Significant life events can lead us to where we are meant to be.
For example, the hospice I work at today — HCA Hospice — is the same one that took care of my grandparents when I was a child. But I did not realise it until some years later, when I interned with them.
Without a doubt, my grandparents’ experience in hospice set me on the path towards Community Care. I witnessed how the hospice helps people at the end of their lives, and it’s a noble undertaking.
Knowing my personal ties to HCA Hospice has made my work as a pharmacy technician more special somehow — like a continuation of care.
WHAT MY JOB ENTAILS
HCA offered me the job after I graduated from Republic Polytechnic last year with a degree in Pharmaceutical Science.
The role checked some boxes for me on what I wanted out of my job: to apply what I learned in school to real life, and find fulfilment by being able to help people who are at the end of their lives.
Most people think pharmacy technicians are frontline workers like nurses or pharmacists. On the contrary, I work “behind the scenes”, and my daily tasks include packing all the drugs that are requested by doctors and nurses and dispatching them to our different satellite locations around Singapore.
I would also go around the different satellite offices to do audit checks, to make sure that the medicines are all accounted for.
I don’t dispense drugs directly to patients. We don’t have any inpatients here so I rarely meet them unless they come to us for emergency supplies. I dispense the drugs to doctors who in turn prescribe them to patients.
WHY MY JOB IS FULFILLING
As a pharmacy technician, I work alone most of the time, but the introvert in me has no complaints about that. The challenge of working alone is that I need to be very organised. I run the entire pharmacy by myself most of the time, so everything has to be on a schedule, otherwise things get backed up. Apart from organisational skills, working alone has taught me to be more independent, because I have to be. For example, if there’s a problem, I need to figure out how to solve it on my own, because there’s no one else to help me.
This is not to say that I spend all my time alone. I do get to interact with colleagues from other departments should I need to. My colleagues are all warm and friendly. They’re also very supportive. I still remember when I first started, how many of them went out of their way to make me feel welcome, especially during my orientation.
I also get to work with interns, which I find interesting because they’re almost the same age as me. It’s nice to be able to work as a team and upskill my knowledge by mentoring and teaching them.
Having interned here, I was familiar with the environment so I knew what to expect. I wasn’t that nervous on my first day on the job. Though of course, it’s a different experience when you’re a full-time staff. I definitely feel a deeper sense of responsibility. I was expected to know more, especially because I have worked here before. But even with the new duties and responsibilities, I still felt at ease because I know the people and the routines.
After working here for a year, I think I can say that the healthcare sector is where I want to be. I’m actually doing a part-time degree right now, in biomedical and pharmaceutical science. I like knowing about the different drugs and prescriptions. Even if I had not chosen healthcare, I would still choose something related to science, which I love. Maybe teach students at one of the polytechnics? It would be great to help students realise their potential and perhaps influence them into joining Community Care.