Care for patients goes beyond hospitals. Learn how this piqued Senior Nurse Manager Yip Shu Min’s interest to make the shift from acute to Community Care.
For Senior Nurse Manager Yip Shu Min, her career in nursing kick-started right after she graduated in 2002. She spent 15 years at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) where she rose through the ranks to become a Nurse Clinician before she transferred to Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH), which is managed by SingHealth Community Hospitals. Today, in her current role at SKCH, she supports the Director of Nursing to oversee nursing operations while ensuring that each patient receives quality care. Find out how Shu Min finds satisfaction in what she does as she bridges care for patients and journeys with them as they return back home and to the community.
mosAIC: Having come from the acute sector, what inspired you to request for a transfer to Community Care?
I asked for a transfer to the Community Care sector as I was curious about patients’ recovery journey after their discharge from an acute hospital. Patients are usually admitted to community hospitals to undergo rehabilitation before returning home. This allows them to regain the ability to resume their daily living activities as much as possible. Working in a community hospital allows me to learn another aspect of patient care. Patients typically stay for a longer period of time in a community hospital so this also gives me the chance to interact with them and get to know them better as individuals.
mosAIC: How do you find meaning in the work that you do?
I find meaning in my line of work in the Community Care sector as I am able to go beyond clinical care and take on a more holistic approach in caring for patients’ well-being. For example, our team has facilitated social activities such as karaoke, mahjong, and reminiscence therapy (a form of therapy for patients with dementia that aims to evoke memories and stimulate mental activity) to reconnect our patients to community living and improve their overall emotional well-being. It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction when I’m able to care for them beyond the walls of SKCH and I do that by following up with them via phone calls after their discharge.
It is also heartwarming when patients show their appreciation by sending thank-you cards and visiting us at SKCH when they go for appointments at the co-located Sengkang General Hospital (SKH). Seeing our discharged patients remain in good spirits and being able to move about independently reaffirms my decision to work in this meaningful sector.
mosAIC: How do you think being in Community Care has contributed to your growth as an individual?
Working in the Community Care sector has definitely broadened my perspectives as a healthcare professional and provided me with plenty of opportunities to grow in Singapore’s evolving healthcare landscape. For instance, I was able to participate in the planning and implementation of new models of care to go beyond healthcare by shifting efforts and attention to focus on one’s overall health instead.
mosAIC: How has SKCH adapted its practices in view of COVID-19?
At SKCH, we practise stringent visitor policies to reduce risks of transmission. To observe safe distancing, we have ceased large-group patient gatherings as well as volunteering sessions in the wards. Our nurses have also stepped up to conduct bed-side activities for patients in the efforts to keep our patients engaged. As a safety measure, we also don masks and other Personal Protective Equipment. To make up for the fact that our smiles are covered, we have learnt to smile with our eyes instead when communicating with patients and visitors.
As we participate in the nation’s battle against COVID-19, we have also partnered the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to deploy our nurses in supporting other Community Care institutions which may need our support. Additionally, we have opened three wards at SKCH to care for medically stable COVID-19 patients.
mosAIC: In the light of the COVID-19 situation, what are your experiences with patients thus far?
I am thankful for the tremendous support from patients, community partners, grassroots organisations, schools, and members of the public. This has motivated our team at SKCH to persevere in this journey to fight the virus. We have received various gestures of appreciation from many people in the form of thank-you notes, words of encouragement, and small tokens of appreciation. This has definitely boosted our team’s spirit and morale!
Apply for the Community Care Nursing Leadership Programme (CCNLP) to deepen your knowledge and skills in the Community Care setting. Designed for locally Registered Nurses, this three or five-year training and development programme aims to groom the next generation of leaders. Nurture your passion with the Community Care Nursing Leadership Programme (CCNLP) today at www.aic.buzz/GROW.