A Day in the Life of a Singapore OT Student

Yen May of Singapore wrote to me and generously shared some insight into her life as an OT student there. She gave me permission to copy it to my blog. It wasn’t intended to be a formal document so no judging any grammatical errors. You can e-mail her at yenmayl ….at…hotmail.com (go away spambots).

“I love OT because of its holistic and creative nature. Thinking back, my definition of what Occupational Therapy is has definitely changed as I learned more about the roles of the Occupational therapist.

I completed one block of clinical attachment (4 weeks) last month in Oct. I was at a mental health setting. In my y1 clinicals, I was really attracted to SI and peds but I soon realised that I liked mental health alot as well!

Anyway, i really enjoyed my placement there. The first thing that changed was my personal perspective towards the mentally ill population. I came into a realisation that they are people just like us, they have needs, dreams, potential and feelings. I think the climax came when i decided to share my umbrella with this woman who had schizophrenia on a rainy day on the way to the hospital. It was raining very heavily and i was comtemplating whether or not to give her some shelter. She was unkempt and was talking irrationally throughout our long walk into the hospital. i would have NEVER done that, never ever if it wasnt because of my placement at IMH!! haha!

It was a great time working with the clients, I ran artcraft groups, sports (basketball & badminton), and cooking groups! Throughout my whole placement, i worked with male clients so it was challenging but a good experience. I was really sad to see the long stay clients in their wards, they were very institutionalised – years and years ‘imprisoned’ in those wards. Some were never discharged because their family rejected them and didnt wanna be responsible for them.

I will be starting my next attachment for another 4 weeks starting from 19 Nov, but have yet to know my placement. I think I’d most probably get HANDS, NEURO or ORTHO. Perhaps a community setting because I have not been to one yet.

OT school has been very fun and inspiring lately as we began semester 2. Due to our tendency to speak in our own mother tongue or dialects, the OT school instituted a new ‘law’ that requires all of us to speak ‘Queen’s English’! haha. We were supposed to read newspaper and cut out interesting and OT related articles to share with the class in one our modules: Home and community. It was a realy great idea, as we soon realised that there were so many OT related articles! We found stuff on health policies, community services, leisure opportunities, etc. It almost felt like we were having clinical education going on as we (students and lecturer) discussed about our views on those articles.

In this sem, we started to hand therapy, splinting, home modification (which is really cool), groupwork and leisure, and also a module that talks about wellness. So its pretty fun cuz we get to do cool stuff like travelling in a w/c in the community (taking the MRT,bus, catching a show in the cinema, shopping etc), trying out yoga, pilates, aquatherapy and lots of leisure activities! We also have a module that introduces us to the various community settings/ organizations where the OT works in. It is realy interesting as most of us have never been to those settings.

The Singapore Association of OT student commitee (SAOTSC) organizes many talks and events for the students here. These talks range from education advancement, specific clinical specialty,OT in sign language, Visually handicapped and guidedogs… to many other interesting topics as well. There is a HUGE BUZZ on mental health in Singapore lately and the Government will be funding $88million into the area of mental health to set up community centres that provide mental health services and to create awareness. There will be many other projects as well. One of the medical financing policy is currently being re-evaluated to include mental illness in its list of chronic disease so people can get financial help when they go for treatment for a mental condition.

The lecturers are also challenging us to look beyond the traditional roles of OT (working in hospitals). They are challenging us to look into the community setting, to get involved in ministry level (to advocate and be involved in policy making), to do entrepreneurship, set up centres for wellness, to work in the area of providing accessibility (none so far) and whatever we can dream of! There is no limit as to the things that we can venture into! 🙂 Oh btw, im currently working on a project on OT with the visually handicapped/ low vision group of people, its really interesting as ive never worked with a VH client before! 🙂 “

Nov 13, 2007 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none