Generation Grit: Nurse puts her heart into helping those in need

Ms Fiona Ke, 32, grew up in a single-parent household. At 22, she discovered she had a heart defect and had to undergo surgery. Now a nurse, that experience helped her empathise with her patients.
Ms Fiona Ke, a senior staff nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, says she gained more empathy for patients after her heart operation.
Ms Fiona Ke, a senior staff nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, says she gained more empathy for patients after her heart operation.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

The poverty she experienced growing up filled Fiona Ke, 32, with compassion for the less fortunate, as did an unexpected heart operation at the age of 22. This is her story in her own words.

"My dad abandoned us when I was around five or six years old and my mum struggled to raise the three of us. I was the youngest.

She also had to support our grandfather, my dad's elderly father, who lived with us. So my mum rented out two rooms in our four-room flat while we squeezed into the master bedroom, and my grandfather slept in the kitchen.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2019, with the headline 'Nurse puts her heart into helping those in need'. Print Edition | Subscribe