During these tough times, health workers and other frontliners around the world are putting their lives on the line to fight the battle against the coronavirus. Here's one local nurse's story and why we all have a duty to #flattenthecurve...
Across the world, doctors, nurses and other health workers put their lives on their line every single day as they battle against a common enemy – the coronavirus – to keep all of us safe. They are ‘frontliners’, working at the forefront of the coronavirus outbreak and, as a consequence, putting their own health, relationships and families at risk. For this, we are incredibly grateful.
Our duty? To play our part in helping #flattenthecurve. We can do that by staying at home, practising social distancing, frequently washing our hands and following all the latest measures from the MOH. It’s such a small part to play in comparison to people like Jonathan, a 28-year-old staff nurse from a general hospital in Singapore, who puts in extra (sometimes unpaid) hours so all of us can stay safe. Here’s his story:
A day in the life of a nurse
I work in an inpatient surgical ward, which means I’m in charge of patients before and after their surgeries. In between doing my regular nursing duties, I talk to my patients and see how they’re doing. I also work with the medical team and other healthcare professionals to assess and review care plans. Sometimes, we encounter difficult situations like a violent patient or demanding relatives or a clinical crisis where a patient is deteriorating, requiring prompt medical treatment. And that’s my typical day at work – pre-frontline of the coronavirus.
As demanding as it all sounds, I love being able to care for people when they need it the most. Seeing my patients get better and happier makes me really happy.
I became a nurse because I had a near-death experience when I was younger. Because of this, I made a commitment to dedicate my life to helping others. I picked nursing and never looked back. Back then, I had no idea what I was in for. Though nursing is a tough career and there have been low points in my journey, there are many instances where patients come up to me and thank me for my help. That keeps me going and increases my motivation to be a better nurse for my patients.
Think that’s tough? Here’s what it’s like now…
My work environment has become stricter – there are more protocols to follow, especially since we’re at the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus. Infection control policies have increased and everyone is following them religiously to ensure our patients’ safety. There are also more regulations of patient movements within the hospital and lots of screening.
Despite all the new, stricter safety precautions, I worry that I might be exposed to a patient with the coronavirus. There’s always a risk of someone slipping through the cracks. Working in a hospital, there’s always a risk of contracting the virus. There was this one guy who was admitted to our ward and upon admission, he was screened as a low-risk carrier of the coronavirus. But he kept complaining to his son that he was feeling feverish and thought he might have it. After a few days, he developed pneumonia. He was promptly isolated in our isolation ward.
What frontliners worry about
I think we haven’t seen the worst of the virus in Singapore yet and there are definitely going to be more patients with the coronavirus. On our end, we are preparing for a surge in coronavirus patients. We will work longer hours and have heavier patient loads. And that is going to be quite taxing on our frontliners who are already working as hard they can. I worry about the quality of care we can provide in the event of a surge.
On social distancing and #flatteningthecurve
Everyone should do their part and realise that by practising social distancing, they are literally saving the lives of the people around them. We should all do our part to stay at home when we can and follow MOH regulations.
What really helps frontliners during the coronavirus
My parents are constantly checking on my well-being everyday and making sure I’m alright. They know what I’m doing is important and I’m grateful for their support. They even cook me healthy meals and make sure I have enough sleep. Trying to stay healthy when you’re on the frontline is really important. It’s the best thing we can do for ourselves and our patients.
To win the battle against the coronavirus, everyone needs to do their part to #flattenthecurve. Whether it’s by practising social distancing, or serving our SHNs or quarantine orders, we should remember that our healthcare workers should not be on the frontline of this fight. They should be the last.