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    5 Questions with Dr Karen

    Dr Karen with the team at the SATA CommHealth Community Hub at Fernvale.

      Continuing with our resident doctors showcase in line with the Healthier SG initiative, we introduce Dr Karen Nai. She has been with SATA CommHealth for over four years now. Dr Karen is also an accredited disability assessor with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and can be frequently seen on the go with our Doctors-On-Wheels and Homecare teams, assisting patients in their homes and meeting their needs where they are at.

      1. What made you join SATA CommHealth? 

      Dr Karen: I’ve been with SATA since November 2018. At that time, an ex-colleague shared with me a job opening for the new Community Hub at Fernvale which she though I’d like a lot. The centre focuses on community care especially for residents and the elderly in rental flats. I was also especially touched by the Doctors-On-Wheels programme and felt drawn to explore how I could ‘marry’ work and vocation here at SATA, and the rest in history!

      2. What is your day-to-day like?

      Dr Karen: It depends on where my roster brings me! I’m based in the Community Hub at Fernvale, so on those days I’d run the clinic, see patients, and touch base with the team on patients who may have extra needs like referral for home nursing, for example. In between that, I’d be working on ASPIRE and Healthier SG planning. When I’m not in Fernvale, I’m likely out for Doctors-On-Wheels or Homecare duties.

      Dr Karen with a patient at a Doctors-On-Wheel programme

      Dr Karen with the team at the SATA CommHealth Community Hub at Fernvale.

      3. What are your thoughts on the Healthier SG initiative for seniors and the vulnerable we serve?

      Dr Karen: As a clinician, I think the Healthier SG initiative is certainly beneficial to our seniors as it’s a holistic approach to healthcare. Having a regular and trusted family doctor to see through their needs, from preventive health to chronic disease management, would translate to better outcomes for them. Afterall, knowing the seniors as a person would help us look after them better, as often their medical conditions interact with their lifestyle and circumstances. Personally, as healthcare involves “care”, this initiative can help to renew that element of care that sometimes get lost amidst the busyness of various tasks, and to renew the art of presence when we are with our patients.

      Dr Karen at her desk awaiting patients to arrive for consultation.

      Dr Karen at her desk awaiting patients to arrive for consultation.

      4. What are some struggles you’ve faced and overcome as a doctor?

      Dr Karen: In chronic disease management, patients come in with varied circumstances, difficulties, and priorities. Sometimes, the health choices and investment advice provided may not carry the same priority for patients. As a younger doctor, it was frustrating when patients were ‘non-compliant’ as we would say. But along the way, I learnt (mostly from my amazing mentors) that meeting the patient where he or she is at, and understanding their thoughts and barriers, can help us journey with them
      better. Not to say I don’t struggle anymore, but I think I’m slightly more enlightened than I was years ago!

      Dr Karen with the team at the SATA CommHealth Community Hub at Fernvale.

      Dr Karen with the team at the SATA CommHealth Community Hub at Fernvale.

      5. What does SATA’s mission mean to you as a doctor? 

      Dr Karen: ‘Promoting lifelong health’ very much resonates with me as a Family Physician seeing patients across the continuum of life. Needs are different at every stage of life, but the concepts are similar. Health consists not just physical health, but it also encompasses the psycho-social and emotional aspects. ‘Serving the community’ is also what drew me to be a part of SATA, and to be given an opportunity to give back is indeed a privilege!

       

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