President's Award for Nurses

She volunteers to accompany patients in their last moments to give them comfort

The Straits Times speaks to the five nurses who clinched the President's Award for Nurses this year. The award, the highest accolade for the profession in Singapore, recognises nurses who have shown sustained, outstanding performance and contributions to patient care delivery, education, research and administration.

Nursing director Chin Soh Mun is a fervent believer that patients should not be alone in their final hours. PHOTO: DOVER PARK HOSPICE

SINGAPORE - Nursing director Chin Soh Mun has pretty much seen it all in her 48 years in the profession, in roles ranging from acute to long-term care, but she has now found her true calling - palliative care at the Dover Park Hospice.

Ms Chin, 66, is a fervent believer that no one should be alone in his last moments, so her commitment to her patients goes beyond attending to their physical needs.

"It is about ensuring that their psycho-social and emotional needs are met, which requires a lot of experience and heart in the work (that we do, so) it is crucial that we understand our patients beyond their illnesses," she said.

Ms Chin takes time to understand her patients as people - knowing the important milestones in their life and their family dynamics - so that their last wishes can be fulfilled and they die in peace.

Despite the intense emotional demands of her day job, Ms Chin goes even further by volunteering with the Dover Park Hospice's Vigil Programme, where she provides solace and comfort to patients in their final moments.

Volunteers are scheduled to sit with the patient day and night prior to their death.

"I strongly believe that no one should die alone, so I volunteered to accompany these patients - who are either alone or their loved ones were unable to be with them in their final hours," said Ms Chin.

Another role involves overseeing plans to move the hospice to the Integrated Care Hub at Health City Novena, which is expected to open next year.

The move will increase the hospice's bed numbers from 50 now to 100.

Ms Chin Soh Mun (in yellow) on her morning rounds discussing patient cases with her team of nurses. PHOTO: DOVER PARK HOSPICE

Said Ms Chin: "Having started my career as a nurse in the paediatric ward during my training days, and then transitioning to a restructured hospital environment before moving into community nursing, my last eight years in palliative nursing have been an especially meaningful part of my career.

"It is as though I have completed my journey through various phases of life together with my patients."

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