Beyond the call of duty

Being a medical professional gives Ms Cheryl Seet special opportunities to really help someone.

A senior staff nurse with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Ms Seet, 25, recalls a previous incident when a man had a seizure in public, and everyone around him was afraid to help.

Being trained to deal with such a medical emergency, Ms Seet stepped forward and turned him on his side, known as a recovery position. His condition improved soon after.

That was not the only time she has gone to someone’s aid off duty. She says: “I was surprised that I was so calm during these incidents. My nursing knowledge enabled me to help someone at a critical time.”

Nursing has also made her more self-confident and, consequently, more willing to reach out and help people.

Taking chances
The desire to help others is in her blood, and it led Ms Seet to a career where caring is an essential part of her day.

Even though she privately felt that her grades were not up to scratch, she took a leap of faith and applied for the SingHealth Nursing Degree Scholarship in 2011. To her delight, she was successful.

Ms Seet says: “I think there is a misconception that you must have stellar grades to be awarded a scholarship. The panel takes a holistic view of a candidate for the scholarship — it considers your co-curricular activities, leadership qualities, communication skills and passion for nursing.”

She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Nursing (Merit), and appreciates that it enabled her to study without worrying about the costly course fees.

She says: “It is a privilege that I was offered this scholarship and I am grateful to Sing-Health. I was able to focus on studying, and even had a monthly allowance that enabled me to live comfortably and even give something back to my parents.”

Hands-on experience
As part of her course, Ms Seet was posted to various hospitals to gain practical experience, with each stint lasting one to two weeks.

There, she experienced nursing life in the different wards that specialised in surgical, gynaecological, neonatal and paediatric, and geriatric medicine.

While the stints were “both nerve-wracking and eye-opening”, because she was exposed to a wide range of cases, she is also grateful she picked up practical skills by working closely with on-duty nurses and through interactions with patients.

She adds: “Beyond the hands-on training, I also saw the nurses’ passion and heart for their work. Even today, I remember the kindness of these nurses as they spoke to their patients, and I feel so proud to emulate them in my job,” she adds.