Life as a nurse intern amid COVID-19

Inspired since his school days to be a lifesaver, Eugene Seah has been volunteering at the Singapore Heart Foundation as a CPR course instructor since 2013. Also, a NUS nursing student, he had the opportunity recently amid the COVID-19 pandemic to resume his clinical attachment at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. He shares his experience working in the Hospital’s Cardiology ward with heartline and why it is important to equip ourselves with lifesaving skills too.

SHF: How was your experience working in the hospital ward during the time of COVID-19?

Eugene: I’m glad that this COVID-19 pandemic coincides with my clinical attachment in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where I was able to help my fellow healthcare colleagues care for patients at the Cardiology ward for 6 weeks. Although it was quite a short period, it was a very important experience for me as I got to apply what I learnt in school, which will prepare me for my role as a Registered Nurse in the future.

Many patients are worried that they might catch the virus during hospitalisation, so the healthcare team is working hard to provide timely interventions for patients to be discharged as soon as possible.

Were your parents worried about you being in the frontline at this time?
Yes, they did express their concern; however, with constant assurance, they are quite supportive of me resuming my clinical practicum during this pandemic. Although I was in a low risk ward, I maintain strict personal hygiene and safe distancing measures at home and at work.

In addition, we are also constantly reminded to follow strict safety protocols when we are in the hospital, so we are quite safe.

What’s the most memorable thing that happened during your attachment?
I have nursed several patients from their admission till their discharge. I enjoyed communicating with them during my free time. It is also heart-warming when the patients appreciate our job and thank us when they leave the hospital.

What is one thing about lifesaving you would like to share?
I once attended to a case of a 36-year-old man who collapsed in his home. This case reminded me that life is fragile, and anyone can suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, regardless of age.

I encourage everyone to learn the important lifesaving skill of administering CPR and using AED. For every minute that nothing is done to resuscitate the victim, the chance of survival drops by 7% to 10%.

The cartoon drawn by Oscar Aubry illustrates that “All frontline workers are our Heroes and you have become a real celebrity.”

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