The job redesign and upskill programme for the groups of Patient Service Associates and Patient Service Assistants (PSAs) which rolled out in 2018 has finally came to fruition with all 61 PSAs completed the programme. The programme aims to ensure employability and sustainability of our workforce through cross-training of and equipping PSAs with skills required to progress with the evolving changes in healthcare.
Irene Teo from Cardiac Clinic who was involved in the planning and training since the programme’s inception shared, “From cross-training in the initial phase, we had progressed to upgrading and enhancing the skillsets of selected PSAs in their job scope. It has been an inspiring process for all - even our Healthcare Attendant (HCA), Swee Bee, has taken a new role upon the completion of the programme.”
Congratulations to all 61 colleagues in Cardiac Clinic for taking up the challenge of learning new skills and adapting to a fast-changing healthcare landscape. CardioConnect finds out more from five of our proud programme graduands.
Cross-training to become dual-roles ladies

The pioneer batch of PSAs to undergo the cross-training programme started in April 2018 (Read more – Power-packed Service Duos).

In addition to assisting doctors during consultations and chaperoning patients, newly cross-trained Patient Services Assistants Lee Ping Ling, 49 and Srina D/O Raja Krishnan, 53 are now able to schedule doctors’ appointments and investigation tests within NHCS and other institutions as well.

PSA Srina makes an appointment for a patient over a phone call.
How did you feel when you were selected for duo-role training?

Ping Ling: I was anxious and worried that I might not have enough time to book appointments for the patients in the consult room.

Srina: Initially, I felt stressed but I am now able to go with the flow!

What challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome it?

Ping Ling: Previously, I had to rush to book appointments in the consult room, and even had to clear the appointment bookings as ‘homework’! Now, I am able to pace myself and book the appointments simultaneously during the clinic session.

Srina: Practice makes perfect – I managed to overcome the challenges with more appointment bookings.

PSA Ping Ling is adept at the OAS system for appointment bookings.
How do your family and colleagues feel about your new role?

Ping Ling: My colleagues noticed that it was not easy for me to learn how to book appointments but they saw my perseverance and my efforts in learning. They guided me along and showed their appreciation too.

Srina: My colleagues shared how my work and service now can value-add to the patients as they no longer need to wait at the counter for appointment booking. They also commended that I am more confident and skilful now!


Upskilling to a brighter future

“Enhancing and upgrading the skills and knowledge of our staff gives them opportunities to take on new or expanded roles. Opportunities for upskilling were presented to staff who not only expressed keenness to improve themselves, but also exhibited good aptitude and attitude towards learning something new,” shared Teeu Keng San, Senior Manager, Cardiac Clinic.

Two of the successfully upskilled staff, Patient Services Associate Executives (PSAEs) Fadzlina Bte Mohamed Said, 50 years old and Grace Guevarra Esquierdo, 48 years old, share more below.

At the SAF Cardiac Fitness Centre, PSAE Grace is trained to perform multiple duties at various touchpoints, from the counter, assisting the doctor in the consult room, to administrative functions.
What was your role prior to upskilling?

Fadzlina: I performed counter duties such as registration and payment, and also assisted doctors in the consultation room and booking of follow-up appointments for patients.

Grace: As a Clinic Assistant at the Cardiac Clinic previously, my main duties were to assist and chaperon the doctors during consultation, and prepare patients for physical examinations by giving instructions for the test accordingly. I also had to attend to patient’s inquiries, help counter staff in receiving patients, and if needed, send patients to the respective ward for admission.

PSAE Fadzlina is well poised to handle duties at both the Cardiac Clinic and 5D Radiology.
How did you feel when you were selected for upskilling?

Fadzlina: I was really excited and couldn’t wait for the training programme at 5D Radiology to start! I was looking forward to learn the multiple systems.

Grace: I felt so fortunate for the trust given to me to perform more than what my job scope required. In my new role as a deputy team leader at SAF Cardiac Fitness Centre, it is my duty and responsibility to ensure that SAF protocols are in place, and to communicate and coordinate with our internal and external teams.

What challenges did you encounter while picking up the new role and how did you overcome them?

Fadzlina: At 5D Radiology, one of my roles is to paste the ECG stickers on the patient’s heart and chest area to measure their heart rate. Initially, I was not familiar with the process but with the helpful colleagues from the laboratory technicians, PSA to radiographers who spent time guiding me along and lots of hands-on practice, I have overcome it.

Grace: Sometimes, we would encounter patients with high expectations and demands. I always remind myself to stay calm, listen and show that I understand where they are coming from. Having a positive mindset also helps as it leads to good results most of the time.


Job redesign brings renewed energy

For one of the oldest graduands in the training programme, 63-year old Ang Swee Bee, age is simply a number when it comes to taking on a new challenge – her role was entirely redesigned – from porting patients and sending documents from one location to another in her previous role, she now handles patients right at the frontline.

One of Swee Bee’s new job duties is to direct patients, smoothening the patient journey at the clinic.
What does your new role involve?

I help with patients’ enquiries, guide them on the use of self-service kiosk for registration and payment, and promote the use of mobile applications such as health buddy for offsite payment.

How did you learn and adapt to your new role?

It came naturally as I am familiar with clinic processes and thus, able to assist with patient enquiries. Some commonly asked questions include wayfinding like which room or where to go after completing their tests. I would check patient’s 1Q1B ticket and advise them accordingly.

What is the most satisfying part of your new role?

When we are able to help patients with the self-service kiosk and wayfinding (sometimes, they are lost without any staff guiding them), they would show their gratitude towards us. It feels really good being appreciated!

How do your family and colleagues feel about your role redesign?

My colleagues shared that as service ambassadors, we are an additional pairs of helping hands to help patients who have trouble with wayfinding. Now that patients have to make payment at the self-service kiosk or offsite after their consultation, being stationed at the payment kiosk will help reassure patients and colleagues that someone is around to assist patients with the payment transaction.

What inspiring colleagues we have in NHCS! The pandemic has inevitably made us change the way we work and employability is now more important than ever. With continuous training and upgrading such as what our Cardiac Clinic colleagues have done, a more meaningful and happier career is possible in this new normal.

PSAE Grace said it aptly when asked about what she loves most about her new role - “I tell my kids that my job isn’t just about the salary but it is a great privilege to serve others. I learn from my patients by listening to them, and when we truly understand their needs, we are able to serve them effectively.”​