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A nursing dream rekindled


Teo Poh Choo

Tey Poh Choo, Enrolled Nurse at Changi General Hospital

I had been doing administrative accounting for more than 20 years before joining nursing. To be honest, being a nurse had been in my mind for the longest time. However, I did not dare take that leap of faith as I was just starting a family back then. Now that my children have grown up, and with an ageing mum, it was an opportune time for me to rekindle my interest in nursing and fulfil my dream.

Nursing to me is a career where I can gain in-depth knowledge and skills to care for those in need. In fact, it has come in handy as I continue to care for my mum as she grows older.

The funny thing is, my mum was not keen on me joining nursing initially. Like many, she had the perception that nursing was just about taking care of patients' daily needs including showering and feeding. The turning point for her came when she had a fall in 2017. At that time, I was still a nursing student.

Recalling the skills learnt in nursing school and clinical attachments, I attended to her injuries and cared for her after she was discharged; I could see how nursing has benefited my family. I vividly recall how she waited for me to shower her at the end of each day, no matter how late I reached home. She did not express it but her actions showed that she was comfortable with my care, and I was able to do it without putting her in pain. Fast forward to today, she proudly tells all her friends that her daughter is a nurse (haha)!

EN Poh Choo went through the Professional Conversion Programme for Enrolled Nurse and became a nurse at 45 years old.

I joined Changi General Hospital in 2018 as an Enrolled Nurse. Aside from my daily tasks, I go the extra mile and ensure that my patients eat well. I try to understand their dietary preference and monitor their food intake as this helps in my patient's recovery journey.

As a nurse, it is important that I communicate well with patients to address any concerns that they have. They often share their feedback so that we can improve their care journey. It makes our patients feel happier knowing that we genuinely care for them. 

I will always remember this patient who also suffered from autism and was admitted to our ward.  He was not able to eat much due to his health condition but funnily, kept trying to take food from the other patients. Naturally, they kept their distance from him. Yet somehow, I was still able to forge a connection with him.

He called me 'jie jie' (big sister in Mandarin) and even looked for me when I was not on duty. He also listened to me when I told him that he has to take the advice of other nurses too as it would help him get better. That was when I realised that all he wanted was actually care and attention. It touches my heart most whenever I am able to make such special connection with my patients.

That said, making a mid-career switch at 40 was not an easy feat.  My past experiences have taught me to be tactful when speaking with my patients and not let my emotions overly affect me. Seeing the demise of my patients can be upsetting. However, being a mature worker helps me understand the need to remain professional and be patient in everything I do.

Having come this far, Poh Choo is glad that she rekindled her nursing dream.

It took courage and a great deal of determination for me to make this mid-career change, but I have no regrets at all. It feels like I was destined to be a nurse. What I see every day as a nurse teaches me a lot of things beyond a career, and I feel that it is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that I would not trade anything for. My passion for nursing has grown with me over time and it will not stop here.

My advice to others who are thinking of making a mid-career switch… be clear why you are doing it as this will motivate you further along the journey. Do not give up. Instead take on each challenge with positivity and you will eventually reach your goal.

My name is Tey Poh Choo, an Enrolled Nurse at Changi General Hospital. I am blessed to have truly found my passion and I would love to continue expanding my nursing knowledge to provide quality care for my patients for as long as I can.