Exploring a Career in Nursing
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Nursing, a time-tested profession, is well respected in many developed nations. To become a nurse, one must not only be skilled and knowledgeable but also have the right attitude and core values to serve and care for those who are unable to care for themselves.
The roles of nurses have evolved over the years. Without demeaning the roles of doctors, today, nurses, are no longer viewed as just doctors’ assistants. The functions of nurses have expanded and are more holistic; counsellors to patients and their families, caregivers, perform diagnostic tests, educate patients about management of illnesses, and more.
Olive Louisa Lopez, Head of School of Nursing, Nilai University did not mince her words and stressed that she continuously reminds students, they must approach nursing with their heart and mind. The School of Nursing display this motto and uphold it earnestly.
Carrie Chin Jia Wen and Lareina Chang Kuuan Yi, graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Hons) in 2015, held on to this sound advice till today and carried out their professional duties intently. After working in a hospital in Singapore for over two years, Carrie and Lariena are pursuing the Masters in Business Administration at Nilai University.
Unwavering professional integrity
When they were working in Singapore, both felt they could uphold their professional integrity and follow-through all medical procedures meticulously and conscientiously.
“You need to swab the tube with alcohol for 5 seconds and not less. Follow through each step diligently when dressing a wound too. Do it correctly. No short cuts!” commented Lareina in a serious tone.
“Even though patients may not be aware, professional integrity is important. Our lecturers always emphasised and stressed that we need to follow the procedures step-by-step and skip none.” concurred Carrie.
“There is always a reason these steps are required. It prevents infection,” adds Lareina. Another advice that Lareina has treasured is evidence-based nursing; a nurse must always observe and act on evidence.
“Working in the Singapore health care system widen my perspective about nursing. Over in Singapore, patients’ care is holistic. They expect nurses to consider the overall lifestyle of a patient, even after discharging a patient”, said Lareina.
Coping with death is another crucial aspect of the nursing profession. Besides professional integrity, a nurse must continue to love, to give, to heal, and to nurture, despite the unwarranted outcomes and endings.
Carrie felt sad when she first experienced a patient’s death. After being counselled by another colleague, she picked herself up and pledged to do her best for all her patients. “That incident changed my point-of-view about death. I make it a point to ensure that patients are comfortable, especially those who are frail,” said Carrie.
“Committing our best is always important. You never know what will happen to a patient,” stressed Lareina. During one of her posting in Shah Alam, she sponged a patient thoroughly from top to toe. The next day, she received news that the patient has passed on, and her ward-charge commended her for giving the patient a thorough bath.
“At least I have contributed, making the patient comfortable in her final hour,” mentioned Lareina.
Transiting to a Multi-Cultural Environment
The diverse environment at Nilai University prepared both of them for the real world. Carrie mentioned that their exposure to the various culture at Nilai University, helped her to adjust quickly and settled into the workplace. “My colleagues were from China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Singapore, so I had to handle different expectations and communicate tactfully to each one,” Carrie admitted.
Carrie further explained that during their discussions in classes at Nilai University, the lecturers would urge them to resolve all issues that arise with their local and foreign course mates, there must always be closure and solution.
“Oh, yes! Our lecturers will coach us how to communicate effectively and respectfully to our course mates when we have disagreements and be ready to step into another person’s shoes emphatically. The lecturers will use models, such as the Johari window to help us see how to resolve disagreements,” clarified Lareina.
The fine-line between life and death
Lareina claimed that working under a structured health care system in Singapore pushes her to think independently. While sitting next to her grandmother, she heard her grandma wheezing and noticed that she had shortness of breath. Immediately, Lareina brought her grandmother to the hospital.
Her grandmother was hospitalised and later, intubated. Lareina and Carrie stayed on to care for her grandmother. “With our medical experience and knowledge, my grandmother didn’t suffer further complications, such as bedsores. Being a nurse gave me the knowledge to act confidently and promptly, keeping my loved ones safe and well,” gestured Lareina.
Now, this bright and dynamic duo are pursuing their Masters in Business Administration at Nilai University. They claimed to have a better overview of management. Learning organisational management gave Carrie a better understanding to manage people with different expectations.
On the other hand, Lareina was excited about all the courses in the programme. After undergoing this programme, she understands the basis of human resources planning. The elements of the courses gave her different insights.
Ready to take on a career in health care?
Do you have what it takes? If not, you can develop these skills along the way. Having talent does not guarantee success. A positive outlook and the willingness to sharpen our gifts overtime may secure success and fulfilment in life.
“It takes time to develop empathy. Foremost, one should have sympathy and be an active listener,” advised Carrie.
“Always be curious. Do not set limits but be aware of boundaries. Explore all areas of nursing. Try to understand more about a patient’s condition. Analyse why certain procedures are paramount,” proclaimed Lareina.
“Also, when selecting a university to study nursing, select a university that has good lecturers. Good lecturers could ignite passion,” said Lareina.
“Being a nurse is rewarding and fulfilling as it is also tiring. It takes some time to unwind after duty. Watching a good movie helps me to relax after work,” hinted Carrie.
Idealistically, Lareina hoped that more mothers who are nurses would pass on the torch to their children. Then, retired nurses will have better geriatric care. Older nurses will retire, and it would be ideal to have sufficient younger nurses to fill this gap.
In an article published by The STAR on 4/6/2019, Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, said Malaysia lacked nurses, given the World Health Organisation’s optimum number is one nurse per 200 patients.
Indefinitely, the nursing profession will never go out of style, and it will continue to offer qualified nurses stable employment with opportunities to venture overseas. Some alumni of Nilai University’s Nursing School have taken on established positions in Singapore, Australia, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, and the United States of America.
Nilai University offers Diploma in Nursing and Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Nursing. The former is a 3-year programme while the latter is a 4-year programme. Nilai University and several private hospitals are offering up to 100% scholarships or sponsorships. Students who wish to apply for scholarships or sponsorships could visit Nilai University’s Scholarship Day on 29th and 30th June 2019. The education counsellors will guide, assess and assist students to apply either for a scholarship or sponsorship. Please call 06-850 2308 for an appointment or click on www.nilai.edu.my or visit the campus in Nilai. Nilai University is open seven days a week except for public holidays. Ask for a campus tour or schedule to meet the experienced lecturers from the School Of Nursing.