Prof Tan recently won the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) International Service Award 2015 in Education for her contributions to physiotherapy education in Singapore and regionally.

By Associate Professor Celia Tan
Group Director, Allied Health, SingHealth

I became a physiotherapist with the desire to be involved at the forefront of patient management.   Taking my Masters became a turning point towards healthcare education, when mentors nourished my curiosity to question beyond text and routine practice.  

One poignant memory of my journey in education was leading a team in Cambodia so a wheelchair-bound stroke patient could walk again within a day through simple key exercises.   The team was elated. 

Allied healthcare can make a huge difference in patients' quality of life, and it was powerful that the local therapists could feel it for themselves.  

Such moments reminded us that even through small initiatives as educators, we can create a tipping point where learners start fuelling their own drivers for a positive cycle of asking questions about innovative care and seeking answers.  

Education truly went beyond imparting clinical knowledge and skills.  

We were engaged to share best practices with Cambodian healthcare communities and a multi-disciplinary team and I visited regularly over three years to work with local physiotherapists.  

These education opportunities created a lasting impact on heightening professional competency in the Cambodian healthcare community and they are now running their own training courses.

The learning and teaching experiences are very different back in Singapore, where we are all experts in our own fields and require great improvements within our circles for impact to be felt.  

Because of this, we need to continuously reset our minds so we are constantly learning.  

The challenge to improve education and empower learners can drive us to higher levels of healthcare.   I hope that as more allied healthcare professionals take on educators’ roles, a greater pool of people asking the right questions will generate a vibrant pursuit for innovative healthcare outcomes.