​By Tallin Ang

Trawling career fairs is part and parcel of a job hunt, all the more so for a fresh graduate. That was what Chan Shi Ming, Manager, Policy and Planning, Strategic Human Resource, SingHealth did eight years ago when she graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

“I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted a job where I could help others,” said Shi Ming. A chance encounter at the NUS Career Fair where the SingHealth Healthcare Management Executive (HME) programme (formerly the SGH HME programme) piqued her interest.

“As opposed to just a job with one department, the HME programme allowed me to rotate across different departments in the organisation, with ample learning opportunities. At the very least, I will never be bored!” she laughs.

And she certainly wasn’t.

From musicals to infrastructure planning to building a datamart

Shi Ming’s very first posting was with SGH’s Division of Nursing. There, she was involved in the very first SingHealth musical, “Hey Florence”, as part of the Nurses’ Day celebrations and also in support of President’s Challenge 2011.

“It was an eye-opening experience!” shared Shi Ming. “I never thought so much went into a musical production – from planning to costumes, props and rehearsals right up to the actual performance.”

Working with the talented nurses who sang and danced their way through the hour-long performance, which was attended by late President, Mr S R Nathan, was an experience that Shi Ming would never forget.

Her following stints after that were with SGH’s Department of Strategy Management & Analytics (formerly known as Performance Management & Management Information). At that posting, Shi Ming gained hands-on knowledge and experience in the planning of a community hospital – from infrastructure planning to projection of patient volume, as well as working hand-in-hand with key internal and external stakeholders.

This led to Shi Ming taking up the role of the Commissioning Secretariat for the Interim Accident & Emergency (A&E) Team at SGH, which oversees the development of the new building for SGH’s A&E Department, a 168-bedded acute medical ward, hospital decontamination stations, a campus utilities plant and other support facilities.

Today, Shi Ming is with SingHealth’s Strategic Human Resource Department, where her role includes bringing together her counterparts across SingHealth institutions to build a common datamart*.

Of challenges, perspectives and Hong Kong drama serials

Counting her community hospital planning project as the most challenging, Shi Ming saw herself grow the most – both professionally and personally. “I was one of the ‘pioneers’ who helped set up the department. It involved multi-faceted tasks and activities with tight timelines. But the great camaraderie forged amongst the project teammates and colleagues from different key departments was priceless,” said Shi Ming.

“My rotations over the past eight years have given me different perspectives to working in healthcare. These experiences have helped me realise the importance of seeing things from different angles because the decisions I make can influence and affect many parties. I learnt to empathise with others.”

And Hong Kong drama serials may have also shaped Shi Ming’s analytical mind.

“I loved watching Hong Kong drama serials featuring lawyers when I was young. I was particularly interested in how they presented their cases with logical arguments to eventually piece the puzzle together. Come to think of it, that may have influenced the way I think when I make decisions in my course of work, and when I try to solve issues by thinking them through,” she said with a laugh.

Shi Ming has this to share with fellow colleagues who are thinking of a job rotation within SingHealth to try their hands at something new.

“If you are hesitating, you are probably interested, so why not give it a try? When you make a decision, make it happen and go for it!