"As a specialty heart failure nurse at the National Heart Centre Singapore, I care directly for patients in collaboration with physicians, educate patients and their caregivers, as well as mentor my juniors to enhance their knowledge and skills.
I have been caring for others for most of my life. When I was younger, I took on the role of primary caregiver to my late grandmother, who was a cancer patient with cardiac issues. I was responsible for her medication, hospital appointments and everyday needs. Today, I care for my father – a renal dialysis patient – and my 91-year-old grandfather, who has mobility issues.
Having nursing knowledge is immensely useful. In this age of misinformation, I can easily differentiate between fact and myth when concerned loved ones send me health advice they have found online. I use this opportunity to educate my family members and share accurate information.
As a caregiver, I can’t help but to feel anxiety. My worries range from whether my loved ones’ needs are met adequately, to ‘big mountain’ issues such as a deterioration of their conditions. This is made worse by the pandemic, as we now have to take more precautions and make changes to our daily routines.
I am no stranger to caregiver burnout. I have had feelings of mental exhaustion and a lack of appetite and energy. However, I’m glad I am not alone in this journey. My wife is my pillar of support and my mother shoulders some responsibilities, as we care for our loved ones together. However, I am also concerned for my mother, as she has their own health issues and her age is catching up with her.
As we celebrate World Mental Health Day in October, I would like to say that mental health is an essential part of our life; it is a crucial part of our general well-being. To stay mentally healthy, it’s important to focus on the basics. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise and do something you enjoy. If things get too difficult for you to handle, remember that it is okay to ask for help from someone you trust."
- Nor Syamsul Nazly Mohamed Said, Senior Staff Nurse, National Heart Centre Singapore