Ms Wong Han Yen
Senior Physiotherapist, Singapore General Hospital &
Alumna of the Singapore General Hospital Core Residency in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Programme (2017)
Ms Wong Han Yen is one of the pioneer residency graduates from the Singapore General Hospital Core Residency in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 2017. Her positive experience in the residency further sparked her passion in the area of musculoskeletal and this led her to pursue a 1-year Masters in Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal Major) at the Curtin University (School of Physiotherapy), Perth, WA. Currently, she practices at Singapore General Hospital Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists Outpatient Team and is actively involved in advancing the professional education of physiotherapists in her department as a clinical educator.
- What made you pursue a career as a physiotherapist specialising in the area of musculoskeletal?
As a physiotherapist, I work with multi-disciplinary healthcare teams to optimise the mobility and function of my patients. In my line of work, I come across many patients who have to limit their daily activities and sometimes even giving up on their personal dreams due to the drawbacks of musculoskeletal pain. It brings me delight to see how appropriate interventions carried out through physiotherapy can help patients conquer their pain and, in turn, achieve their personal goals without having to put them through invasive procedures.
- How has residency helped you in your personal professional development?
The residency programme provided me with a structured learning platform to advance my knowledge in the specialised area of musculoskeletal physiotherapy. With the intensive coaching from my seniors, I had the chance to further hone my skills in clinical reasoning and communication. The residency programme had also given me ample opportunities to learn from different coaches as well as seniors which had immensely widened my perspectives. On top of that, I had also sharpened my decision-making process through the rigours of the residency programme. Also, with my previous experience as a resident, I understand first-hand the common problems that most residents faced and it allowed me to approach challenging issues from different angles. Hence, the residency programme had further groomed my competencies to becoming an effective educator in my department.
- Tell us more about what you did during your residency?
Residency was a very busy period for me as there was so much to learn! I had to appraise primary literature during journal clubs, do up case presentations and discussions with my mentors, attend workshops, and teach SIT physiotherapy students while juggling my clinical work.
- What were some of the challenges you faced as a resident?
I was pregnant during my residency programme and it was certainly a challenge to be able to complete my assigned tasks and achieve my learning goals. Residency was the time when I learnt the importance of time management and effective task prioritisation. Fortunately, my coach was very caring and understanding. Despite her busy workload, she used her non-working hours to vet my clinical reasoning forms and provided constructive feedbacks. She was also extremely knowledgeable and was able to provide me with the appropriate guidance and support whenever I need. I am very thankful for the kind understanding and grace that were extended to me during my residency.
- What is your advice to fellow colleagues/juniors who are uncertain about entering into residency?
Joining residency is a great opportunity to sharpen your knowledge, skills, clinical reasoning, and case management. Do not be afraid of challenges. You have more potential than you think. You will never know your full potential unless you keep challenging yourself and pushing beyond your own self-imposed limits.
- How do you envision the current SGH residency in physiotherapy to evolve in the next 5- 10 years?
Currently, SGH physiotherapy is heavily involved in inter-institutional learning, where we offer some of the PGAHI workshops conducted by our residency coaches and residents to physiotherapists from other institutions. Our workshops have been well-received and garnered good feedback thus far. Moving forward, I hope that SGH can become the national centre for physiotherapy residency programme in the next 5-10 years, where we nurture and train the next generation of outstanding physiotherapists.
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).