Four nurses tell us what drives them to perform volunteer work.
Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone
Senior Staff Nurse
National Dental Centre Singapore
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” These were the guiding words when I embarked on my first medical mission to Taunggyi, Myanmar with Smile Asia. My first taste of volunteer work as an Operating Theatre nurse went smoothly as the team of medical professionals was very experienced. We successfully performed cleft lip and palate operations on 61 patients over four days.
I used to have a fear of flying, and would never have imagined going to Myanmar to perform volunteer work. Through this rewarding experience, I have become more confident about doing things outside my comfort zone.
The Gift of Sight
Goh Hui Jin
Senior Staff Nurse
Singapore National Eye Centre
My first overseas volunteering assignment was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2016. Since then, I have been on six mission trips to places such as Okpho, Myanmar and several regions in Cambodia.
Cataracts are easily treatable with surgery in Singapore, but in these rural areas, we saw patients who have completely lost their vision. As most of them are low-income farmers, the loss of vision affects their livelihoods.
During each trip, we have 60 to 70 operations scheduled each day. My role is to screen patients for pre-op preparations, assist during surgery and care for them post-op. The days are long and hectic during these volunteer assignments, but knowing that I have played a part to make lives better, motivates me to go on more trips.
Caring for Orphans
Roslina Bte Rahim
Senior Enrolled Nurse
National Neuroscience Institute
While on a weekend getaway in Batam in 2014, my friends and I decided to do something more meaningful. We visited an orphanage and what we saw broke our hearts. The facilities were sparse and the children were surviving on donated rations.
Since then, we have returned to Batam every three months, visiting up to two orphanages each time with daily essentials such as rice, diapers, books and stationery. Our most ambitious project was when we raised funds to build a second storey for an orphanage to create a study room, more bedrooms and space for the children to gather and play.
Through generous donations from our network of friends, we managed to raise $20,000 in just two months. It was priceless to see the excitement on the children’s faces as they enjoyed their new space.
Healing their Wounds
Liew Lee Foong
Bright Vision Hospital
I started providing voluntary wound care service after a friend asked me to look at her relative’s wound because it was not healing. It has been about two years since I started, the patients I see are mostly referred to me by my friends or colleagues.
I visit them after work on weekdays or weekends to help them with their wound dressing, pressure injuries and stoma care. Most of them are unsure or afraid to clean their wounds, so I take the opportunity to guide them and their caregivers on the steps.
Besides nursing care, i also lend them a listening ear and give them emotional support, especially for those who live alone. I’m very grateful to be able to put my nursing skills to good use and help those in need.