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From a Registered Nurse to a Health Operation Manager: Passion Brings You Further in Life

03 Mar 2021

In October 2012, IMU News featured Harnesh Kaur after she was crowned Miss Malaysia Indian Global 2012. She has progressed in leaps and bounds since then. After all these years, we managed to catch up with Harnesh and are proud to feature Harnesh, an IMU Nursing graduate who graduated in  2010 in this article. Let’s hear from Harnesh on her journey from a registered nurse to her current position as a Health Operation Manager at Shell Malaysia. What were your experiences during your days in IMU? With her natural tendencies of being inquisitive, active and driven, IMU provided her a wonderful platform to grow and transform holistically. “IMU provided me many opportunities and also an avenue to explore and try different things. I was appointed as the Vice President of Health Sciences for the Student Representative Council. That experience, for instance, really opened my eyes to how important collaboration with fellow healthcare partners/members was going to be like, such as with future doctors, pharmacists, dentists, dieticians, etc. I call them stakeholders now in my current work.” The interdisciplinary environment in IMU allowed her to not only excel on the academic front, but also blossom personally and professional.

“My clinical postings and internships had also been another memorable yet rewarding experience whilst in IMU. Looking back, in my last semester, a particular internship with the Breast Cancer Awareness Welfare Association, has allowed me to discover my passion for community work and promotion of health awareness to the public.”

How was the journey after your graduation from Nursing degree? “After graduation, just like any other fresh graduate, I was gearing up for the challenges offered in the actual working world. The first job offer I received was from Singapore, and I took it up instantly. To date, I have found memories of Singapore, and thoroughly enjoyed my career and personal journey there.”

According to Harnesh, “Working in Singapore provided great exposure for me. I had the chance to work with people from various backgrounds. Career wise, the environment was different from the one I had experienced in Malaysia. The expectation and demands were different.” “However, due to the excellent IMU Nursing curriculum, I was able to blend in well with the fast-paced Singapore healthcare system and culture. During my four years working in Singapore, I was able to be agile and keep up with the advanced medical technologies deployed in the patient care settings, as well as cope with the high standards expected from healthcare professionals.”

In her frank manner, she also remarked, “Who says nurses can’t do all the funs stuff besides just doing clinical work?” Harnesh was actively involved in choreographing dances for Cultural Events in the Hospital. Besides that, she was also part of the cast of Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s first ever Musical choir group, and successfully managed to raise funds for the underprivileged. “I had to dance and sing! Not exactly something you would expect from a conventional nurse, but it was great fun!” After you were crowned the title of Miss Malaysia Indian Global 2012, what was the inspiration that keep you coming back to Nursing?

“After emerging victorious, and crowned a beauty queen, I sensed the glamour and fame from winning a competition was only temporary. Of course, there were opportunities to diverge into the media industry and create a career pathway there, but I realized that my profession as a nurse/ healthcare professional allowed me to feel grounded and truly maximize my capabilities. I was always attuned to social causes and community work and felt that continuing my journey in the health and community field would allow me more opportunities to serve and grow professionally.”

What are your current challenges as a Health Operation Manager? “As a Health Operation Manager, every day presents itself with its own set of unique challenges, as I look after many different stakeholders’ interests and business units.” “In this role, there is a need for me to apply my medical knowledge, clinical nursing experience and health principles to the best interest of the company, employees and customers in general. This is a specialty most commonly known as Occupational Health.” “I do enjoy my role very much, as I constantly need to be on my toes, finding creative ways and staying fluid when engaging with my stakeholders. Mind you, they are healthy people who have different priorities at hand and health may not be top on their list!” “I would say the ‘nurse’ in me and the years of rigorous training, caring for my patients and family members during my clinical years, have stood me in good stead when dealing with such engagements.” “Even though I do not perform any hands-on clinical tasks now, I am always required to be alert and to be able to anticipate any health-related hazard/issue, and deploy different strategies depending on the issues at hands.” “As an example, when the Covid-19 infection hit the world, it was a very challenging situation which called for multiple strategies in dealing with the pandemic that was spreading like wildfire. As the business and stakeholders were keen to ensure their services and activities were not affected adversely during this pandemic, I had to use all nursing and public health training and perspective to support the company and strategize accordingly. This include deployment of health promotion activities to care for the staff virtually, ensuring necessary SOP’s were in place and covered all activities carried out by employees, as well as risk mitigating procedures to ensure any possible occurrence of an outbreak is prevented.”

FAMILY LIFE A graduate of IMU’s Bachelor of Nursing and IMU’s Master of Science in Public Health, Harnesh, is also a mummy to her 4-year-old son Jay and 2-year-old daughter Jesleen. When asked how does she juggle a full-time career while taking an active role as a mother, she shares that balancing work and a family is no easy feat, but her kids are her biggest teachers in her life and continue to inspire her to do her best every single day.

Prepared by Yee Bit-Lian Edited by Dr Lim Swee Geok Related article: IMU Graduate Wins Miss Malaysia Indian Global Beauty Pageant

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