Starting her 20‐year healthcare career first as a Physiotherapist at the National University Hospital, Shiu Ling moved on to corporate roles in the healthcare sector such as Strategic Planning and Business Development, Operations Management, Performance Management, and developed the SGH Campus Education Office. Shiu Ling joined Assisi Hospice as Chief Executive Officer in November 2015.
You started your healthcare career as a Physiotherapist before moving on to corporate roles. What made you make the change in your career?
I realised that I enjoy developing new initiatives and creating solutions that push boundaries.
Throughout your career, was there an experience that changed your outlook on palliative care? If so, how?
I was very fortunate to encounter various palliative care professionals who helped me see in a tangible way how palliative care expertise could be of immense help to patients and families, when we have a deeply respectful regard for each individual patient, and are committed to caring for patients in the way they need.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the work of you and your team? What lessons did you learn?
In the most difficult of situations, should we fundamentally seek to understand and honour the needs, fears and desires of each individual (staff, patients, families, volunteers alike), we will find in our hearts and abilities to come up with innovative solutions that best serve and help those around us.
What do you think is a common misunderstanding people have about palliative care?
That it is just for end of life care. Palliative care is about deeply understanding what care and comfort looks like for each individual, and providing needed support with professional expertise in medical, psychosocial and spiritual care. Caring for the individual in a way that is responsive to his/her values, empowers the individual and helps with a dignified journey from the time when one is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
What was the most important skill or mindset you have developed throughout your career, and how does it aid you in your work?
To have a constantly reflective and learning approach, and to always forgive all perceived wrongs. This way, with clarity of mind and strength of spirit, we may do our best in service to others.
Do you have any words of advice for people who may be thinking of making a similar career switch?
I have observed in my colleagues and in myself, that being a palliative care professional makes us better versions of ourselves.