Taken from the straits times: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/jobs/nursing-manager-skills-boost-redefines-her-role-as-healthcare-professional

Nursing manager’s skills boost redefines her role as healthcare professional

Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital leads the way in building capabilities of the community care sector

When Ms Serene Tan, 39, decided to pursue nursing after her O levels, her family tried hard to dissuade her.

They felt that nursing was not suitable for someone so young, asking her if she was ready to “clean up patients”.

But after being in the profession for 16 years, the nursing manager at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH) feels her career goes far beyond the notion of being an intensive patient-care job; it is more than performing menial or unpleasant tasks.

Besides her nursing duties and managing a team of 85 nurses, she also fronts projects and brainstorms ideas to improve operational processes and maximise efficiency within the hospital.

“When I come across an area that is problematic or can be refined, I will always discuss with my team, and do a deep dive into the root causes and analyse the situation,” says the single mother of two.

Before joining KWSH in 2018, Ms Tan had stints as a nurse educator at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, nursing lecturer at the Institute of Technical Education, and senior staff nurse at Changi General Hospital.

“If the issue is process-related, we’ll work out a solution on our own, and we’ll raise it,” she says, adding that her bosses are always receptive to perspectives from the nursing staff.

For example, she recalls suggesting a way to improve the showering process of patients that reduced the number of nurses needed – from seven to six – leading to better well-being among the caregivers and greater efficiency.

She is also given projects to optimise patient care, such as introducing the use of a gravity milk feed for nasogastric tube patients – a more convenient method of feeding such patients compared to the conventional approach of using a syringe.

But not all solutions can be found internally. Collating observations and ideas from her colleagues, Ms Tan shares that her responsibilities include sourcing and working with external vendors to find solutions that benefit both the patients and the caregivers.

“Times are different now. We can use technology to carry out trials and overcome barriers. Many of us have also been attending courses to upgrade ourselves, learning about the latest evidence-based practices to improve the quality of nursing care.”