At 8.30pm one night, while finishing up her shift, Li Zhen received a call from her patient’s daughter asking for help to administer an injection. The patient had been discharged earlier in the day and the nurses had already gone through the steps of administering the injection with the daughter, but she was still not confident about doing it.

Li Zhen headed over to the patient’s house after work and patiently went through each step with the daughter again, making sure she understood the procedure completely before she left.

Helping patients at their homes after working hours is not uncommon for Li Zhen. “It is important for nurses to step into their patients’ shoes and see things from their perspective in order to relieve their anxieties and resolve their issues,” said Li Zhen.

She brings this philosophy into the Basic Care Assistant (BCA) training programme at the Singapore General Hospital, which she pioneered in 2016 to train new BCAs with no nursing background to help with patients’ daily needs.

She had to tailor her training and communication technique to suit participants from diverse backgrounds; from housewives with no working experience to university graduates. She was heartened that some BCAs eventually went on to pursue nursing education or take up other patient service roles in the healthcare sector.

“Besides helping to improve patients’ care experience, BCAs have been a tremendous help to nurses as they can perform simpler patient care tasks. I’m proud that my training programme, which combines simulation training and on-the-job training, has groomed 14 batches of competent BCAs who are able to lighten the load of the nurses,” she said.

Li Zhen also strongly encourages nurses who are not proficient in the English language to join the SingHealth Toastmasters’ Club, where she is the president.

“The club gives nurses and healthcare staff a platform to develop their public speaking skills and provides continuous evaluation and feedback in a supportive environment. This will instill greater confidence in them to express their ideas in their daily work,” she said.

Ye Li Zhen

Nurse Clinician

Ward 58 - General Surgery

Singapore General Hospital

Recipient of the Singapore Health Quality Service Awards (SHQSA) 2020 Superstar Award - Nursing Category