In Conversation with – SPD’s Service Excellence Award Winners

Dawn (third from left), Adeline (second from right), and Pauline (standing, third from right) were awarded the Service Excellence Award this quarter.

Dawn (third from left), Adeline (second from right), and Pauline (standing, third from right) were awarded the Service Excellence Award this quarter.

The SPD Service Excellence Award (SEA) is a quarterly award given to SPD staff. The award aims to inculcate a service-centric culture within the organisation, and to acknowledge and reward staff for giving their best in providing and delivering exemplary service. The SPD Service Excellence Award focuses purely on service excellence and not professional competency.

We sat down with the award winners for a chat on what motivates them.

Qn 1: Can you describe what you do?

Adeline Chua (AC), Administrative Executive, close to 4 years: I provide administrative support under the Corporate Services division.

Dawn Ching (DC), Occupational Therapist, 3 years: I am an occupational therapist under the SPD Therapy Hub which works with the geriatric population. Currently, I am providing therapy services at day rehabilitation centres and day care centres. My role is to maximise the abilities of my clients in their daily occupations/daily living after a medical condition. Through our therapy sessions, we hope to enable people to achieve better health and an enhanced quality of life.

Pauline Koh (PK), Physiotherapist, 4 years: I work in a return-to-work programme known as Transition Programme for Employment (TPE). I provide physiotherapy treatment and work with the TPE team in conducting group therapy sessions and enhancing services within the programme. Outside of direct clinical work, I supervise other therapists, conduct audits, and participate in conferences/workshops.

Qn 2: What does a day in your job look like?
AC: I follow up with various vendors and staff, making sure that all administrative documents are in place. Apart from that, I also source for quotations for the projects that we are doing.

DC: I serve at various partner organisations under the SPD Therapy Hub.

At the outpatient day rehabilitation setting, I see clients on an individual basis. I work in partnership with my clients and their family members to set goaIs that they want to achieve, to conduct assessments to assess their strengths and limitations, evaluate their problem areas and provide the necessary interventions to help them achieve their goals. Their goals can range from going back to work or increasing physical strength so that they might be able to do the things that they used to before acquiring the disability.

Dawn Ching, with two of her clients.

In a day care setting, I plan and run activity-based group and individual sessions. Similarly, goals are set, and I evaluate their strengths and problem areas, and prescribe suitable activities for my clients to engage in. These activities/interventions help to keep the clients in a day-care meaningfully engaged and provide continual use of their physical and cognitive skills to enhance their well-being.

I work closely with my team members comprising physiotherapists, nurses, social workers, therapy assistants, and health care assistants to provide holistic care to meet the various needs of our clients.

PK: The day begins with morning team briefings and case conferences. Then I see clients individually or in groups for three hours and work on my clinical documentation before breaking for lunch. There are days where lunch breaks are shortened due to staff in-service presentations or scheduled assessments for new clients. Afternoons are a repeat of the mornings – three hours with clients and then documentation. The work day typically ends at 530pm. Administrative meetings and outings may alter my schedule though.

Qn 3: What motivates and spurs you?

AC: Making a difference in the industry that I am in. The world is filled with businesses and companies fighting for profits, but my role allows me to indirectly change someone’s life. That is what motivates me!

This job also helped me to gain more experience and meet different people with diverse personalities.

Adeline (right), receiving her award from board member, Ms Ong Toon Hui.

DC: Seeing my clients grow and gradually being integrated back into society is a huge motivation for me. The purpose and satisfaction they get from engaging in daily activities make all the hard work from the team worth it.

PK: What motivates and spurs me on is really my clients’ resilience. They have a sense of humour too which always makes it more fun! The dedicated team of like-minded colleagues and mentors also helped me to grow in this occupation.

Qn 4: What was your reaction when you first heard that you are going to be awarded with the SEA?

AC: I was honestly a little shocked! It was unexpected.

DC: I was surprised and happy.

Qn 5: What are some of the challenges that you face at work and how do you overcome them?

AC: One of the challenges that I face initially was to figure out how to be a part of the new work culture because every organisation’s culture is different. To overcome these challenges, I think we need to be sincere and communicate more often, in the meantime also build good working relationships. One thing I learnt is to always ask and seek clarification if I am unclear about anything. That helps a lot!

DC: For me, it is facing clients who are less motivated in their rehabilitation process. The challenge is to help them find their motivation, in order to move forward. I think one way to rectify this is to build a relationship with the clients first. With relationships, it is easier to motivate them.

PK: I think one of it is to juggle multiple commitments. I keep a notebook with me all the time. Another challenge is mental and physical fatigue. I am blessed to have good colleagues in TPE to help lighten the load!

Pauline Koh (first from left) with her TPE colleagues.

Qn 6: What are some skills that you picked up in your career that helps in what you do?

AC: Time management and to be more well-organised. I also got to pick up problem solving skills and self-management.

DC: One of the most important skills I have picked up is teamwork. Having effective communication skills also help to bring my points across and solve issues. I also picked up the importance of being resilient even when we encounter tougher situations.

PK: Administrative skills, clinical skills, there are too many to name!

Qn 7: Any memorable experiences to share?

DC: Through my daily interactions with the clients, I get to learn from their life experiences which help to shape my moral values and remind me of the important principles to live my life by. Those are the memorable experiences, being able to converse with them and gleaning from their stories and lives.

PK: Working with spinal cord injury survivors has impacted me the most. I learnt that while I might attempt to empathise with a person with disability, it is really impossible to fully comprehend what they are going through or have been through.

I realised the importance of not assuming or judging, and being always ready to listen and even learn from them. These clients (or friends) have accomplished amazing things and have shown me how a little faith and support from us can go a long way.

Qn 8: Do you have words of encouragement to give to potential future recipients of the award?

AC: Always be respectful to everyone. As we are all aligned in a common goal, we should build trust with each other. I believe in enjoying good relationships with my colleagues, and many times, we may even become close friends!

DC: Play your part well, take responsibilities in the things you do, and go the extra mile if it is within your means. Another tip is to always try and understand the client or person you are interacting with from his or her perspective. It really goes a long way.

PK: I am sure that there are many that provide better care and service than me. To me, the award doesn’t mean as much as the joy we get to bring to others. So, keep doing what you do and love what you do!

We take this opportunity to congratulate all three SPD Service Excellence Award winners!