer serve in the interest of our patients," she told the 435 graduating students.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 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 are crucial for healthcare workers to stay adept amid advancements in medical knowledge and technology.
She cited 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 allow them to work and study at the same time.
"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. 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, they should remember that patients look to healthcare workers for advice and support in times of vulnerability, she said.