Kuhananthan Nanthakumar holds an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and MSc in Engineering Management from Anglia Ruskin University. He is currently very happy working with IHH Healthcare Malaysia under its Management Associate Programme (MAP), an 18-month programme wherein associates will receive on-the-job training through departmental rotations in a hospital within IHH Healthcare Malaysia’s network of 16 hospitals consisting of Prince Court Medical Centre, Pantai and Gleneagles hospitals. Amongst other objectives, this programme provides an opportunity to gain a robust understanding of hospital operations through action-based learning at hospital level projects – which is exactly what Kuhananthan is excited about! He tells us why.
Tell us about your first day as a Management Associate.
Walking into a hospital as a staff instead of as a patient or visitor was a whole new experience for me. Understandably, I was nervous. The first person I met was an executive from the Housekeeping Department, a very bubbly character who welcomed me with a warm smile as I approached her for directions to the HR department. I could not have felt more welcomed on my first day. Through this encounter, I realised how a mere smile can make someone’s day. During my walkabout on that very first day, I saw many vibrant faces of the hospital’s employees exhilarated and smiling with a readiness to assist. This gave me a sense of excitement with something to look forward to every day.
What are three of your favourite highlights as a Management Associate.
The first would be during my attachment with the Engineering Department. I was given the opportunity to really explore the hospital as a whole and see things in a different light from an internal point of view. I also got to learn where things went and how they work. For example, I was exposed to the Chiller, Cooling Tower, and other sorts of machines that were essentially what the hospital ran on. This experience was very valuable as it was pivotal to my understanding of the role the Engineering Department plays in the hospital. I realised that the knowledge I gained back when I was studying mostly only covered the technical and theoretical aspects of it. Now, I firmly believe that practical exposure is highly valuable.
The second highlight would be during my attachment to the Business Office/Front Desk. A patient had approached me regarding the delay of being taken to the room after completing the admission paperwork. He relayed his displeasure at having to wait and I presumed he was probably bearing a lot of pain. It came to me as a bit of a shock as I had someone suddenly approach me that way. This was when I learnt how important it is to listen attentively and be able to provide the appropriate feedback to the patient without further upsetting them. This taught me that patient care plays a major role in healthcare, right from the very beginning when a patient steps foot into the hospital. Through this encounter, I have a clearer understanding of one of IHH Healthcare’s five Core Values, which is Patients First.
The third would be during my attachment with the Nursing Department. The most valuable highlight for me, someone equipped with an engineering background, was learning about and gaining exposure to nursing. I was able to witness a code blue call and watched first-hand as nurses saved a patient's life and how they worked together as a team to respond to the call. The experience of witnessing someone's life being saved right in front of my eyes is truly a memorable one. I also valued the moments where I got to speak to patients, listening to them share stories about their lives, why they were being admitted, and just about their general wellbeing. Through this, I learnt that trust is the cornerstone of all our relationships with our patients.