“As healthcare professionals, we must have a heart, compassion and empathy to build relationships and trust with our patients to achieve better outcomes and change.
One of my more memorable cases was building rapport with a resident living with dementia and would not communicate with anyone in the ward. According to the nurses, this resident would sit at a corner near the window and spent most of her time staring out of the window. She refused to participate in all activities conducted by the care staff.
When my colleague and I visited the dementia ward, this resident smiled at me and her face glowed, to everyone’s surprise. She held my hands and said ‘chantek’ (which means beautiful in Malay). Then, she touched my embroidered blouse. We realised then that she was attracted to the embroidery on my blouse.
I sat with her and she started to tell me stories about her life. She’s a Peranakan and used to sew embroidered traditional Peranakan clothes. We got some of her embroidered clothes from her relative and let her wear it in the nursing home. Through this experience, I managed to build rapport with her and also encouraged her to participate in various group activities such as handicrafts making. This encounter showed that to better look after our patients, we need to understand their needs and life history. Technical knowledge alone is not enough.
I am honoured to receive the Nurses’ Merit Award, and thankful for the recognition given. This achievement will inspire me to do better for our community.”