Being a Radiographer never crossed Rick Lu Szu-Jui’s mind until he actually became one. His mum had convinced him to consider Radiography when he was deciding on university courses back in Taiwan, and it turned out to be a career that suited his personality well. He has not looked back since.
Rick joined his wife in Singapore after completing his studies and National Service obligations in 2015. Both radiographers, his wife had joined Changi General Hospital earlier, and her positive working experience and caring colleagues convinced him to do so as well. Today, Rick and his wife continue to work in the same department, although they are usually scheduled for different shifts and tasks.
Rick is thankful for the support and guidance from his managers and supervisors in his past six years with CGH. He considers himself fortunate to have friendly, helpful and understanding co-workers in his team to get through the tough times and cheer each other on. Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, his team had taken on 12-hour shifts together for almost six months, strengthening their bond as they worked closely to continue to care for patients.
“My department is great in training new colleagues, with carefully planned sessions to ensure that the trainee’s needs and learning pace are considered. They start you on the simpler tasks, and let you progress to the next level of training with more challenging assignments once you have built your confidence and gained experience. It is also reassuring to know that we can always reach out for help and guidance from the seniors,” he shared.
The work is not without its challenges. There are patients who come in with severe injuries or an altered mental status, and require different types of x-rays and scans. The team works closely to make modifications so that a good scan and diagnostic picture can be obtained.
Despite the challenges, Rick feels inspired and fulfilled when patients express gratitude for his help. He believes in “treat(ing) others as you wish to be treated”, and patients who appreciate his efforts keeps him motivated in his work.
"As a Radiographer, I am the first one to see the x-rays of a patient. Patients with serious conditions such as pneumothorax or hip fractures require early intervention and treatment. I am able to identify potential concerns quickly and alert the doctors so that our patients are cared for in a timely manner. It is satisfying and gratifying that I am able to help patients through the work I do.”
Although many people think that Radiography only involves “pressing buttons”, and see it as a boring job, Rick shares that there is actually a variety of work that they are involved in. Besides x-rays, radiographers play a crucial role in supporting a patient’s diagnosis through diagnostic examinations such as Computed Tomography (CT scans), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scans) and Ultrasonography (also known as Ultrasound scans). The preparation procedures and purpose of each scan is different, as this is dependent on what the doctor needs to see. X-rays and CT scans are meant for looking at the bone structures, while MRI scans are meant for seeing soft tissue in the body. During certain operating procedures, they also rely on special radiographic equipment to support the doctors in identifying the location of the bones or vessels, to determine where to place implants or catheters.
“There are many different roles in the hospital environment, with everyone contributing to the entire care journey and experience of our patients. While radiographers often work behind screens (often lead screens!), I believe that people will recognise and appreciate our efforts if we focus on carrying out our roles well. Our care team, which includes our doctors, nurses, and other allied health professionals, works closely together to help care for our patients from hospital to home,” he said.
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