Healthcare professionals are often the unsung heroes in our society, and it probably took the pandemic for us to realise how significant their work is. This has also encouraged many Singaporeans, whether they had any healthcare experience, to join this growing industry.

One of them was Shalini Geraldine, who turns 32 this year. The former pastry chef of 2 years used to work at a chocolatier upon the completion of her Diploma in Pastry and Baking, realising an interest since she was young.

As we all know, COVID-19 struck and started to spread around the world in 2020, and this changed the course of Shalini’s career path.

Despite how the pandemic could pose a challenge to finding another job in the short term, Shalini left her job as a pastry chef as she wanted to spend more time with her loved ones when the deadly virus started to spread around the world. It was at that time that she began to reflect on her goals for the future. A desire to learn something new sparked.

We spoke to her midway through her SGUnited Skills Programme to find out more.

Why did you choose to pursue healthcare?

During the pandemic, I learned that our healthcare professionals are unsung heroes who work tirelessly to protect us. I wanted to be a part of that meaningful industry and realised it was my calling.

Why did you join the SGUnited Skills Programme?

I found out about HMI Institute and learned that they offered the SGUnited Skills Programmes for the healthcare sector while scrolling through social media. It suited me, as it allowed me to pursue the course at a subsidised rate, while receiving a monthly training allowance.

What was your experience like?

My lecturers are patient and approachable – especially helpful for the ones who didn’t have prior experience in healthcare. The hands-on learning approach allowed me to put theory into practise as well. The role-playing and simulation-based learning ensure that we are competent in the skills required in our healthcare role.

Has it made you more confident as a future Patient Service Associate?

It definitely has. Besides key competencies such as dispensing medication and taking vital signs, we’re also cross-trained in skills like first aid and personal effectiveness. This training further increases my employability and versatility for the future.

Was picking up skills for a completely different industry challenging to you?

It was a scary transition entering an industry without any experience. I was worried about not being able to keep up with the training. But I’ve learnt to be service-centric and built good communication skills in my previous role, which are transferable skills for a Patient Service Associate.

What do you feel about this reskilling experience so far?

When we’re working, we got so caught up in earning money that we forget the importance of learning. I’m so grateful for this programme as I’m gaining the knowledge required to care for my patients and go the extra mile for them. All the training and knowledge I’ve received through this course will allow me to pursue this new, meaningful chapter in my life and for that, I’m very grateful.

Learn more about the SGUnited Skills Programme and build your skills towards in-demand job roles:

This story was first published on SSG's Facebook page on 16 Dec 2020. All information is correct at time of publishing.

24 Mar 2023