Healthcare is about a lot more than curing illnesses – it is fundamentally about improving the welfare and well-being of fellow human beings. Beyond treating the sick, healthcare professionals also help patients prevent illness from occurring in the first place, improve and preserve their overall health, and enhance their quality of life.
Embodying this belief is NHG. With the vision of “Adding Years of Healthy Life”, NHG aims to help people live long and healthy lives through thoughtful and dignified care. Helping NHG achieve this vision is Nursing Scholar Cassandra Chen. A Staff Nurse at KTPH, Cassandra has dedicated her career to bettering the lives of her patients.
What attracted you to a scholarship with NHG?
I had found out that KTPH was offering a nursing scholarship during my student attachment in 2010. I had always been attracted to KTPH, being one of the newer hospitals in Singapore which possessed a uniquely therapeutic environment with lush greenery and state-of-the-art facilities. I was ecstatic when I discovered that KTPH would not only sponsor my education, but also provide a comfortable monthly allowance as well. It was an incredibly great opportunity.
Making the commitment to this scholarship is a good starting point for me in my professional development as a nurse as well. I saw the bond as a learning opportunity that also provided much-needed job security!
Tell us about the unique opportunities your scholarship has provided you with.
I was able to experience many things as a fresh graduate which I would not have gotten to if I had not been a scholar. For example, I had the privilege of joining the nursing research team within KTPH. I am also very thankful for the scholarship for allowing me to be financially independent from a young age. With the support provided by KTPH, I was also able to get my university thesis published on a medical journal. Furthermore, I was often involved in many projects and conferences that helped broaden my horizon! The scholarship has opened many doors for me indeed.
Cassandra Chen Siyun
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
What are your main roles and responsibilities?
Firstly, I work in the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) in KTPH. In the morning, we begin by providing basic bedside nursing care to the patients under my watch. We then go on rounds with the doctors to discuss the latest plans for these patients. Contrary to popular belief, nurses are in no way inferior to doctors in the management of patients. Our doctor colleagues greatly value our input and it is a team effort where each of us has a part to play. We work closely with allied health professionals as well, such as physiotherapists as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to provide the best care for patients. We also routinely provide patient education, creating awareness and how family members can help to reduce patients’ modifiable risk factors. Being a neuro-trained nurse, I am also equipped with the knowledge and skills to conduct health assessments and detect early deterioration of my patients, especially in the first few days post-stroke.
Secondly, I am assigned as an infection control link nurse. As part of my duties, I conduct monthly audits in the ward on infection control practices as well as sharing sessions with my colleagues on best practices. Thirdly, I am also part of the nursing research sub-committee in KTPH, which not only does nursing research but also facilitates the conduct of nursing research throughout the hospital.
What motivates you to go to work every day?
The most satisfying part of my job is definitely seeing my patients get better and knowing that I am making a difference in their lives. Since no two patients are the same, this makes the job exciting and keeps me on my toes since every day would be unique. In addition, the amazing team of fellow nurses I work with on a daily basis motivates me to go back to work every day.
Share with us your career aspirations with NHG.
I hope to be an Advance Practice Nurse (APN) in the coming years and play a part in helping to develop evidence-based practice to improve patients’ health outcomes, and promote the advancement of nursing and healthcare in Singapore generally.
What advice would you like to share with aspiring nurses?
Being a nurse is definitely not an easy job, especially since shift work is involved. It would be great to be attached to a hospital for a short stint to gain an idea of the job scope of nurses. Having a good heart which cares for others, a willingness to learn, and a good team player are important attributes to embody to excel as a nurse.