More Than A Hero

As the saying goes, “Save one life, you're a hero. Save a hundred lives, you're a nurse.” Kudos to our five superheroes from IHH Singapore who won the prestigious Ministry of Health Nurses’ Merit Award 2021. To Anparasi Muthu Veerappan, Tan Jilin, Say Poh Kin, Siti Samira Bte Kassim and Eileen Chua-Tiang: Thank you on behalf of the many lives you’ve touched.

Anparasi Muthu Veerappan, Nurse Manager, Gleneagles Hospital

For Anparasi, witnessing the death of an infant on the operating table was the turning point in her career. From then on, she was determined to do everything she could for patients to return healthily to their families. Her nursing journey over the last 34 years was a tumultuous one filled with ups and downs - sadness whenever she sees a patient pass on and triumphant moments when a patient gets saved. The COVID-19 pandemic tested her mettle but Anparasi’s mantra is that nursing is always a work-in-progress that keeps her on her toes and is a career that has enriched her in many ways.

Siti Samira Bte Kassim, Nurse Manager, Mount Elizabeth Hospital

Siti’s 14-year journey as a nurse has humbled and given her a broader perspective of life through emotionally challenging situations. She shares an unforgettable and heart-wrenching experience when a terminally ill patient was hospitalised while his family was overseas. His condition deteriorated and before his family could see him for the last time, he passed away. During the patient’s final moments, she was glad to be able to care for and comfort him before he took his last breath. To Siti, every experience is a life-rewarding lesson. As she leads her team through this challenging pandemic journey, she strives to motivate her nurses by sharing how enriching nursing is through her lens.

Tan Jilin, Nurse Manager, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

As an Intensive Care Unit nurse over the last 14 years since she graduated from nursing school, Jilin is no stranger to life, suffering and death. Till this day, she remembers a patient she was attending to back when she was a junior nurse. The patient was admitted for a valve replacement and was healing well post-operation. Jilin attended to her daily and learnt a lot about her family and plans for the future. Unfortunately the patient’s condition deteriorated rapidly one day and despite resuscitation efforts, she passed on. This sudden turn of events dawned on Jilin that life is unpredictable and taught her to cherish every day. A quote she lives by is, “Everyday may not be good but there is something good in every day.”

Say Poh Kin, Senior Nurse Manager, Mount Elizabeth Hospital

As the saying goes, “When you are a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.” Poh Kin vividly recalls an incident when she first started out as a junior nurse in the Endoscopy Unit. There was an emergency case where a patient had upper gastrointestinal bleeding and required a scope. The doctor took an hour to locate the bleeding before he could administer treatment. Her heart was racing as she assisted in administering blood and fluids to keep the patient’s vitals stable. It was a feeling of immense joy and fulfilment when the bleeding stopped. For Poh Kin, these 22 years in nursing and seeing patients recover and reunite with their families gives much meaning to her work.

Eileen Chua-Tiang, Assistant Nurse Clinician, Parkway East Hospital

Eileen is a nurse, midwife and lactation consultant. She thought she had seen and experienced it all, until one time when she had to assist in a spontaneous premature abortion case while she was expecting. After the procedure, she tried to stay strong for the patient who was inconsolable. Suddenly, it dawned on Eileen that seeing her in her advanced state of pregnancy was magnifying the patient’s loss and she immediately asked her colleagues to take over. Eileen shares that nursing is not an easy job but the appreciation and encouragement from her patients are the fuel that keeps her going in her nursing journey.