Ms Nurlina Juma’at is inspired by loved ones at home to pursue occupational therapy at SIT
By Gilbert Wong
Feb 26, 2020
Growing up in a family of healthcare professionals has certainly rubbed off on Ms Nurlina Juma’at, sparking her interest in healthcare from a young age.
The 22-year-old is a Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) scholar and in the third year of her Bachelor of Science with Honours in Occupational Therapy course.
“Ever since I was a child, I was inspired to pursue a career in healthcare by my mother and older brother who were nurses, and my father and other older brother who were medics,” she says. “Although I didn’t achieve the required A-level results to pursue medicine, there were other professions in the healthcare sector I wanted to explore.”
In 2017, she attended a Ministry of Health Tea Session where healthcare professionals shared their work experiences in the field. One of the speakers shared her experience in assisting clients in activities of daily living (ADL).
The session piqued Ms Nurlina’s interest in occupational therapy and led her to discover the occupational therapy undergraduate course offered by SIT — the only one offered locally.
“In order to bring healthcare services from hospitals to the community, plans for opening more community hospitals and community-based rehabilitation centres are in place,” says its programme director, associate professor Tan Bhing Leet.
“This means increasing demand for occupational therapists to contribute to the seamless process of integrating patients back to community after experiencing medical conditions, and empowering persons with disabilities to achieve their fullest potential.”
Learning beyond the classroom
Ms Nurlina appreciated the hands-on training during the course.
“I truly enjoy practical sessions as these enable us to break away from gaining knowledge merely within the confines of the classroom,” she says.
The clinical placement in her second year of study gave Ms Nurlina the opportunity to put theory into practice; the on-the-job training experience was invaluable for her as it helps develop interpersonal skills and provides opportunities for networking.
“With the presence of supervisors, who are also faculty staff, clinical placement allowed for timely feedback and supervised learning within real-life contexts,” she says.
“Although I faced difficulties in translating knowledge acquired from school into real-life practice, I found the challenge an enjoyable and eye-opening experience.”
She feels she is ready to take on these challenges thanks to her supervisors’ guidance. “With this experience, I know that once I enter the industry, I will feel better prepared to face any obstacles that may come my way.”
SIT has also helped Ms Nurlina learn and develop her leadership skills through various co-curricular projects.
She was head of programmes at an overseas service learning project, Project Thailand, last year. The role required her to guide sub-committee members in itinerary planning and manpower management.
She is now the vice-president of SIT Project IncluSGive, a local service learning project aimed at supporting and empowering caregivers by imparting essential skills. These roles have been demanding, but for Ms Nurlina, these are a great way to hone her leadership capabilities outside of the classroom.
She feels that the holistic education provided by SIT has been beneficial towards bolstering her knowledge in occupational therapy and stretching her abilities to become a better version of herself.
“With a positive mindset, I saw my obstacles as challenges for me to overcome,” she says.
“The constant support from my family and friends also motivates me to keep on improving myself.”