Mrs Rosie Kwan, 66, was a Secondary 4 student when her cancer-stricken mother had her left leg amputated.
"When we were at the hospital, the nurses and doctors were so compassionate and gave such good care to the patients," said the senior nurse manager at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
The dedication they displayed inspired her to take up nursing.
At the age of 17, she joined SGH and has remained in its service till today, rising through the ranks in a career that spanned 49 years.
Her contribution will be recognised today at a special pioneer generation event organised by the hospital.
Called Rooted in Excellence - a tribute to our SGH Pioneers, it honours individuals such as Mrs Kwan, whose contribution laid the foundation for the quality of health care available in Singapore today.
In her earlier years, Mrs Kwan worked in the surgical and anaesthetics departments. She settled in a general medical ward in 1982.
The busy ward is always full, so it can be a challenging place to work in, she said.
But the heavy workload does not faze her. Instead, seeing patients through the recovery process makes it all worth it.
"I love the interaction between nurses and patients. Apart from physical aid, we can also give them moral support, which plays a big part in their recovery."
Her fondest memory is of a stroke patient she came across several years ago.
"She was in quite a bad condition but she worked hard in her physiotherapy sessions, and even did the exercises on her own."
"When a patient reciprocates a nurse's desire for her to get well, that is when things work the best."
Apart from being a caregiver to her patients, the grandmother of four also serves as a mentor to younger nurses.
An experienced motivator, she helps her colleagues fulfil their potential, said nurse clinician Yuan Long Xia.
Ms Yuan added: "I have been working with Ms Rosie for 19 years. The best thing about her is she empowers you and encourages you to do more, and be the best that you can be."
Mrs Kwan, who intends to work until her 70s, said the thing she will miss most when she retires is the conversations with the patients and her fellow nurses.
This article was first published on Oct 11, 2014.
Get The New Paper for more stories.