A tribute to nurses: Why they entered the profession

Last month, the world celebrated International Nurses Day as a way to say a big 'Thank You' to our tireless caregivers.

This month, we look into the lives and experiences of nurses in different fields to see their everyday trials and triumphs:

Mr Edmond Velasco, 37, Operating Theatre Manager SMG Orthopaedic Group and Centre for Joint & Cartilage Surgery Nurse for 8 years

Message for all:

Nursing is not just a profession but a vocation.

The calling to help and to serve patients is a big responsibility, and nurses have a big heart to take on that challenge.

What was your motivation for choosing the nursing profession?

Each patient's needs are different from another, and to be able to meet those needs and care for the patient when they come to you for treatment is both a challenge and a good motivation to bring nursing to a higher level.

What is your area of focus?

I was trained in orthopaedics in the major operating theatre. It is an interesting multi-discipline area.

Imagine a bone in your body being broken into pieces due to trauma. Being able to contribute in fixing that broken bone, which restores abilities in a human being, is a very rewarding experience.

What was your most memorable moment as a nurse?

It was at the end of my shift and as I was walking out of the ward, a little girl came up to me and gave me flower. She then whispered: "Thank you for taking care of my granny."

After that, she pointed to her grandmother in a wheelchair, waiting for her.

After staying at the hospital for three months, The elderly lady finally went home to be with her family.

What was your most challenging moment as a nurse?

Working on 24 hours shifts is always a challenge for nurses, especially those who work in the operating theatre.

We cater to different types of cases, and no matter how good an individual or a team may be, there will be things that are beyond our contro. These are the limiting factors that challenge us the most.

Ms Sharlene Lim, 32, Vice-President, Nursing Singapore Medical Group Nurse for 12 years

Message for all:

We, as nurses, are in the most trusted profession in the world, and have so much to give and care.

Let's all continue to be highly committed, stay professional and most importantly, maintain our ethical standards to our work and patients.

What was your motivation for choosing the nursing profession?

I like being in a profession that can help people.

In nursing, we help people in so many ways - whether it be physically, mentally or socially.

Moreover, since young, I had already been really interested in biology. The body of medical knowledge that I can gain from nursing is very beneficial.

What is your area of focus?

I am trained in oncology. In oncology, you not only treat the disease, you treat the person holistically, as well as the family members. Support is very important for oncology cases.

I have learnt a lot of life lessons from this speciality.

Currently, my area of focus is diversified to O&G, Plastic/Aesthetic, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics.

What was your most memorable moment as a nurse?

This was when a dying patient held my hand to thank me for the care I rendered when he was bed ridden. He passed on soon after.

What was your most challenging moment as a nurse?

Everyday is different in nursing and we face different problems everyday. So everyday is challenging to me.

Would you have chosen another profession if given the chance?

No. The closest profession to nursing is medicine, which won't give me the satisfaction of caring for a patient holistically.

I like to interact and communicate with patients, taking care of them from helping them take their medications to brushing their hair.

Ms Soh Ling Ling, 31, Senior Manager (Operating Theatre)The Eye & Cornea Transplant Centre and Premium Lasik Surgery CentreNurse for 11 years

Message for all:

Good work nurses! A pat and a hug to all nurses out there! We will be appreciated one day… internationally!

What was your motivation for choosing the nursing profession?

To see others smile.

What is your area of focus?

I focus on the Eye and in the Operating theatre. These are skills that not everyone can have.

Vision is important. I chose to specialise in the eye because it is a wonderful organ that allows us to see how beautiful the world can be.

What was your most memorable moment as a nurse?

Seeing patients smiling, saying thank you and appreciative of the little things we do for them is always a treasured memory.

What was your most challenging moment as a nurse?

It is difficult meeting everyone's expectation - including doctors, fellow colleagues and patients.

Saying 'no' to a helpless patient is difficult as well, and having to make them feel good at the same time.