It was a Sunday – a non-working day for Nurse Clinician Liang Ming. But she was already at Tse Tho Aum, a Buddhist temple along Sin Ming Drive since 11am. Together with a team of 25 nurse volunteers from NHCS, their task for the day was to prepare and help with a charity lunch held at the temple for 500 elderly from Apex Harmony Lodge (AHL).

“When we agreed to help out at AHL, we were aware that many of the elderly in APL are mobility-challenged and we would need substantial manpower to make the lunch a successful one. During our first call for volunteers, I was worried about not having enough staff volunteers. But to my surprise, the responses from our staff were overwhelming and in fact, we even had to decline some of the volunteers,” shared NC Liang Ming who is the present chairperson of NHCS Nursing Outreach & Wellness Council (NOWC).
Co-Chairperson of NOWC, Senior Staff Nurse (SSN) Amanda Wang from the Nursing Specialty Care Unit added that AHL had invited NOWC to support their fundraising efforts in previous years and have since built a community rapport. At the charity lunch, our nurse volunteers not only helped serve lunch to the elderly, they also provided on-site first aid support.

Big hearted nurse volunteers who made the charity lunch possible for 500 elderly.

One might think that nurses are already very busy with day-to-day patient care, and where do they find the time and energy for things beyond the work setting? 

“It is true that our nurses are occupied with patient care every day, and that’s why we formed the NOWC, to take care of their well-being. NOWC organises monthly activities and fun workshops such as tote bag and keychain making to allow our nurses to relax and destress, and having community outreach events like accompanying the elderly out for meals allow them to be connected with the community,” shared Assistant Director of Nursing and Advisor to NOWC, Chong Thye who added that the NOWC was set up in 2013 with nurses in mind.

A recent tote bag making workshop proved to be both therapuetic and meaningful as nurses gathered to learn how to turn scrap cloth into useful tote bags.
At a recent tote bag making workshop, SSN Rolyn, an NOWC member who taught the session shared, “The materials are all donated by staff. We made about 30 bags and 50 scrunchies! All the nurses’ creations have been put to good use as the environmentally friendly bags were put up for sale, with proceeds going to the beneficiaries of the SingHealth President’s Challenge 2019.

Members of the NOWC (L-R): NC Aishabi Binte Sidik, Care Integration Unit; SSN Mary Jane Seville Poticar, Nursing Development Unit; NC Suriani Binte Zahari, OT Recovery; Assistant Director of Nursing and Advisor, Chong Thye; Chairperson, NC Liang Ming, Ward 56; SSN Ma Danfei, Short Stay Unit; Enrolled Nurse Vergara Rynn Kerstin Malundo, Ward 56; SSN K Seetha, Cardiac Clinics; SSN Ivy Tan Bee Hwa, Nursing Specialty Care Unit; SSN Aw Wei Lin, Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory; SSN Pedrola Rolyn Almeria, Ward 56; SSN Erny Emily Anak Dadat, Ward 56 and SN Jamandron Leilani Alipoyo, Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory, together with Chief Nurse, Amy Tay. Not pictured are Co-Chairperson, SSN Amanda Wang, Nursing Specialty Care Unit; SN Nur Shafiqah Binte Nordin, Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit; SSN Venassa Wee, Ward 44 – Coronary Care Unit and SSN Sanmugum Hari Devi, Ward 65A/B.
The NOWC has more activities planned for the year ahead, including a recently concluded appreciation event for nurses in celebration of Nurses’ Day. Organised by all six nursing councils*, nurses had an afternoon of games, food and even some cultural fun in the form of saree wrapping and henna painting.

Celebrations aside, the health of our Florence nightingales has to be also taken care of, “We (nurses) are always on our feet, bending up and down in our daily work, and these could lead to poor postures and muscle aches. As a form of strength training and therapy, we are collaborating with our Cardiac Physiotherapist to organise a Theraband exercise session soon. Participants will also get to bring home a Theraband each.”

With their mental and physical well-being taken care of, nurses can do what they do best - caring to go beyond – beyond the boundaries of patient care, making a positive difference in everything they do. 
*The six nursing councils are: Nursing Education and Professional Development Council, Nursing Informatics and Innovation Council, Nursing Professional Practice Council, Nursing Quality and Patient Safety Council, Nursing Research & Peer Review Council and NOWC.