The lesser-known health advocate

February 2018

I am a unique professional – at least among the many nurse specialities in Singapore. Have you heard of an occupational health nurse? We are the gatekeepers of health and well-being in workplaces. I lead the first healthcare-dedicated occupational health clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I treasure this opportunity because I have the honour to care for the health and wellbeing of hospital staff who in turn dispense care to patients and the community safely.

Angeline (third from left) with her colleagues from the occupational health clinic.

As an occupational health nurse, we promote workplace health and safety in many industries like healthcare, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, oil and gas as well as shipping. We play an important role in the overall health management at our workplace. We also conduct health and wellness programs, carry out medical surveillances, injury and incident management and employee immunisations. I gained my experience in occupational health through on-the-job training and job-specific upgrading courses.

Looking back, it has been a long and enriching 20 years as a nurse. My experience in St John when I was in secondary school definitely influenced my decision to be a nurse. I chose nursing, as I wanted to serve those in need.

Angeline (second row, first from right) and fellow nurses from the Singapore Society of Occupational Health Nurses at their Nurses’ Day celebration in 2017.

I started out as a novice scrub nurse, but now I lead the occupational health clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Being elected as President of the Singapore Society of Occupational Health Nurses has also allowed me to be an advocate for the continual learning, recognition and career development of occupational health nurses in Singapore. 2017 has also been a very rewarding year for me – I even received the Nurses’ Merit Award for my contributions!

I am Tan Tock Seng Hospital Assistant Nurse Clinician Angeline Tay, and nothing makes me happier than knowing that I have played a part in the health of every staff member at my workplace. Not every nurse is the same, but we all have the shared passion to care that goes beyond our calling. We work in different settings and contribute to the health of each patient or employee in a different way.