The Unsung Heroes in White: An Exclusive Interview with SJMC's Director of Nursing, Ng Ching See

In the public's eye, medical care is often synonymous with doctors, while nurses are perceived as assistants relegated to handling unpleasant tasks. However, a candid conversation with Ng Ching See, the Director of Nursing at Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC), provides a fresh perspective on the nursing profession. Through her insights, one can develop a newfound appreciation and respect for nurses who, like doctors, have the noble profession of saving lives.

"Taking care of patients is an art," says Ng Ching See.

Nursing: The Art of Patient Care 

With 25 years of experience in the field of nursing, from being a staff nurse to becoming the Director of Nursing at a large tertiary hospital, Ng Ching See sees doctors and nurses as two distinct yet closely related professional fields.

"A doctor's expertise lies in providing medical plans, diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medication, and formulating a plan to help patients recover. Nurses, on the other hand, are responsible for patient care. In addition to assisting doctors, they also educate patients on how to monitor their condition and the effects of medications. More importantly, nurses are by the patient's side around the clock, observing their condition and whether their recovery aligns with expectations," she explains.

Nurses need to proactively devise methods for caring for patients, in accordance with the recovery plans prescribed by doctors. For instance, when a patient is unable to move, there is a risk of skin breakdown, so nurses need to regularly encourage them to move while also taking measures to protect their skin. "It can be said that each patient has their unique care Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). That's the essence of being a nurse."

Nurses' long-term care involves not only external medical care for patients but also psychological support and care. Sometimes, a patient's groan or cry can tug at a nurse's heartstrings, and although professionalism demands detachment, nurses are human too.

"Taking care of patients is an art," says Ng Ching See. Patients come from different backgrounds, races, and personalities, and one cannot use the same approach for all patients. "Caring for a patient and gaining their cooperation is akin to a teacher guiding a student, testing the nurse's wisdom and patience."

 Trivial matters can serve as a ray of light for patients

Ng Ching See recounts two memorable stories that demonstrate the profound impact nurses can have on patients. During her time in obstetrics and gynaecology, she encountered mothers determined to have natural births. When complications arose necessitating a caesarean section, these mothers wavered. Ng Ching See intervened with a poignant question: "Is your goal a natural birth or ensuring the safety of both mother and child?" Her words were a guiding light, helping the mother overcome her confusion.

"Nurses not only assist in delivery but also provide emotional support," she emphasises.

In another instance, a diabetic patient who had undergone amputation and needed kidney dialysis became difficult to manage. He refused to cooperate during his hospitalisation and often fell into self-pity. Ng Ching See, initially frustrated, approached him with a message of hope: "Why give up? Think of your family. You're just fifty; life has more to offer. Always try to look on the bright side; there's always a way out. "

One day, that patient saw Ng Ching See from afar and loudly called out to her. She thought he had come to cause trouble, but he was there to thank her for waking him up at that moment. "My realisation at the time was that some things may seem small but can be a ray of light for the person involved."

These stories linger in her heart and have given her a great sense of fulfillment in her work. For her, the nursing profession not only brings personal fulfillment but also fosters personal growth and carries the noble belief of serving humanity.

Passing Down the Torch: Emphasis on Nursing Experience

Newly graduated nurses have limited life experience and relevant experience, so caring for patients can indeed be challenging. Therefore, at SJMC, the leadership team of nurses places great importance on the inheritance of nursing experience.

Ng Ching See explains that when training nurses, in addition to some standard guidelines, they often involve new nurses in discussions on how to care for patients. "Directly teaching methods to new nurses may be more time-saving, but the discussion approach brings long-term progress."

When new nurses join Subang Jaya Medical Centre, they undergo a two to four-week orientation phase to learn basic clinical nursing concepts. Then, for the next year, there are educators dedicated to providing assistance and guidance.

"When they are assigned to a specific department, a senior nurse is assigned to be their mentor as well and offers one-on-one guidance for one to three months. Depending on the new nurse's progress, we will assess their performance. Sometimes, slow progress is not necessarily a bad thing; it might indicate attention to detail or that the department may not be suitable for them."

Some people may think that working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is more prestigious, but in Ng Ching See's view, every department, from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to others, plays a vital role in healthcare. "Each department has its expertise, and it's crucial to find the one that suits you."

SJMC's Nursing Programme Full Scholarship covers everything from studying to employment.

Offering Full Scholarships to Address the Nursing Shortage 

Today, there is a shortage of nurses in the medical field. To attract more people to join the nursing profession, SJMC has introduced a Nursing Programme Full Scholarship, allowing aspiring nursing professionals the opportunity to pursue their dreams while preparing themselves with the support of a professional nursing team.

Addressing the nursing shortage in Malaysia, SJMC offers a Nursing Programme Full Scholarship to high school graduates interested in nursing. This scholarship covers tuition, accommodation, and provides a monthly allowance, allowing students to focus on their studies without financial concerns. Ng Ching See herself benefitted from this programme and is now dedicated to guiding more young individuals into the nursing profession, nurturing future healthcare leaders.

"Every year, we sponsor interested high school graduates to enroll in nursing programmes. As long as they have five credits in SPM (with priority given to mathematics, English, and science-related subjects), they can apply. After passing the interview and health screening, we will provide them with a full three-year scholarship for nursing programme tuition, accommodation fees and monthly allowance, so they can focus on their studies without financial worries," she reveals.

Interestingly, Ng Ching See herself was a beneficiary of the SJMC Nursing Programme scholarship. As the eldest child in her family, she chose this scholarship programme to avoid burdening her family on her educational journey. Now, as the Director of Nursing leading the hospital's nursing team, she hopes to guide more young people onto this path, nurturing talent for Malaysia's medical field and making a contribution. She emphasises that as sponsors of this scholarship programme, SJMC's nursing team also regularly monitors the students' progress, ensuring that they are not alone on their learning journey and have guidance and support from their seniors.

"After graduating from the nursing programme, we will directly offer them employment at SJMC, so this programme covers everything from studying to employment."

Nurse Quest: Launching the Nursing Medical Mission!

On October 28th, SJMC will host "Nurse Quest: Launching the Nursing Medical Mission!"— a free workshop for high school students interested in nursing or the medical field. Participants will have the unique opportunity to visit various hospital departments, including the paediatric ward, haemodialysis unit, delivery room, and ICU, gaining insight and firsthand experience of nursing work. Ng Ching See hopes this initiative will dispel misconceptions about nursing and inspire young minds to consider a rewarding career in healthcare. Seats are limited, so register promptly if you're eager to explore this noble profession.

Follow this link for more details and registration:

Source: Sin Chew Daily | Cahaya Sin Chew