Ms Ling Mei Qing
Senior Physiotherapist, Singapore General Hospital &
Alumna of the Singapore General Hospital Core Residency in Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy Programme (2016)
Ms Ling Mei Qing is one of the pioneer residency graduates of the Core Residency in Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy in 2016. Currently, she practices at Singapore General Hospital as a Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapist in the inpatient setting where she specialises in caring for patients admitted to surgical departments. Let us hear from Mei Qing on her residency journey and how it had helped her become an effective and passionate healthcare provider to our patients.
- What made you pursue a career as a physiotherapist specialising in the area of cardiopulmonary?
The area of cardiopulmonary has always been my passion ever since I started clinical placements when I was still in university. Having experienced different rotations in a variety of clinical areas (orthopaedics, musculoskeletal, geriatric/rehabilitation and cardiopulmonary) during my 4 years with SGH, I was even more convinced of my calling in the area of cardiopulmonary. I am always filled with joy and excitement whenever I witness my patients experiencing quick improvements from the physiotherapy interventions.
- Tell us more about the residency programme!
The residency was a 2-year programme with three 6-month core modules (ICU, medical, and surgical) and two 3-month elective modules (chronic disease and adult cardiac care). During each rotation, I was evaluated on my competency through many formative and summative assessments via clinical case presentation, journal club, and life patient examination.
- How has residency helped you in your personal professional development?
As a physiotherapist specialising in cardiopulmonary care, I am expected to possess advanced clinical reasoning and skills. These skills cannot be solely learnt through textbooks; they are learnt through on-the-job experiences and discussions with experienced seniors. The residency programme has provided me the opportunities to hone my clinical skills and clinical reasoning through its intensive training curriculum. Residency has made me more confident in managing complex patients through safe and effective approaches. For example, I am now able to effectively interpret ECG readings and care for patients with advanced heart diseases. Also, the extensive exposure to various patient types gave me the opportunity to better understand the needs of my patients and has helped me to be able to educate and treat patients with various disease conditions. Having experienced the residency programme, I have a good understanding of the challenges that most residents face and it has allowed me to angle my teaching approaches more effectively to suit the learning needs of my juniors.
- What is your advice to fellow colleagues/juniors who are uncertain about entering into residency?
For those who are ready to specialise in a specific clinical area after completing mandatory rotations in the first 2 years of work, it will be great to consider residency training as the programme is very systematic. Residency is an excellent learning platform for those who want to learn the ropes in specialised clinical areas. However, as the residency programme directors look out for candidates who have good clinical knowledge and skills in basic areas of the physiotherapist practice, interested candidates must strive towards consolidating their foundational practice in the first few years of work. Additionally, as the residency programme is rigorous and intense, candidates are expected to possess a good learning attitude and be proactive in their learning.
- How do you envision the current SGH residency in physiotherapy to evolve in the next 5- 10 years?
I envision that the SGH residency programme will evolve into a national programme where we become the national centre for residency training. We recently had an inter-institutional exchange programme with NHCS Physiotherapy. In my opinion, this marks a good start for further training collaborations with various SingHealth institutions and further expansion of our SGH residency programme. Perhaps, we could also aim towards becoming a regional centre offering post-graduate specialised trainings for overseas physiotherapists.
- What are your plans in terms of professional development?
I was awarded a team-based Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) on Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) care in FY19. It was postponed due to COVID and I can’t wait to embark on this exciting journey this year! The HMDP team consists of an anaesthetist and nurses from the operating theatre and surgical ward. This HMDP aims to enhance patient recovery post-surgery by sending frail patients to the physiotherapists for pre-rehabilitation programme; patients will be taught on airway clearance technique, supervised or home-based exercise programmes prior to surgery to improve their cardiovascular and exercises’ tolerance. Post-surgery, early mobilisation exercises will also be prescribed by the physiotherapists. With the experiences gained from this HMDP, I am confident that I will be able to perform at the top of my license and strive towards providing top-notched patient care though a one-stop physiotherapy review at the pre-surgery evaluation clinic.
This interview is part of a series to introduce the SingHealth Allied Health Residency Programmes and is facilitated by the SingHealth Allied Health Residency Steering Committee and SingHealth Academy College of Allied Health (CAH).