SIA cabin crew redeployed to care for hospital patients

A nurse manager at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital showing Singapore Airlines stewardesses - among 30 cabin crew redeployed as "care ambassadors" - how to assist a patient to sit up during meal time.
A nurse manager at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital showing Singapore Airlines stewardesses - among 30 cabin crew redeployed as "care ambassadors" - how to assist a patient to sit up during meal time.PHOTO: KHOO TECK PUAT HOSPITAL

Starting next week, 30 Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew will care for patients at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) instead of serving passengers on a plane.

The 20 flight stewardesses and 10 stewards, grounded temporarily owing to cancelled flights because of the coronavirus outbreak, are to be redeployed as "care ambassadors" at the public hospital in Yishun.

They will be assigned to low-risk wards and support hospital care teams by carrying out basic care-giving procedures, nutritional care and patient service management.

Patients in these general wards are treated for, among other things, chronic diseases, heart disorders and acute surgical conditions.

Yesterday, this group, who are the first to be care ambassadors, underwent medical screening, vaccinations and a hospital orientation.

They also watched a demonstration on serving meals to patients, one of the tasks during their three-month stint at the hospital.

They have the option to extend for a further three months.

Starting today, they will undergo a five-day training course and be taught basic medical terminology, vital signs monitoring, oral feeding, as well as the positioning, turning and ambulating of a patient.

They will also be trained in safety and infection control measures and will be required to wear a mask, just as nurses and doctors must, although they will have no direct contact with Covid-19 patients.

When deployed, they will work the nine-hour day and night shifts, five days a week.

SIA Group has committed to providing at least 300 care ambassadors to various hospitals, depending on each hospital's needs.

They will be paid a monthly salary, with 75 per cent of the remuneration borne by the Government under the Jobs Support Scheme. The respective hospitals will bear the remaining 25 per cent.

Ms Shirley Heng, chief nurse at KTPH, said: "This is also a good opportunity for our nurses to exchange knowledge and skills on service with the crew of SIA, who are top service professionals.

"We hope this will be a meaningful experience for them."

She added that the collaboration with SIA will help boost manpower needs, as more healthcare staff have been reassigned to care for Covid-19-related patients.

SIA leading steward Fabien Sieh, 32, who is in the first group, said he considers it a "blessing" to be able to give back to society during the outbreak.

"I want to experience working in an environment where people help to save lives.

"I hope to learn from the healthcare workers and obtain skills that can make a difference to the lives and futures of myself and those around me," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2020, with the headline 'SIA cabin crew redeployed to care for hospital patients'. Print Edition | Subscribe