The nurse I will never forget

March 2018

I am no stranger to hospital grounds – my late father and grandmother had extended stays in the hospital towards the end of their lives. Amid fuzzy memories of injection needles, white hospital gowns and the antiseptic smell of medicine, there was one thing that stood out sharply from the countless hospital trips. The nurses.

It was 30 August 2016. My father had been suffering from a heart condition. I was visiting him at the hospital after my O level preliminary examinations when he fell unconscious all of a sudden. The nurse on duty explained that it was due to a drop in his blood pressure, which was a bad sign. Witnessing the urgency in which the doctors and nurses were attending to my father made me fear the worst.

Seeing that I was in a state of confusion and panic, the kind-hearted nurse led me to the family conference room to calm me down. She helped to call my family members, and held my hand as they made their way to the hospital. We were told to spend time with him as he was in his final hours.

I could not do anything but cry.

That difficult afternoon was only made easier by the nurse. She was close to my father and knew that he hated to see me cry. Holding me in her arms, she comforted me and told me to keep a smile on my face. Hearing her words gave me courage to accept the reality of the situation and my father eventually passed away peacefully with all his loved ones by his side. Afterwards, the nurse told me that she was proud of me for staying strong.

I will always be thankful for her. She taught me a valuable lesson – just being there for someone and a simple word of assurance can go a long way. She may not have realised the impact she had made, but I will never forget her warmth. I hope to make the same difference when I am a registered nurse myself.

Farah (first from left) with her family during a holiday.

Many people think that nursing is a dirty job, but how times have changed! The profession has evolved through the years. It is now an honourable job where we tend to the vulnerable and protect their dignity. We also work long hours, caring selflessly for patients regardless of the hardships we may be going through in our personal lives.

My dad’s death exactly a month before my O levels was the main reason I applied for the Integrated Nursing Scholarship. He was the sole breadwinner of the family and I wanted to become independent to lessen my mum’s load. The scholarship became my motivation to strive for the best during my O level examinations. Now, it gives me the confidence to pursue my further studies and pushes me to be better in all I do.

Farah (second row, second from right) with her schoolmates during their hospital attachment.

I am Siti Safrin Farah Jahir Hussain, a first-year nursing student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. You can make a difference too.