Faced with choices, Radiographer Samantha Kang finds ways to combine her passion for both healthcare and the military.
“I’m a Radiographer in SGH, and I’m also a medical trainer with the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC).” Meet Samantha Kang, Senior Radiographer who specialises in computed tomography (CT).
At 16, when considering her options after the “O” Levels, it was a toss-up between healthcare or joining the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), which was offering scholarships for diploma studies. Luckily for us, Samantha chose healthcare, joining SGH in 2011 after completing her “A” Levels and Diploma in Diagnostic Radiography at Nanyang Polytechnic. She went on to pursue a degree in radiography in 2012 thanks to a scholarship offer by SGH.
“As a child, I had gravitated towards playing the role of a doctor or a nurse and enjoyed caring for my "patients" in the form of my soft toys. I believe the tipping point that led me to seriously consider a career in healthcare was an assignment given by my Primary Six teacher to research our options after primary school. That was when I stumbled upon the radiography course offered in Nanyang Polytechnic. I guess when I laid out all my options after my “O” levels, healthcare won by a thread as I was immediately taken back to that assignment and that radiography course that I chanced upon.”
“But that did not stop my curiosity and interest in the SAF. So when I saw an advertisement calling for volunteers, specifically, medical trainers (radiographers) back in 2014, I knew I had to sign up,” she said.
Completing her medical trainer Qualification Training in 2016. Can you spot her and one other SGH colleague here?
Samantha has been with the SAFVC since 2015, and has been deployed as a medical trainer since March 2017 after completing Basic Training and Qualification Training in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
“My role is to bring best practices to the SAF and ensure that the training our national servicemen (NSmen) receive during their In-Camp Training (ICT) is always up-to-date with current clinical practices. During casualty simulations, I have to make sure that the NSmen perform X-rays using the correct techniques and adhere to radiation protection protocols,” explained Samantha.
She chooses to give, and gains instead
During the process of signing up with the SAFVC as a medical trainer, Samantha had to choose again. “Instead of radiography, should I choose a different field altogether, so that I can have a different experience and learn new skills?”
“I chose to sign up for radiography. I must say my journey as an SAFVC volunteer has taught me a whole lot of skills and gave me countless new experiences. Every deployment continues to be a new learning opportunity and experience, as every ICT that we go through with the NSmen is unique. We do not just come in, perform our role as an auxiliary trainer during exercises, and leave.
Samantha (third from right) at one of her deployments as a liaison officer during the 27th ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet
“We are actually a part of the battalion - we prepare the equipment, we load and unload the equipment for outfield training, we clean the equipment when we return from training. We also participate in route marches, learn to strip and assemble the SAR 21 assault rifle, and take part in combat shooting exercises. The camaraderie that comes with National Service (NS) is something every NSman can identify with.
How do her two roles compare?
“Being a healthcare professional and a volunteer in the SAFVC is not as different as you may think. The working environment and conditions may differ a fair bit. Being a medical trainer in the SAFVC involves more role-play scenarios, compared to dealing with real patients on a daily basis in the hospital. But otherwise, they are actually very similar. Both roles require you to acknowledge that your part is as important as the rest, and the goal can only be achieved if everyone works as one,” shared Samantha, very reflectively.
Samantha at an SAFVC Promotion Ceremony in 2018
“There were definitely a myriad of new skills learnt, unique experiences felt, and friendships made. So while some of you may feel that there is nothing you can do to contribute to NS, and it is mainly a responsibility for men, consider this: throw away any preconceived misconceptions and open your heart and mind to new ideas and opportunities, and you will begin to surprise yourself,” urged Samantha.
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