Like many students, I had to make a decision on how to continue pursuing my educational journey. The different schools, plethora of courses, and combination of subjects to choose from were seemingly limitless. Making a choice was daunting to say the least.
Admittedly, I didn’t know much about nursing when I first came across it as an option for studies and profession. However, I felt that with nursing, I could live life meaningfully and be able to help others as well. My family and friends supported me in taking this route, believing that my desire to help and care for others would suit the profession well.
With their encouragement, I took the leap of faith and never looked back.
In nursing, patient interaction is key. Building relationships with people is important to me so seeing that I have made a difference in their lives – no matter how small it may be – encourages me. As I accompany and support my patients through their health journey, lending them a helping hand and listening ear, I am thankful that I made the choice and now have the opportunity to meet a need.
Challenges I face as a nurse
Of course, everything comes with its ups and downs. As much as I’d like everything to go smoothly, it can be difficult since a lot of things are beyond our control.
For example, even though we always try to help our patients get better, there’s no certainty that things would go the way we hope. We have to accept that we cannot control how a patient’s condition might change.
Workload issues also exist, especially if the patient load is high and manpower is low, we might need to take on extra shifts when a colleague calls in sick. At times, the cases of our patients could also be more complex than expected – and it’s more than just the biological aspect of the patient to care for. Their mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health is just as important to address too.
A lot of these challenges are out of our hands, but learning to surrender, adapt and manage accordingly has been a humbling experience. Despite the difficulties, remembering that the work ultimately leaves an impact and could potentially transform lives spurs me on.
My colleagues, my pillars
My nursing colleagues and supervisors are my biggest inspirations to keep giving my best in all that I do. They’ve been such good role models for me to learn from. I also appreciate how they take the time and effort to guide and mentor me to be an independent practitioner capable of delivering quality patient care.
It’s inspirational how they are able to balance between helping their own patients and guiding me, which is no easy feat! I hope that in the future, I can be like them, passing on the knowledge, heart and spirit of nursing to the next generation of nurses.
Why I joined Community Care
The experiences during my clinical attachments as a student nurse led me to understand the importance of Community Care. Although majority of my attachments were in acute care settings, I learned that simply addressing the acuity of a person’s health problem is not enough to truly make an impact. Many tend to forget about the journey after discharge – integrating back to the home and community. It is essential that patients can be rehabilitated, educated and empowered to be as independent as possible in their self-care. Alternatively, for caregivers to be as equipped as possible in coping at home. This can help reduce readmissions to the hospitals and caregiver stress and burden. Community Care allows for more follow-up opportunities and longer patient interaction. It may be easily overlooked but it has a lot of potential to improve quality and dignity of life by equipping and providing the chance for persons to manage with their health at home and living their lives to their utmost.
I strongly believe that no one would want to be in the hospital if they can age well at home. Hence, it has been my desire to be a comforting presence while helping others to care of themselves upon discharge. This is also why I found community nursing to be my calling – to help patients and their families be well and independent enough to enable them to enjoy a reasonable quality of life as they age.
In Community Care, having passion and the heart to love are important, as the things that you experience may not be the easiest. Consistently choosing to love even through tough times can be difficult but it’s an important part of nursing and building relationships. Knowing and showing love is a philosophy that I live by, and it’s something I constantly try to prioritise while making decisions.
Humility is just as crucial, as you’re always going to be learning new things due to the ever-changing nature of healthcare. From healthcare experts, colleagues, to evidence-based research, as there will always be something unique to learn and apply into practice. At the end of the day, continuously learning and growing will be key in providing quality holistic care for patients.
Finally, Community Care is not about what I think will be best for my patients – it’s about learning a person’s background and situation, making adjustments that suit them best and working on achieving what the best possible outcome looks like for them, together with them alongside a competent multidisciplinary team.
If you’re interested in community nursing, my word of advice would be to just give it a try. Don’t fear challenges as there will always be challenges no matter what industry you’re in. Challenge yourself! If you’re just willing to take that leap of faith to give it a shot, you can make a change in someone’s life.