News (2006-2016) News 2010 News Volunteers Honing Skills in First Medical Training

Volunteers Honing Skills in First Medical Training

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Tzu Chi Health Screening Centre organized a half-day medical training programme on 6 Nov with the aim of improving the quality of its healthcare service and boosting the confidence of medical volunteers in maneuvering medical equipment. A resident doctor was invited as the speaker to enhance the volunteers' awareness and knowledge related to osteoporosis.

Dr Goh Jit Khong giving a comprehensive speech on “How to Prevent and Manage Osteoporosis” in the training. (Photos by Er Cheng Han)
Volunteers interacted intensively with Dr Goh during the Q&A session. (Photos by Er Cheng Han)
Sister Ng Yean Shin providing training for a medical volunteer in operating the urine analyzer. (Photos by Er Cheng Han)
Medical volunteers surrounded the bone densitometer while listening to the instruction from Sister Branda Ng.(Photos by Er Cheng Han)

This meaningful and motivating programme had attracted around 60 medical volunteers to participate and they were grouped accordingly to learn the basic functions of the medical equipment.

The health screening tests provided in Tzu Chi Health Screening Centre include blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) monitoring, blood and urine tests, as well as stools examination. Besides that, the scanning of bone mineral density (BMD), an indicator for osteoporosis and fracture risk, was one of the specialties in the screening service.

The BMD scanning, which was done using ultrasound to measure bone density, is considered a newer technique as compared to the common DEXA (Dual Energy Xray Absorptiometry) measurement provided in most health screening service. Its significance will benefit the aging population in Singapore.

Tzu Chi Health Screening Centre was officially operated in full scale on 21 Aug 2010. Many medical volunteers pitched in to help with the operation on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday according to allotted schedule. Since the response received from medical volunteers was immense, the health screening centre has planned a series of training for them.

The half-day training programme on 6 Nov was the first session aimed to disseminate information about osteoporosis as well as know-how of medical equipment usage. As Around 60 medical volunteers took part in this workshop that day.

Live re-enactment

Dr Jake Goh Jit Khong, a resident doctor with the Singapore Naval Force, was specially invited to speak about “How to Prevent and Manage Osteoporosis”. Dr Goh, an eloquent English and Mandarin speaker, was very thoughtful in giving his talk using layman terms to explain medical terminologies to enhance the understanding of his audience. The medical volunteers paid full attention and jotted down the important points about osteoporosis which are useful for future counseling and health education purpose.

The zealous spirit of the volunteers yearning for knowledge seemed to impress Dr Goh. During the Q&A session, both parties interacted intensively as the medical volunteers were determined to sharpen their skills and knowledge about osteoporosis.

The health screening centre is equipped with various new medical equipments since its opening. The medical volunteers were then divided into smaller groups to learn the fundamental skills of operating the machines. Medical volunteer Sister Ng Yean Shin, and staff of health screening centre Sister Branda Ng, both with nursing qualification, demonstrated the proper technique of operating the urine analyzer and bone densitometer respectively.

The medical volunteers surrounded the medical devices while paying full attention to the explanations on machine operation and strategies of obtaining necessary information from the patients. All the crucial details given by the two trainers were noted down promptly. After the learning/listening phase, the medical volunteers were divided into groups for role-play sessions before they were “accredited” as competent enough to take charge of their duty.

“OK, you've passed! Next, please!” Sister Branda Ng put a tick on her list of medical volunteers and the fellow trainees applauded as a motivational gesture. There was one medical volunteer who failed in his first attempt. Through careful observation, he managed to pass in his second attempt after waiting patiently for the other medical volunteers to finish their rounds. The persevering and modest attitude displayed by him was indeed admirable.

Prevention is (always) better than cure

“The involvement of medical volunteers is very crucial to the operation of our centre,” said Sister Hsu Hsueh Yu, the volunteer/person in charge for the health screening centre. Through the medical training programme, she hoped that the quality of service delivered by the medical volunteers could be strengthened while their workload could also be lightened with the help of other volunteers from different districts.

The exchange session held about two weeks earlier had managed to enhance the volunteers' understanding of the workflow and operation of the health screening centre. With the eagerness of improving the centre's service, the discussion was fruitful in the end as the decision of organizing the training programme was made.

According to the research carried out by International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), the chances of contracting osteoporosis in women and men who are more than 50 years old are 1 of 3 and 1 out of 5 respectively. As there are no obvious signs and symptoms in osteoporosis, diagnosis would normally only surface in the event of bone fracture. According to a reliable study in Singapore, the mortality rate for hip fracture is 20% and almost half of the patients who manage to survive will have mobility problems.

Since October, the data collected in the health screening centre shows that there are 127 BMD scanning test done for members of the public and volunteers who are more than 50 years old. Interestingly, about 20% of the patients required further investigation and/or referrals to see specialists.

It goes without saying that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. The BMD scanning test, which only takes about 10 minutes for each individual, has greatly benefitted the public as early detection of osteoporosis enables the affected individual to seek proper medical care timely.

Hopefully our warmhearted medical volunteers will continue to show their affection and care to the public to raise their awareness on health prevention.

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