Like many, I wanted to contribute.
When Ng Teng Fong General Hospital called for staff volunteers to join the fight against COVID-19, I had no qualms about it. As a nurse, a sense of duty to serve has always been the driving force that keeps me motivated at work every day. It was only natural that I stepped forward.
When I first reported for duty in April, my job was to perform swabbing for the migrant workers staying in the dormitories. Subsequently, when asked to join the serology team, I readily agreed. Serology tests are crucial in identifying the presence of antibodies and determining if a person was previously infected with the virus. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, one of my roles as a nurse included drawing blood samples from patients. The years of experience and knowledge accumulated in the field of venepuncture have aided me to contribute meaningfully to the serology team.
Being on the front line has its risks, not least the possibility of contracting the virus. But I was not afraid. We were adequately trained on infection control measures such as the proper donning of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Safety was our utmost priority and the importance of proper PPE was routinely reinforced within the team. This reassured me and gave me the confidence to work alongside the team at the front line.
Working on-site poses its own set of challenges as well. Braving the humid weather while clad in full protective gear from head to toe during the entire shift has not been easy.
Aside from the physical challenges, my work has been enjoyable. I am grateful to be working with a good team, led by very capable people. The serology team consists of healthcare professionals hailing from different healthcare institutions, but we are all banded by one common purpose: To serve. I genuinely enjoy working with such a diverse group of individuals. When the work gets intense, it is this collective sense of pride, purpose and devotion that drives me to do my best each day.
During this pandemic, I have read news reports about the stigma faced by fellow healthcare workers. I understand the general public may feel anxious and may hold some misconceptions about the virus. However, it is important, now more than ever, for everyone to stand united. During a crisis, solidarity must prevail. I urge everyone to show appreciation to the healthcare staff who are working bravely at the front line. In fact, my children and family members have not only been supportive, but also very proud of the work I have been involved in.
I am Senior Staff Nurse Qiu Hong from Jurong Medical Centre, and my sense of mission as a nurse keeps me going in this fight against COVID-19.