Nurses' Day

Care, generosity and sadness

Ms Noor Ayu Mohamed Amin says being able to connect with the migrant workers is an achievement.
Ms Noor Ayu Mohamed Amin says being able to connect with the migrant workers is an achievement. PHOTO: NOOR AYU MOHAMED AMIN

NOOR AYU MOHAMED AMIN, 36

Senior staff nurse, Singapore General Hospital

When Singapore General Hospital's Ward 68 nurses found out that migrant workers who were being discharged from the hospital to community care facilities did not have uncontaminated clean clothes to wear, they combed through their own wardrobes to donate clothes to the workers.

"This caught the migrant workers by surprise, that we already provided them with care and now they are receiving new clothes as well. They were very appreciative," Ms Noor Ayu Mohamed Amin, 36, said. The senior staff nurse at Ward 68 added that it was satisfying to be able to connect with the patients, as it was not easy to communicate with them.

She remembers checking in on a migrant worker in an isolation room. She was puzzled to find him watching TV and looking well as her colleague had told her that he did not pick up her phone calls.

When she asked him if his bedside phone was working, he stared blankly at her.

Realising that the migrant worker might not understand much English and could have been reluctant to answer the phone, she used gestures to ask him if he had a cough or felt breathless.

"He said, 'Oh! I'm okay, sister.' And he smiled," said Ms Ayu.

She added: "The biggest challenge I face when I nurse migrant workers is the language barrier.

"But when we manage to connect with the patient, that is an achievement."

NO PROPER GOODBYES

Family members are not allowed to go inside the ICU and they can only look from outside. In a way, there are no proper goodbyes... It is sad, you don't know when was the last time they held one another.

MS NOOR AYU MOHAMED AMIN

Ms Ayu also works in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Ward 68, where she has seen a patient die of Covid-19.

The bodies of those infected with Covid-19 are prepared for cremation or burial by healthcare workers in hospitals, and protocols include double-bagging the bodies before they are placed in airtight coffins.

"Family members are not allowed to go inside the ICU and they can only look from outside. In a way, there are no proper goodbyes," said Ms Ayu.

 

"It is sad, you don't know when was the last time they held one another. Therefore, it is so important that we be there for the family as much as possible and make the process smooth for them."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'Care, generosity and sadness'. Print Edition | Subscribe