When Singapore’s healthcare system pivoted towards tackling the COVID-19 situation, Thng Poh Geok’s workload was not really affected. “It was more a change in the scope of duties,” says the Senior Healthcare Attendant at SNEC’s clinic in Sengkang General Hospital, where she has been employed for more than two years. Prior to this, she had worked at SNEC in the SGH campus for 15 years.
“My role is patient-facing, helping them scan their IC or appointment card. These days, I also assist with patient declaration forms, which includes collecting information on travel and symptoms,” explains Poh Geok. Besides helping to direct patients to isolation rooms for quarantining, “sometimes I also cover dispatch duties when the clinic is short-handed”.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Poh Geok is more aware about its safety protocols. She routinely cleans and disinfects tables, computers, consultation rooms, and high-touch surfaces, and diligently practises safe distancing and hand washing. She habitually wears a mask every day, from the time she leaves her home until she returns home, removing it only at mealtimes. One reason she is so conscientious about these protocols is because her husband, who resides in a nursing home, is part of the demographic most vulnerable to the virus.
Poh Geok’s children — she has two sons and one daughter — have been checking in on her every day since the shift in her scope of duties. “My family always tells me to be safe, eat well and stay healthy,” she adds with a smile. She sends them a photo of herself whenever she is on duty. “When I forget to send, they will start sending me WhatsApp voice messages!”
She has one piece of advice for everyone during this period: “Remember to wear a mask whenever you leave your house! Don’t go without it, except only during mealtimes!”
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