The Allied Health programs are gaining popularity in Singapore as the demand continues to grow and the capacity needs to be increased. “Providing updates on the Healthcare 2020 Master Plan during his speech, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said more than 900 hospital beds were added last year, through Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and the Jurong and Yishun Community Hospitals. The three hospitals will continue to ramp up this year to add another 270 beds.” (TodayOnline, New schemes, awards among plans to attract more to join healthcare sector, 19 February 2018). With an interest to make a direct impact on people’s well-being as well as be part of a lucrative sector, what are some of the Allied Health programs can you consider studying?
Nursing focus is wholesome – focused on the whole patient, thereby setting itself apart from other disciplines through the positive caring approach. The profession is a discipline that aims on alleviating pain and suffering through protection, promoting health, wellness, and prevention of illness and injury. It is an advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.
An Occupational Therapist focuses more on evaluating and improving a person’s functional abilities. Their main aim is to help a person optimize their independence and their ability to accomplish their daily activities following an injury or in situations of physical impairment. They more likely to perform on-site assessments of both the home environment and work environment and give recommendations on suitable adaptations of each to allow for a better quality of life. The ultimate goal of an Occupational Therapist is to assist people improve their ability to carry out their everyday tasks.
Most often overlapping with Occupational Therapy, a Physiotherapist tends to be more focused on evaluating and diagnosing movement dysfunctions as well as treating a person’s injury itself. He/She will be more likely to diagnose and treat the physical source of the problem; the injured tissues and structures.
Both professions are trained extensively in anatomy and the musculoskeletal system.
Speech-language pathologists work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders. They work with both children and adults who have difficulty communicating because of certain conditions such as developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss (including other problems that can affect speech and language). They work in many different research, education, and health care settings with varying roles, levels of responsibility, and client populations.
Nutrition and Dietetics
A nutritionist will usually have completed a tertiary qualification in any various fields of nutrition, food science and public health. The primary role of a nutritionist is to assist people in achieving optimal health by providing information and advice about health and food choices.
According to the SNDA (Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association), Dietetics is the integration of the art and science to the application of food and nutrition to health. Dietitians are consultants and practitioners who assess, maintain and improve the health status of individuals and the public they serve. They are responsible for the management of the sick and for the promotion of health.
Both nutritionists and dietitians aim to assist in a person’s journey to reaching optimal health through food and nutrition. However, dietitians are also qualified to work in private clinical practice, hospitals and the medical nutrition industry. They provide expert nutrition advice for people of all ages and prescribe dietary treatments for many conditions such as diabetes, food allergies, cancers, gastro-intestinal diseases, and overweight and obesity.
Radiography / Medical Imaging
A radiographer (or medical imaging technologist) is a university-trained health professional who works with cutting edge technology to produce X-rays, CT (computed tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and other medical images to assist clinical radiologists and other doctors diagnose, monitor or treat a patient’s injury or illness. They have a very thorough understanding of the body’s structure, how it is affected by injury, and the causes and effects of disease.
Of course, there are other courses you may consider, though these pathways are currently not a common route that Singaporeans take (but hey, why not take a road less travelled?). You may also have a think of the following:
Prosthetists & Orthotists
Medical Social Worker
For more details of the descriptions of these professions, feel free to visit the official website of the Ministry of Health Singapore – Applied Health Professions.