Staff nurse (SN) Sim Ping Hua, 27, has experienced the happiness of nursing his patients back to health.
“Nursing is a calling, which brings great joy when I see my patients recuperate and get well after a bad illness or injury,” he says.
After deciding to pursue nursing as a career, SN Sim took up the Health Science Scholarship in 2012, studying for his Bachelor of Science (Nursing) degree at the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
The scholarship is now known as Healthcare Merit Scholarship (HMS) and is given by MOH Holdings, the holding company of Singapore’s public healthcare clusters.
In addition to learning about the multitude of diseases, NUS’ curriculum had a strong focus on care for patients and the development of skills such as critical thinking.
“Nursing is a practical hands-on job in a patient-fronting role,” says SN Sim. His studies involved many practical sessions, including simulations where nursing students worked alongside medical students to mimic actual clinical conditions and to learn from each other.
Keen to put the knowledge he gained in the classroom to good use in the community, SN Sim volunteered in health screening activities organised by the university’s medical and nursing faculties.
His volunteer activities also took him to Indonesia, where he conducted health screenings and provided health education in schools, public places and even on the radio in Northern Sumatra.
He also took part in NUS’ overseas summer exchange programme in Taiwan. There, he saw how the Taiwanese healthcare system incorporates alternative therapies like acupuncture and cupping with conventional treatments in their hospitals.
SN Sim has worked for threeand- a-half years in Jurong Health Services (JurongHealth), Singapore’s public healthcare cluster for the West, first at Alexandra Hospital and now Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
He is currently attached to the High Dependency (HD)/Intensive Care Unit (ICU), caring for critically ill patients.
“Working in the ICU is challenging as we have to be ever ready to react to any unexpected turn of events,” he adds.
SN Sim says: “HD and ICU patients require much more specialised care and I assess, plan, implement and evaluate the care provided by exercising my critical thinking abilities and nursing skills and knowledge.
“I work closely with other healthcare professionals including doctors, respiratory therapists and physiotherapists, and we deliberate the best care for these patients.”
His stint in the ICU has given him many deep impressions reinforcing the importance of his work. A young man was in his care after a traffic accident where he sustained severe head trauma. Requiring extensive treatment and care, being close to death several times, the patient has since recovered completely.
He later returned to the hospital to personally thank SN Sim and the healthcare team.
To further its nurses’ skills and abilities, JurongHealth has structured job rotations. SN Sim is looking forward to his planned rotation to the Emergency Department.
He says: “This is a good exposure for me, not only in terms of knowledge and skills but to develop a better understanding of the nature of my nursing colleagues’ work in the Emergency Department. I can also share with my ICU colleagues their challenges and with that understanding be more accommodative when they sent patients to ICU.”
SN Sim advises those aspiring to take up the HMS to be “proactive in learning”, both before and after graduation.
“It is important to have a positive attitude and keep learning, because as a fresh graduate in nursing, you will have to pick up the ropes fast and realise that actual clinical grounds can be quite different from what you are exposed to in university,” he says.
The hospital also supports its staff’s learning journey with a wide range of professional development programmes and individualised training roadmaps.