Nursing and the operating theatre both came a little unexpected to me but with time, I have grown to love these chance encounters. I have been a perioperative nurse in the operating theatre for more than two decades. I provide care for patients before, during and after their surgeries, where I also witness the fragility of lives and walk alongside my patients during their road to recovery.
My eyes first opened up to nursing during my one-year stint as an assistant in an Ear, Nose and Throat clinic, after my A Levels. I saw for myself the integral role nurses play in assisting doctors with their procedures – regardless of the complexity. Also, I truly enjoyed my interactions with the patients!
With encouragement and blessings from my clinic’s doctor, I looked no further and enrolled into nursing school.
Nurses in the operating theatre often work behind-the-scenes. We do not have much interaction time with patients, but I believe they have trusted themselves to us during their most vulnerable moment – when undergoing an operation.
As a senior nurse clinician, I ensure that everything goes smoothly for the day in the operating theatre and deal with emergencies that arise. If I am not the coordinator for the day, I would be assisting with surgeries. This way, I will not be out of touch with my perioperative nursing skills.
The most memorable case for me would be assisting in a Korean conjoined twins’ separation surgery. It was a long operation but we all worked together towards a common goal: allowing the twins to lead separate lives and develop healthily. The success of the operation has taught me that with good multidisciplinary teamwork and perseverance, we can help our patients live a better life.
As I welcome my junior nurses, I always remind them to constantly learn and upgrade their skills. Above it all, they must have the passion to genuinely care for their patients.
I am Tan Kin Hong, Senior Nurse Clinician at Raffles Hospital and I am privileged to journey with my patients.