Being a nurse makes Ms Jeannie Chiam thankful and appreciative of the life she leads
GOOD communication, empathy and warm smiles help staff nurse Jeannie Chiam, 23, to win the hearts and minds of children at National University Hospital (NUH) and their parents.
Senior colleagues in the general paediatric ward provide the guidance for her to build trust and rapport with patients who may not be in the best frame of mind.
“We try to put ourselves in their shoes and elaborate on what is to be done or being done to help them,” she says, adding: “They can listen and cope a great deal better.
“I can appreciate that parents are anxious and they all want the best for their children. I always bear this in mind and try to be more empathetic.
“Sometimes, just having someone to listen to them is really what the relatives of patients want. Being sincere and empathetic really helps.”
Ms Chiam was awarded a Ministry of Health scholarship when she was in her first year at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies.
She joined NUH in August last year after getting a degree in nursing.
Her paternal grandmother encouraged her to be a nurse because it would be a stable profession.
As a nurse, Ms Chiam must know some physiotherapy, psychology, pharmacology and the basics of physiology and medical social work.
She takes care of patients’ needs, assists doctors and handles administrative work and follow-ups with physiotherapists, radiologists and other medical professionals.
Nursing is not a routine job for Ms Chiam, who has to handle different patients who need varying treatments.
“I am constantly learning,” she says, adding: “I work in a cheery environment. The walls in the ward are painted with bright colours. “There are always children around and their presence always puts a smile on my face.
“I really appreciate the camaraderie among my colleagues, especially when it is busy on some shifts. We look out for each other, even if it is as simple as helping someone to buy lunches or dinners.”
She adds that the nurse managers are very maternal, and they share valuable advice and experience with
younger nurses like her.
“It helps me to be more confident when I take care of my patients or when I interact with their parents.
“I really like it when patients, their parents and care-givers are genuinely grateful and appreciate what nurses and doctors do.
“It makes me feel that what I do is meaningful and worthwhile.”
Ms Chiam’s experience in nursing contributes to her being constantly thankful and appreciative of the life she is leading.
She is also less squeamish and not so easily alarmed by stomach upsets, colds, fevers and other common ailments.
A good nurse, she says, must be decisive, compassionate and resilient.
Ms Chiam adds: “Resilience is really important. It allows you to recover readily from any perceived adversity, and to grow and develop optimally as a person and as a professional.”
Cleaning up a dirty wound and plastering it neatly is a source of personal satisfaction for Ms Chiam.
“It gives me a sense of a job well done,” she says. “This is especially when I have to take care of scoliosis patients with long surgical wounds centralised on their backs.
“Nurses in the paediatric ward often have to be very patient. During some procedures, the patients may be frightened and we have to reassure them and their parents.”