Known as a “Da Jie” or Big Sister in Mandarin to her fellow colleagues, Senior Staff Nurse (SSN) Jocelyn Ives Tan (pictured above) from the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab) always wears a smile on her face towards her colleagues and patients. It is little wonder that her steady empathic ways won the heart of fellow colleagues and at the recent SingHealth Nurses’ Day 2022 where Jocelyn was recognised as one of the proud recipients of a new award - Empathy In Action Award.

Jocelyn’s supervisor, Senior Nurse Manager (SNM) Tina Teo shared, “Jocelyn has a calm demeanor and is someone whom I can count on during busy moments. She is sensitive towards others and always takes initiative to speak with them such as junior colleagues who face issues at work, or patients who are waiting for procedures. We once had a patient who was crying hysterically after the procedure while waiting for transfer to the ward. Jocelyn went up to the patient and found that she was behaving that way because she was hungry. After giving her some biscuits and a hot drink, the patient calmed down and even thanked Jocelyn!” 

SSN Jocelyn’s jovial and kind personality has also endeared her greatly to her colleagues. When her junior colleagues feel down, Jocelyn is most often than not, the first person they would call, knowing that she would listen patiently, and provide assurance and guidance without judgement. 

“The long drawn pandemic has caused our foreign staff to be very homesick. They were feeling down and also faced unresolved personal issues back home. During that period, Jocelyn listened attentively to their problems and encouraged them frequently. Her empathic actions were felt immediately by her colleagues and they opened up to her, easing the situation,” said Sister Tina.

We catch up with SSN Jocelyn to find out what keeps her big heart going!

How did you feel upon learning that you have won the Empathy in Action Award?

It is my honour to win this award. It encourages me greatly to continue helping and serving others at work and in my daily life. 

SSN Jocelyn (middle) is the proud recipient of the Empathy In Action Award at SingHealth Nurses’ Day 2022.

What motivates you to help others?

While growing up, I observed how my mother helped others without asking for anything in return. For example, she helped her friends, volunteered at church, cared for her sickly parents, took care of my sister and I, and more. When I saw the smiles on the faces of the people whom my mother helped, it inspired me to follow her example. I have also received lots of help from friends and colleagues throughout my life, and knowing how comforting and happy it is to have someone around who always ready to help also motivates me to be there for others too. Paying it forward is something I can resonate with and find meaning in. 
What is your secret to staying happy despite challenges? 

When work gets overwhelming, simple acts of kindness such as providing a listening ear, giving them a pat on the back or a quick shoulder massage and cracking a few jokes goes a long way. Seeing them finally smiling or feeling happy makes me feel good and at ease.

Like anyone else, I do have my moments of ups and downs. When I am upset or had a bad day, I would tell myself, "This too shall pass". No matter what situation I am in, I remind myself that time will not stop; the clock’s hands will continue to move, hence any troubles I am going through at that moment is just temporary. 

Always leave time for things you love to do - is a very useful tip that works for me when I am faced with challenges. My de-stressing activities include watching Korean drama, singing like a pop star, buying my favourite snack on the way home, exercising to clear the mind, talking to loved ones (whether in person or through a video call!). All these drive all negativity away! Remember not to accumulate negative feelings and emotions from the day, and to begin each new day with a positive mind set.

Heard that your hobby is photography?  

I am not a professional photographer *haha* but I do enjoy taking candid pictures of people because candid shots and moments capture memorable and valuable emotions.  Imagine when you look back at that picture one day, you would remember the conversations that made you or the person laugh or smile. I also have a habit of taking Polaroids during special occasions (many of my close colleagues know this!) and have done so since I owned my first Polaroid camera at 15 years old.

A joyful moment (pre-Covid-19) captured by Jocelyn during a nursing training on donning Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR).

Congratulations to SSN Jocelyn on receiving the inaugural award! What a warm and genuine personality - truly a gem to patients and colleagues!