The nursing profession in Singapore is occasionally misunderstood and often underappreciated.
So much so a nursing student had to come out to openly defend the future profession of her choice on social media in November last year.
We spend half of every uni holidays at hospitals for attachments, waking up as early as 5am and knocking off as late as 9pm. During our breaks, we scroll through Instagram, enviously looking at people shopping in Hong Kong, soaking in the sun at Bali or eating good food at Bangkok. We spend our holidays in the hospitals trying to learn how to apply what we have learnt. We learn how to talk to patients, how to talk to their relatives and how to work with other fellow healthcare colleagues.
According to her, nursing entails dedication, long hours, extensive medical and procedural knowledge that is on par with the information doctors possess, and most importantly, the need to cultivate the human touch in treating patients who they spend a majority of their time with.
Essentially, without nurses, doctors and patients are helpless.
Therefore, what can be changed to alter the public perception of the noblest of noble vocations in society?
Here are two recent posts on this newfangled social media thing that went up this past week that give a first-person account of how nurses see their profession and what they think of what they do:
Esther Fan, Senior Staff Nurse, Medical Intensive Care Unit
"What?! You mean you have to clean up dead bodies?" is a common question posed to me when I share with others what my job entails.
Most people see it as a dirty and scary task, and honestly I was as shocked as everyone else when I first learnt that I had to do that.
But over the years, school and daily work taught me to view things in a different light. It is no longer scary or dirty. I see myself cleaning the hands of a father who once held the hands of his child, the face of a mother whose smile her children will never forget...
What may seem like an empty vessel once contained the soul of a person, a person very precious to his/her loved ones. I don't know what I did to deserve the privilege of doing this last favour for my patients.
Carmen Poon, Senior Staff Nurse, Emergency Department
In our daily interaction with patients, I have learned a great deal from them. I've come to realise, I am a nurse because of them. So as we commend the role and contribution of nurses, let’s also remember the patients who have moulded us into the nurse we are today. ⠀⠀
In the warzone where time is of the essence, we train to be sturdy, efficient and fast soldiers. In this process, I find myself becoming more task-orientated, sometimes forgetting that I am dealing with lives. I rush off to triage patients, after having just assisted in the removal of the spontaneous abortion of a patient; I take another emergency standby after performing last office. Fortunately and unfortunately, my patients and their family sometimes breakdown and cry, baring their vulnerable selves to me - that snaps me out of the crazy rat race, reminding me that I am witnessing intimate moments of my patients' lives. It is these moments whereby nursing jabs back a dose of humanity back into my life.
The main reason we became nurses when we first started was a heart for the sick, ill and dying. We wanted to heal them, make their lives better, ease their pain and be there for them. Let our patients continue to be the inspiration and motivation for our work. Despite all odds, their welfare and outcomes will be our utmost priority.
So, the perennial question is: Is this initiative paid for by the authorities?
The "about us" details on their Facebook page do not say much.
But who cares? Sounds like a good initiative.
Do you know a nurse who would like to be featured? Get in touch with them now.