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Nursing Webinars: Insights on Future Roles of Nurses and Challenges in Combating the Pandemic

17 Aug 2021

It is an undeniable fact that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system not only in Malaysia but globally as well. Currently, with the COVID-19 pandemic situation, nurses who are the frontliners were not spared from its effects, be it directly or indirectly. The immense sacrifice, invaluable dedication, commitment, and unwavering efforts of all healthcare providers including nurses, in managing this pandemic are highly regarded by the Ministry of Health Malaysia, World Health Organisation and International Council of Nurses (ICN).

Hence, the ICN has set the theme for this year’s International Nurses Day 2021 as “A Voice to Lead-A Vision for Future Healthcare”. This theme reflects the recognition of nurses as dedicated leaders with diversified roles in providing continuous care and services to all patients.

The celebration of International Nurses Day started in 1965 by the International Council of Nurses (ICN). 12 May is the birth anniversary of the famous Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who is best known as “The Lady with the Lamp”, and the founder of modern nursing.

In conjunction with the celebration of International Nurses Day, within this challenging period of pandemic, the IMU Nursing Division had successfully organised a series of two webinars.

Two Webinars Conducted in Conjunction with International Nurses Day
 Care Beyond the Bedside: Success Stories of Nursing Alumni 25 May 2021 (Tuesday)
 Combating the War of Pandemic: Nurses vs Viruses 25 June 2021 (Friday)

The first webinar was aimed to provide a platform to highlight nurses’ advanced roles in healthcare through the real-life experiences shared by three IMU nursing alumni. The three invited speakers are graduates from IMU’s Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) programme. They shared their journey and how they managed to shine vividly and achieve their dreams in various fields of nursing practices in the United States, Germany as well as locally here in Malaysia.

Evelyn Chang QingJun (cohort NU1/11 graduate)

Evelyn, a Registered Nurse Anaesthetist who is currently practising at ISAR Klinikum, Munich, Germany shared on her journey from bedside care to operating room and how she embarked into the speciality of Anaesthetic Nursing.

More on Evelyn’s journey: Working as a Nurse in Germany

Rachel Kang Ker Huang (cohort NU1/06 graduate)

The second speaker, Rachel, shared on her remarkable and yet challenging journey as a Palliative Nurse Practitioner at Reading Hospital, Pennsylvania, USA.

More on Rachel’s journey: Working as a Palliative Nurse Practitioner in the US: The Journey of an IMU Nursing Alumna

As nurses are the vision for future healthcare, other than contributing towards hospital-based or community-based care, our third alumna chose to be a nurse-turned entrepreneur.

Valerie Lee (NU1/08 graduate)

Valerie remains true to her nursing roots and shared on how she decided to use her immense critical care nursing training and experiences, to take up the challenge to be a nursing supervisor for a mobile and home healthcare service company.

More on Valerie’s journey: Nurse Entrepreneur: IMU Alumna Turns Love for Nursing into Business Venture

This first webinar received overwhelming responses with 105 participants from various hospitals and colleges attending the session.

The second webinar on “Combating the War of Pandemic: Nurses vs Viruses” was conducted right at the time when our beloved country is in the MCO 3.0 phase. Four notable experienced speakers representing the private, public and community healthcare settings, were invited to share their real-life experiences fighting against deadliest viruses of COVID-19.

Four Speakers of “Combating the War of Pandemic: Nurses vs Viruses” Webinar
Kalai Selvi Kumaresen, an Infection Control Manager from IHH Healthcare Malaysia The first speaker, Kalai Selvi Kumaresen, shared her enormous tasks in setting up standard practices and her roles in managing patients with COVID-19 in the hospitals as well as setting up one of the mega vaccination centres in Kuala Lumpur.
Matron Sri Jayanthi A/P Gobalan, is one of the pioneer and Chief Nursing Officer in setting up the 94-bedded COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at the first full-COVID hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital The second speaker, Matron Sri Jayanthi, shared her feelings, challenges and emphasised on the need to be resilient, creative, and ready to face future unpredictable changes and uncertainties, such as making good use of every single inch of the hospital floors including corridors, in handling the overflow of critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to the hospital.
Sister Natrah Mohd Rafiin, an experienced Infection Control Nurse Manager from Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital Seremban Sister Natrah Mohd Rafiin shared her views and challenges in converting general wards into COVID-19 isolation wards with limited resources and manpower. Sister Natrah also shared her roles and responsibilities in setting up Low Risk Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centers (PKRC) in the state of Negeri Sembilan.
Elvina Lau Yuh Harn, IMU Nursing alumna from Bachelor of Nursing Science (Hons) cohort NS119 Last but not the least, Elvina shared her unique challenges in combating the pandemic at a community health clinic in Sibu, Sarawak. According to Elvina, trying to convince the natives residing at the rural areas to come forward for COVID-19 screening and vaccination is her greatest challenge. In addition, finding ways to reach the community at rural villages is another huge challenge as nurses need to travel a long way via dangerous winding untarred roads or riding on a small boat with full protective garments, under the hot sun just to reach rural villages or longhouses. The most worrying part was, nurses can only pray hard and hope that the river which is the only route to reach the rural community, does not have crocodiles underneath!

This webinar had sparked great interest among participants from various backgrounds with a total of 195 participants attending the session.

Both webinars ended successfully with positive responses and feedback received from participants. On a Likert scale of 4 (Excellent; Good; Average; Poor), more than 60% of participants from both webinars rated “Excellent” on the usefulness of topics/contents and organisation of the webinars.

The organising committee would like to express its utmost gratitude for the great support rendered from the speakers, IMU staff and most importantly, all the respected participants who had joined the sessions.

We hope that these webinars had enlightened the participants on the contribution, sacrifices and inspire all fellow nurses that together, we can overcome any challenges including this pandemic. Together we stand and we will achieve more!

Written by Chow Suh Hing

Edited by Dr Lim Swee Geok & Yee Bit Lian

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