Nursing found its way to me through my stint with a technology company in 2003 – the fateful year Singapore was hit by the Sars (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic. I was doing contact tracing for Sars patients then, which led me to speak to the nurses who had come in contact with them. Seeing how they worked and cared for the patients left such a deep impression that it kindled my interest in nursing. Eventually, this interest evolved into a passion and I enrolled into Nanyang Polytechnic in 2003 as a student nurse.
As a student, my lecturers taught me to always do my best. Today, I have the honour of working alongside some of them, who still inspire me every day! There is a saying, “Every nurse a teacher.” Every nurse touches not just the lives of their patients, but passes on their nursing knowledge and skills to their colleagues and those around them. I am glad to be back at my alma mater as a nursing lecturer to further ignite the nursing flame in the hearts of the young ones. Just like how my lecturers helped me to find purpose in the profession, I hope to give back to nursing by doing the same for my students.
Rahmat (left) with students during Nanyang Polytechnic’s National Day cum Nurses’ Day celebration 2019.
While a nurse on the ground has to think on the feet to provide the best care for patients, a nursing educator’s challenge is to spark that “aha!” moment for their students.
You know how your first class as a teacher is usually always the most memorable? That was the case for me. For a Nurses’ Day contest, I had to encourage my students to record a video of themselves dancing. After the initial awkwardness and hesitation, everyone came together and produced a video that blew all the competition out of the water! Even I was not spared and had to dance in the video. I was thrilled to see my students take time to listen to their classmates’ thoughts, as well as taking the initiative to provide their opinions on the item. I believe team spirit was what led to the first prize.
Seeing their high spirits after the contest sparked the “aha!” moment – I took the opportunity to encourage reflection and got my students to draw parallels between their own experiences preparing for the contest and the nursing practice. Their conclusion was that in order to achieve the best outcomes, nurses have to come together as a team, with the protocols and clinical practice guidelines framing their work. I was gratified when some of them told me that winning the contest was one of the best things that happened to them in school because it brought the class closer. It was a learning experience for me as much as it was for them.
To me, nursing is special because it is a practice that is always evolving, whether through research or the advent of new technologies. To stay relevant in the field, we have to play catch-up and continuously improve our skills as the years go by. Although this can be quite daunting, it is a process I enjoy very much! It is also one of the few professions that marry both art and science – while we need the scientific knowledge to practise our craft, we also have to apply the human touch when we care for patients.
I am Rahmat Jasmani, a nursing lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic. Nursing is a profession that comes from the heart, is never routine and offers lifelong learning. I came to nursing with nothing, but nursing gave me a family.