Senior Midwife Elsie Chin Wai Jin during her overseas mission trip to Philippines in 2001
For many parents, caring for just one child is stressful enough. Senior Midwife Elsie Chin Wai Jin at KKH, winner of the prestigious Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award 2018, cares for an average of 25 babies a day, together with her colleagues.
For Midwife Chin, a midwife for 29 years now, the care of new mothers is the most important thing to her, and everything she does is for them.
Whether it is her regular shifts in the always-busy maternity wards of KKH, or the antenatal classes she teaches in the evenings once a week to expectant parents – Midwife Chin gives her best to every single mum who comes under her care. Even the volunteer work she has done overseas involved helping mothers and providing guidance to their families.
All in a day’s work
Her typical work day starts with the monitoring of all the babies in the nursery and wards, as she checks on them and their mums. Following which, she accompanies the neonatologists on their ward rounds. “Mums need tender loving care! They have many questions, ranging from breastfeeding and diaper changing, to getting the baby to stop crying,” said Midwife Chin.
Although the job is stressful, Midwife Chin takes it all in her stride. What keeps her going is knowing that she helps new mums settle into their all-important role. Some of the mothers she has cared for later return to look for her or call to personally thank her. That, to her, is one of the best feelings in the world.
From patient to friend
She still remembers helping to care for a set of triplets in her earlier years. She also extended a helping hand to the patient after her delivery when she was shifted to the ward. The mum was extremely grateful to Midwife Chin for all her help, and the pair have remained fast friends to this date and continue to exchange emails about their lives.
She reminisced, “I still remember her babies in the NICU. They were really tiny babies. They are now grown up. Their mum shows me photos of the triplets and I marvel at how far they have come!”
Midwife Chin receving her Tan Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award 2018
Choosing to care for precious lives
Many people would be surprised to learn that Midwife Chin originally studied accountancy in her earlier years. However, she found that numbers were not her interest, and she decided to pursue a career in what she really loved – caring for babies.
Growing up, she was always surrounded by the babies her mother used to babysit and she fondly remembers the joy the babies used to bring to the house.
“My mother taught me that all lives are precious – very good advice that I carry in my heart with me to this day,” she explained.
An angel to mums in Singapore and beyond
It would be an understatement to say that Midwife Chin loves her job. Almost nothing fazes her anymore, except, maybe, her nursing award win.
“My biggest priority is to make sure I do my job well. So, I was very surprised to be nominated for the award in the first place and did not think I’d win!” she laughs. “Winning this is a great honour, but the award will not change anything – I will continue to do my best for the mums and babies I care for.”
Midwife Chin is so committed to caring for mums and babies that she used to do it during her own free time on a volunteer basis; she would go on overseas mission trips to countries like the Philippines and Cambodia. She would visit patients in their homes and in the clinics, to provide antenatal care and give breastfeeding advice and to mums. She would also make it a point to check in and tend to the whole families, extending her care beyond the niche area of antenatal care.
Midwife Chin (wearing spectacles) with fellow volunteers during her overseas mission trip to the Philippines
Musing about her future, Midwife Chin cannot imagine a life without her mums and babies.
“I’d like very much to try out helping young, at-risk or single mums in outreach programmes, as they are the ones who need additional support,” she enthused.
‘Going the extra mile and caring to go beyond’ is Midwife Chin’s personal motto, and she certainly lives it out in her work.