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Veteran is role model

  Sunday, 01 l 08 l 2010 Source:  The Sunday Times   
By: Theresa Tan

Senior nurse educator Giam Poh Eng, with nearly four decades of experience, now helps to train recruits in nursing skills

role modelWHEN Ms Giam Poh Eng tells her friends and relatives she is a nurse educator, often she is met with blank stares.

So the veteran of 39 years says her job is a “nurse teacher”.

It is a role that allows the 55-year-old senior nurse educator at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) to marry both her dreams of teaching and nursing.

Ms Giam, who has a master’s degree in clinical education, says: “It’s very rewarding to impart my skills and knowledge, to see nurses learn and grow.”

One of her key duties is to conduct orientation programmes for new nurses, who are nursing diploma holders fresh from the polytechnics, and foreign recruits.

The eight-week course grounds them in nursing skills and knowledge. For example, if a nurse is working in the children’swards, she would be taught all about babies and children and how to care for them.

And the lessons are often hands-on.

Besides the classroom sessions, the new nurses are supervised in the wards.

There are also simulation sessions, for example, where nurses learn how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation on mannequins.

For trained nurses, Ms Giam imparts more skills and knowledge to help them do their job better. For instance, they are taught how to administer certain vaccinations for newborns or be educated on illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.

A nurse educator for seven years, Ms Giam also conducts reflective thinking workshops. She says: “These workshops help nurses to develop critical thinking skills. With such skills, they can decide what is best for that particular patient as no two patients are alike.”

A senior staff nurse at KKH, Ms Ng Chiew Mei, 30, sees Ms Giam as her mentor and “role-model”.

”Nurse Giam is very approachable and motherly. I can always call her for advice, such as how to handle patients,” says Ms Ng.

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