ECMO (extracorporeal machine oxygenation) is a form of life support provided to critically ill patients with severe heart or lung failure.

ECMO specialist nurses play a key role in the KKH Paediatric and Neonatal ECMO Programme, providing 24-hour bedside care to patients who require ECMO support. The nurse is the primary resource person providing continuous care of the ECMO circuit and coordinating care with multidisciplinary stakeholders in the neonatal and paediatric intensive care units.

Assistant Nurse Clinician Naw Myat Su Mon recounts her journey as an ECMO specialist nurse:

Safe and effective ECMO care for every child

“I signed up to be an ECMO specialist nurse in 2014, after 10 years with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). On the ECMO team, many tasks have to be done in a time-critical manner. It can be especially demanding when there are more than two patients requiring ECMO, or transportation while being placed on ECMO, at the same time.

“As a healthcare provider and mother of two, I am always extremely happy when a child’s condition improves. Witnessing the anxiety, fear and sadness that families experience in near-death situations, I share their joy when they finally see light at the end of the tunnel.

“When tending to children on ECMO, they are sometimes aware of their surroundings, and can respond to questions and even ask for a lollipop when intubated. Throughout the arduous treatment journey, their families are very courageous in supporting them. This motivates us to do all we can, to give them the best chance for survival.

“I have learnt that it is not about managing patients in silos, but about coordination within the multidisciplinary team, and continually learning and integrating knowledge into practice.

“Through the hard work and periods of adrenaline rush, I derive personal satisfaction from being a part of a team that is determined to strive for the best, and provide safe and effective ECMO care for every child, because they are our future.”

Naw Myat Su Mon, Assistant Nurse Clinician, NICU, KKH

Click here to read more about the KKH Paediatric and Neonatal ECMO Programme.