Most of Noraini’s career was spent with the youth. She was a special needs educator with APSN Katong and Metta school for 24 years before joining the Singapore Scout Association (SSA) in 2013, where she served for six years in various business functions.
The idea of a career switch dawned on her after her mother’s death. While reminiscing about her late mother, she also realised that her career had been youth-centric. Moving forward, she wanted to serve seniors too.
Noraini entered the Community Care sector in May 2019. Now as Resident Care Manager in Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio, Noraini oversees the nursing home’s operations, and manages the staff duty rosters and their training needs. She shares her story transitioning from the Social Service sector into Community Care.
1. How have your past work experiences shaped you into the person you are today?
Serving the community has been my calling since I started work in the Social Service sector. The experiences I’ve gained thus far have shaped my belief system and developed my character and behavioural attributes as a person. I had opportunities to be adaptable, try new things, and even face new challenges. Moreover, in my 30 years as a volunteer in SSA, my job was mostly based on trust, loyalty, friendship, thoughtfulness, and courage. These fundamentals have been guiding principles in my job and way of life.
2. What are some of the skills you’ve acquired as a teacher, and in SSA, that you’re able to apply in your current role as Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio’s Resident Care Manager?
I see similarities between my past jobs and my current role. The only difference would be the client demographic. In the past, it was the youth, now it is the elderly. Nonetheless, in both instances, I still play a mentor role to my colleagues.
I’ve also acquired several skills over the years as a teacher and volunteer in SSA, namely, the art of managing staff, and to listen without judgement. These have proven useful in my day-to-day interactions with clients and when managing conflicts.
3. How did you decide to shift gears and devote your time to work with seniors?
I owe it to my late mother. After my father passed on, he entrusted me with my mother. She and I have very different personalities, thus we often disagreed. It was only after she passed on that I felt I could have done more for her. This thought lingered in my mind for a few years until late 2018 when I finally felt that it was time to serve the elderly, after working with youths.
4. You joined the Community Care sector via the Senior Management Associate Scheme (SMAS) under AIC and attended training programmes to kickstart and facilitate your career in the Community Care sector. How have these opportunities aided your transition?
As part of my development under the SMAS, I attended the IGNITE Programme, which was a good introduction to the Community Care sector for mid-career switchers like myself. It was insightful to understand the different aspects of healthcare and community care and network with the rest of the participants. The learning visits to the different institutions also widened my horizons.
5. What are some personal goals you’ve set for yourself as the Resident Care Manager in Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio?
I oversee about 200 care staff alongside another manager in Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio. Our staff are frontliners who work directly with seniors. As their manager, I feel that it is very important to provide them with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to perform their roles well. More importantly, I’d also like them to harness soft skills too. Therefore, my personal goal is to be a role model for my colleagues and build their capabilities to perform to the best of their ability.
6. What motivates you in your role now as the Resident Care Manager and working with seniors?
“The best feeling of happiness is when you’ve made somebody else happy.” This quote speaks to me. It’s heartening and motivating to know that my colleagues do their best with the seniors here. The day-to-day interactions, sharing of fears, breakthroughs, laughter, and tears are among the many moments that bring satisfaction. My most gratifying moments are when I see smiles on the residents’ faces and when they say, “This is my home and the “missies” (a common term used by the older generation to refer to nurses) are like my children/grandchildren, they take care of me.”
7. For anyone considering a mid-career switch in their lives, what advice do you have for them?
Switching careers midway in life can be terrifying. I prepared myself mentally and emotionally. I was able to come to terms with the fact that there will be new things to learn. But more importantly, I was ready to start a new adventure and discover new things in a different environment. These thoughts have helped me to transition into my new role at Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio.
Keen to join the Community Care sector? Find out more on our Community Care Jobs page www.aic.sg/commcarejobs!