Why did you choose this scholarship?
My father suffered from liver disease when I was four years old. He was in the hospital for two weeks before he passed on. Even though I was very young then, the picture of how the team of nursing staff kept vigil by his side, doing everything they could for him and the family left a deep impression in my mind.
My mother became the sole breadwinner in our family and I decided that I want to do something meaningful to help in saving lives. Getting this scholarship enables me to fulfill my dream. I was able to experience university life to the fullest by participating in various extracurricular activities without having to worry about financial issues. The NUHS Scholarship is able to nurture its scholarship recipients become the next beacon in public healthcare.
Why did you decide to take up the NUHS Nursing Scholarship? What sets NUH apart from the hospitals that you did your attachments?
NUH has been very supportive of the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine since its inception. We were given proper guidance and preceptorship in the wards we were attached to. The Nurse Educators were always there to provide guidance and conduct briefing sessions for us. I saw how NUH took care of the students who were on attachment and thought that it will value its staff more. Hence, I decided to apply for the NUHS Nursing Scholarship.
What do you think are your strengths that landed you the scholarship?
I did my clinical attachments in a few hospitals before I decided to take up the NUHS Nursing Scholarship. I believe it was my passion and sincerity shown towards the organisation during the interview that secured me the scholarship.
What course did you graduate from? Why did you choose this?
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) honours degree from the NUS. I had wanted to work in the service industry since I was young as I enjoy interacting with people. Nursing fits the criteria and is a very meaningful job as I am able to connect directly with patients and provide them with both clinical and emotional care.
There are not many men who pursue nursing as a career. How do you feel working in an area which is pre-dominantly female?
I think Singapore has progressed and there is a significant number of male nurses here today. Male nurses can do just as well, if not better than our female counterparts. In addition, we have an advantage over female nurses when it comes to certain activities that require strength such as transferring patients, lifting heavy items like dialysis-related fluids, or even holding down an aggressive patient before the patient harms himself or herself.
How is the job market for this course?
If you have the passion to care and serve in the public healthcare sector, career options are plentiful. There are opportunities to advance in career tracks such as management, clinical work and education. Besides serving in the hospitals and polyclinics, nurses can also work in other areas such as policy-making, lecturing in universities/polytechnics and conducting research.
What are the most memorable things that happened in your university life?
My undergrad days with my classmates were my most treasured memories. We were a class of 50 students and we knew one another very well. Organising events like the Freshmen Orientation Camp, Nurses’ Day celebration, etc, together as a class further strengthened our bond. While the students in most other courses were having their semester break, we had to wake up at 5am to go for enriching clinical attachments. We also came together to share our experience and offer support and encouragement for one another.
Describe your role in your company and its challenges.
I attend to patients’ daily needs on their route to recovery, ensuring that they are comfortable. It is even more challenging as I am currently attached to the Intensive Care Unit. I have to be on my toes at all times and knowledge about the patients’ conditions is paramount. I must also be clear about the doctor’s plan and goal for the patient and work towards achieving it together. In addition, I need to be extremely vigilant to the slightest cues that my patients may be deteriorating, and know how to plan and organise for resuscitation of patients in time-sensitive situations.
In addition to our nursing duties, we are also the emotional support pillars to our patients. Many times, the support is also extended to their family members.
Our daily duties are never predictable, I may not know who I will be looking after and the patients’ conditions. Despite these challenges, I enjoy my job as it keeps me thinking all the time, and everyday brings new learning. It is also fulfilling when I see patients recover and are well enough to be transferred to the general wards.
Do you have anecdotes to share? What is your most memorable moment working in the hospital?
We lost a patient to dengue a few months ago, and I was privileged to be able to take care of him on a few occasions. We saw him holding on till the very end and his fighting spirit touched us all. What is more inspiring was his wife – she was by his side throughout the month-long stay, visiting him everyday, encouraging him and giving him the courage to go on. She was ever so appreciative of the doctors and nurses, and often thanked us for our support. When he deteriorated and finally passed on, she did not break down and was quietly sobbing by herself. She will now be the pillar of the household and had to assume the overwhelming responsibilities of supporting her family alone. She managed to compose herself and arranged for casket services as well as thanking us for our care rendered. She was one of the strongest ladies I’ve seen.
What do you love about your job and the company?
Apart from seeing patients recovering and being discharged, I love my job because it enables me to learn meaningful life lessons from my patients and their family members. Every patient is different, and they all have their own stories to tell. Some are really touching and they often remind me to treasure my loved ones.
NUH is an organisation that emphasises training and developing their employees. We are given the opportunities to develop to our fullest potential through the various training programmes and team bonding activities.
What kinds of career and personal developmental opportunities does your company provide for its scholars?
In the first year I joined NUH, I was privileged to join the Graduate Nursing Residency Programme (GNRP). I have learnt a lot from this programme, which has enabled me to perform better as a nurse.
GNRP exposed us to a lot of clinical issues and survival skills which is essential for a new graduate to adapt to working in the ward. Besides that, we were also taught about ethical issues and how to seek help when we are faced with an ethical dilemma. At the end of the programme, we completed an evidence-based project to improve the clinical practice in the ward. I am very honoured to have been chosen and to present my project in an international conference in Thailand.
NUHS Nursing Scholarship
Attained: BSc (Nursing) Hons, from NUS
Now: Staff Nurse, Medical Intensive Care Unit in National University Hospital (NUH)