Think of ‘hospital’ and the first people to come to mind are probably doctors, or nurses. But the truth is, the list hardly stops there. Allied health professionals such as radiation therapists are also important healthcare personnel that plays a big part in patient’s lives.
Vincent’s journey as a Principal Radiation Therapist at Farrer Park Hospital started when he decided to take a leap of faith away from his comfort zone. Having been a radiation therapist for years at other restructured hospitals, Vincent wanted a more expansive role.
“It has always been my dream to set up a radiation department. I saw this as a golden opportunity and told myself to go for it,” shared Vincent.
When asked if there was any difference between expectation and reality, Vincent said ‘no’ without any hesitation. In fact, he found it to be a wonderful journey.
“I remember there was nothing inside (the hospital) back then. Everything was bare and we could only see the concrete floor,” Vincent recounted. “We were all based at a make-shift office and had to make site visits also every day in preparation of the hospital’s opening.”
Unlike other radiation therapists who get to interact with patients during their radiation treatment, Vincent’s early years at the hospital required him to do things like meeting vendors and deciding which equipment to bring in to the hospital instead.
When asked he feels about this, he said: “All the hard work is worth it. We all felt that great sense of satisfaction when things finally came together.”
“Our department started with 4 people. Now, there are about 15 of us. It’s amazing how much the department has grown and it is also a testament of our hospital’s growth as well,” Vincent added.
“It has been almost 7 years since I’ve joined Farrer Park Hospital. I’ve aged of course,” Vincent joked while pointing to his white hair. “But I’ve also gained valuable experience and knowledge through guidance by my supervisors and the doctors I’ve worked with.”
After the radiation oncology suite opened its doors to receive patients in 2014, Vincent and his team shifted their focus back to providing quality medical care. This also meant that they were able to undergo trainings and exchange insights with other radiation departments abroad.
“I was given opportunities to visit hospitals abroad to learn from experts from their radiation departments. These visits allow me to pick up important pointers that would inspire us to sharpen existing processes to provide better clinical care,” Vincent revealed.
When asked if there is any advice he wish share with aspiring radiation therapists, Vincent said: “Passion is important. As long as you have the heart to care for patients, you will love your job.”
Touching on patient care, Vincent brings up a recent encounter with an elderly patient whom he has been seeing together with his team.
“It always warms our heart when patients come back for their review and we see their condition improve. During one of the lunar new year periods, an elderly patient returned and wanted to give us red packets. We didn’t accept it, of course. But we are happy to see that she’s getting better,” Vincent shared. “These are the little things that make our jobs as radiation therapists fulfilling.”