I started my journey at the International Medical University (IMU) in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur to study a Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) in 2008 after I completed my STPM. I spend 4 years of studies where, I would say, there is a good balance of theory and clinical practice. It is never easy for us as it can be mentally stressful (if you do not prepare yourself well), especially when you handle your first patient’s death. In addition, it can be a struggle getting used to the various norms from various hospitals that we are attached to (private hospital vs government hospital). Nevertheless, I still feel that it is worth it to pay the higher fees at IMU as at the end of the day, the quality of education provided ensures that students are readily equipped with skills and knowledge before they step into the real working world. For me, I was very fortunate to already have a job offer even before I completed my final semester. I then decided to take up the job offer from National University Hospital, Singapore before my graduation. I started working there from November 2013 in the Emergency Department. I would say this is the most exciting speciality areas of nursing especially if you are an adrenaline junkie and thrive on a fast-paced working environment. Working as a nurse in the emergency department is not like how it looks in television. There are a lot more drama attached every single day. Like seriously! There is no such thing as a normal routine in the emergency department. There are no two days the same! Well, it does helps to prevent boredom and keeps the job interesting as always. The situation at the emergency department is constantly changing and things move in a very fast pace. IMU has taught me to be prepared mentally when handling stressful situations calmly while also anticipating changes regularly. Additionally, I managed to gain great experience here by seeing all types of injuries and illness. It is certainly very rewarding to play a part in helping someone’s who is in life threatening situations as if it was your “the most important 5 minutes of your life” situations. Unfortunately, not everyone is suited for this high-paced environment. It is indeed very stressful having to deal with patients in a matter of life and death situations and worried relatives. At times, it can be emotionally challenging too as you may encounter families weeping for the death of their loves ones specially those who are victims of violent crimes or tragic accidents. Anyway, the type of patient you see in the emergency department will vary depending on the size of the local population of the city you live in and the size of the emergency department that your hospital can manage.
Throughout all these years, I spend roughly 10 years outside of my comfort zone in Kuching. Be it in Kuala Lumpur or in Singapore. Leaving your family behind indeed causes me to be homesick. Even if I go back to Kuching at least twice a year, I notice that my parents are aging. Being a nurse taught me to appreciate life, especially those who are being dearest to you. They may not last forever.
Visit your family members and cherish them as often as you could, don’t live life full of regrets once they are gone.
Written by Galvin Chung Jia Jun