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Ng Lay Hoon, Deputy Manager at Cardiac Laboratory has dedicated 30 years of her life to healthcare.
As one of the pioneers who helped in establishing the Cardiac Laboratory (Lab), Lay Hoon still remembers when she first joined the department. “It was in 1991 and our office was then situated at Level 1, Block 5 of Singapore General Hospital (SGH). It was end of the year and the team was celebrating Christmas; the mood was very festive and I felt welcomed immediately!” shared Lay Hoon as she reminisced the good old days. Little did she know that she would stay three decades in the job!
Lay Hoon explained that their team in SGH was then known as Clinical Measurement Unit (CMU). The Cardiac Lab was officially set up only after moving to Mistri Wing where NHCS was previously sited.
We had a chat with the 30-year Long Service Award recipient and veteran who has grown with three generations of the Cardiac Lab team.
Please share more about your role in Cardiac Laboratory.My primary role is performing non-invasive procedures for our patients. Besides that, I handle and support the department’s administrative work such as ordering medical products, reviewing and assessing requirements for new medical devices or equipment purchases, and liaising with engineers for maintenance and repairs. Being one of the seniors in the lab, I also mentor and guide our junior colleagues.
Lay Hoon donned in scrubs suit at the first Cardiovascular Lab (i.e. Cardiac Catheterisation Lab) at SGH Block 2.
What inspired you to join the profession?I chanced upon a job opportunity for the position of a Medical Technician from a friend who was a Cardiac Technologist. I thought it seemed interesting and since the job offered me an opportunity to help patients and contribute to society which was one of my goals, I took the leap!
Lay Hoon (circled) with her old team mates (L-R): CMU team at SGH Block 5 and the Cardiac Lab team at Mistri Wing.
What kept you going through the years and how did you overcome challenges along the way?Seeing patients recovering well and returning home to their loved ones motivates me to keep going. I also count my lucky stars to be able to work hand-in-hand with wonderful colleagues on this journey.
Healthcare is definitely not without challenges. Work can get tiring for us sometimes. I try to live positively each day and not worry too much! My journey so far has been wonderful especially with the great support from the team where everyone always helps one other where possible.
“The sun always shines after the storm” is a motto I live by. Even though the last two years have been difficult, we need to continue to stay positive and believe that the bad days will be over soon. I also believe in this Chinese saying, “知足常乐” (translated as contentment is the key to happiness) - one should be contented with what one has and we should always count our blessings such as being able to afford three meals a day and having our family with us.
Were there any memorable moments at work?Too many! I am a person who believe that even a bad day at work is nothing if you inject some humour so I always tend to remember more of the funny moments.
I still remember vividly an encounter with a particular patient during the earlier days at Mistri Wing. The patient was advised by the doctor to have a treadmill test and was directed to wait near the machine. When the doctor and I returned to the patient, we were stunned by an unexpected sight – patient was lying down on the treadmill machine instead of the bed. Both of us quickly regained our composure and guided the patient to the bed and explained how the procedure works. It was certainly an unexpectedly candid moment I remember till today!
Do you have any advice for younger or new colleagues?Being in healthcare, it is important to show compassion, be willing to help, and understand that sickness can happen to anyone. Always offer encouragement to one another, be it to colleagues or patients – your words keep them going too! By working together through these hard times, life will be easier to get by.
Such positivity and zen-like demeanour are traits that will help anyone, not just healthcare staff, ride through challenging times with fortitude. Congratulations to Lay Hoon once again on receiving the 30-year Long Service Award!