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MOHH – The Hospital Counsellor

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Shi Cheng Zi Jing decided to become a Medical Social Worker as he loves talking to and helping people with their problems.

Why did you choose to take up the Healthcare ­Scholarship?
My passion has always been in the field of ­Psychology since young. When I first heard about MOHH Healthcare Scholarships, I thought that this was a great opportunity for me to study and ­practise Psychology in a healthcare setting. However, during the scholarship interview, I was introduced to the discipline of Medical Social Work, where I can provide psycho-social assessment and support to patients and their families. After further research, I realised that the nature of Medical Social Work really appealed to me. Not only will I be counselling patients, I will also help them to cope better with financial, ­social, emotional and health issues taking advantage of assistance plans and policies. I can also consider double-majoring in Social Work and Psychology in NUS under the Healthcare Scholarship, which will ­allow me to pursue my two main interests.

What do you think are the strengths that helped secure your place for the scholarship?
Other than my academic results, my Army ­experience as an officer helped me to be more ­confident and fluent in expressing my thoughts and perspective during the interview. Also, my ­pre-interview preparation and understanding of the healthcare industry enabled me to respond well to the questions asked regarding my field of interest.

Why did you choose to take up a degree in Medical Social Work?
I enjoy talking to and helping people with their problems. As Medical Social Work encompasses helping the disadvantaged and restoring social justice, I feel it is the most suitable profession for me.

How do you feel the scholarship has helped you and why?

The Healthcare Scholarship has given me opportunities to know some great people from different healthcare disciplines. The induction course organised by the MOHH Healthcare Scholarships Centre made me realise that the delivery of quality healthcare requires the efforts of a multi-disciplinary team, and teamwork is extremely crucial in our profession. Getting to know the motivations of my fellow scholars also gave me a clear direction and drive to excel in my field. I am also looking ­forward to participating in summer programmes, student exchange or professional seminars during my studies, to broaden my exposure and better prepare myself in this work.

What was most memorable during your university life?

At my first Social Work lecture, I was shocked to see that I was so outnumbered by the females in the cohort. That really gave me a a push to prove

that a guy can excel and make many unique contributions to this field.

Describe the role of a Medical Social Worker and the challenges that one may face.
We can be a patient’s counsellor, educator, planner, advocate, and playing many other roles. The job of a Medical Social Worker is multi-dimensional and flexible, which is something I really like about this. Although I have not started working, I gathered that the challenges Medical Social Workers face include having the right attitude towards the work, its fast-paced nature, demanding patients etc. Nonetheless, I remain motivated, as I feel that being challenged in life is inevitable but being defeated is optional.

What do you look forward to in your future career as a Medical Social Worker?
I look forward to know more about the dynamics and mechanisms of the multi-disciplinary team in the local hospital, and how Medical Social Workers as team members could contribute and value-add to the healthcare professionals. Ultimately the patient must be able to recover his health quickly, supported by a loving family and having the least impact to his financial and emotional stability.

What ­important values should ­everyone ­possess and why?

I think passion and a strong sense of responsibility are the two main pillars of the social work profession. Without passion, one will not go far in this profession. Without the sense of responsibility, one will not succeed.

Do you have any words of advice for students who are keen to take up a career in the public healthcare sector?
Do what you love, love what you do.

Shi Cheng Zi Jing
Healthcare Merit Scholarship
Age: 24
Now: 2nd year studying Social Work at NUS
From: Hwa Chong Institution