By Jamie Lim, Advanced Practice Nurse, Tan Tock Seng Hospital
I have had the privilege to be one of the hospital week supervisors since the very beginning. I did not hesitate when Assistant Dean for Year 5 Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying requested for our participation. It was a refreshing idea and I remember feeling very excited about having the opportunity to “torture” the students for an entire week.
Exposing these young minds right from the start to their future working environment and colleagues is a brilliant idea. The students learn to appreciate other partners in the healthcare profession, particularly the nurses with whom they will have a lot of contact time, including one whole shift spent attached to a team of nurses.
Jamie Lim (front row, second right) and fellow cardiovascular medicine supervisor Dr Deanna Khoo (back right) with a group of medical students during Hospital Week
Doctors who learn to respect nurses and the nursing profession make respectful doctors themselves. The era of mastership, i.e. the physician being the dictator and the most important person in the hospital, has been replaced by building meaningful partnerships. All healthcare workers are equal partners in the care of the patient with different members, and in many situations this is the doctor, stepping up to lead the care.
The students’ energy is infectious and never fails to remind me why I am still doing what I signed up for three years ago. Together with my cardiologists, I have led more than five teams of students since 2013. Although it is only one week of orientation – it is intense, both for students and their supervisors. Many bonds and relationships are forged and built to last (I hope).
Very often, I hear a familiar greeting “Sister Jamie” from afar and I would be greeted with one or more eager-looking medical students. It may take some time for me to recall their names and which cohort they belong to, but they will save me the agony and remind me. Those encounters never fail to bring back fond memories.
Every cohort is unique and I do have some favourite moments and unforgettable scenes, such as watching the students struggle with the challenges of ageing (we spent a whole day simulating the ageing process, where students wore tinted glasses to simulate cataracts, threading needles with thick gloved hands to simulate loss of dexterity and sensation and wearing an adult nappy to simulate the loss of dignity) or having a group of five of them request to have a nasogastric tube inserted – four of which were successful! It was very brave of them to attempt.
All in all, I enjoy the interaction and the sharing; I hope the students feel likewise. Amidst the fun-filled programme, I believe each hospital week supervisor wishes that he or she has impacts and/or instils a deeper meaning of doctoring beyond just clinical knowledge and practical skills.
What some of the other nurses involved in hospital week had to say about Hospital Week and the students:
”Hospital Week is about getting the students to understand how the hospital feels to the patient.
It’s about the patient journey.”
Tan Soak Buay, Advanced Practice Nurse
“Hospital Week is to show the students what life is like in the hospital… how all the professions come together to care for the patient. It usually clashes with the nursing students, you see the nursing students and the medical students making friends as eventually they will be working in the same place.”
Geraldine Ng, Advanced Practice Nurse
“Hospital week provides students a very good experience of understanding
the nurses’ perspective of the hospital.”
Jasmine Kang, Advanced Practice Nurse
“Half day spent working very closely with them to have a close insight on
how our nurses work on the ground.”
Jiang Yan, Advanced Practice Nurse
“I feel that the students are very motivated and keen to learn. The orientation week is an eye-opener.”
Joyce Lien, Advanced Practice Nurse
“I thought this induction is really to excite them… and to show them what humanity and compassion are.”
Poh Leng, Nurse Educator
“If the bond is built earlier, in the future we can work better together.”
Candy Koh, Nurse Clinician
“I hope I can be part of this enriching programme for the students to learn and understand how the ground works, so that in future, we [nurses and doctors] can communicate better.”
Azlin, Nurse Clinician