Friday, August 8, 2014

Nurses - the True Unsung Heroes

Often, they are a group that we take for granted and forget to be thankful for. Working long hours, they sacrifice their time and energy just to make sure the ones they care for are comfortable. They work behind the closed scenes of the hospital wards, caring for and administering treatment to patients.

In my opinion, nurses are, not only the backbone but, the true unsung heroes of the medical scene.

Often, we do not see the contributions they make, as we are too preoccupied with the doctors, who are at the forefront of the medical team. Yet, the nurses are the ones working long hours for the patients, nurturing the sick back to health. Without nurses giving the adequate care to wounds, how can lacerations heal to become the smooth complexions they once were? Without nurses closely monitoring the blood pressure, diet and blood sugar of patients, how can their health be stable?

Not all nurses get recognition for their work, though. They might have already given their all to their patients, but still get blamed when the families of patients are not pleased with them. Sometimes, tragedies do happen and nurses are the ones to bear the brunt of the loss. Yes, they are also vulnerable and can be wrongly accused.

On 6th August, 2014, the School of Health Sciences (SHS) celebrated Nurses day. Nurses Day is a day where nurses are given recognition for their contributions and a day to celebrate the continued passion for service within them.

I never knew the contribution of nurses, until I became a patient myself.

Having suffered a traumatic brain injury, I was in a coma for two months. During those moments, it was the nurses who sustained my life. They cleaned me, changed my diaper, fed and hydrated me through a liquid diet as I could neither eat nor drink. They were the ones who made sure I was well taken care of, no matter how grim the prognosis was back then.

Nurses always say that it is all part of their job. However, I believe that they do it because they feel it is their calling.

As I moved into rehabilitation and recovery, my caregivers never failed to rejoice at every little improvement I made. They were the ones who saw me get stronger daily and even treated me like their own son. When I could finally speak after four months, they would come to me, joke with me, and try to put me in good spirits. The nurses were proud of me for making such tremendous improvements.

Even when I was practicing walking as part of my physiotherapy, the nurses would encourage me as I made my way past them. This was not part of their job, but they did it for the love of their patients. It was tough for me, having to struggle as I took every step, but the encouragements kept me going.

Today on Nurses Day, a thought struck me as SHS was giving out awards to outstanding nursing students who did well in their academic pursuits. Only a handful got awards. What about the rest? What keeps them going?

The course isn’t easy at all. There is plenty to memorize, countless tests to complete and multiple attachments to go for. During attachments, nurses do some undesirable jobs. They need to clean up human waste, feed patients (who may not be willing to eat), change soiled bed sheets and attend to the patients’ needs, which may sometimes be demanding and unreasonable. Some might even have to face the unjust reprimand from superiors or patients’ families. What is that really keeps them going despite these difficulties?

Perhaps it is the joy of giving support and love to those in need. Nurses do not work on the frontline. They may not get the recognition they deserve, but their vocation is humbling, yet meaningful. It is, indeed, a beautiful profession.

On Nurses Day, this vocation of love and selfless giving is celebrated all over the world. It is a moment of remembrance for our dedicated nurses. To you, the helpful aides of doctors, to you, our nurses, we are very thankful.

By Matthew Tan Ser Yung, Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work)

Matthew is 20 and pursuing his Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work) at NYP. He may have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a judo competition and may have lost his hopes of becoming a judo champion,  but he has found new passion and interest in writing. He is happy to share how he feels and thinks, and hopes to encourage his readers with his writing


  1. Inspiring! Thank you for sharing your experience! :)

  2. Way to go!!! You are an inspiration!! Do continue writing. Recommend you to read Hemmingway (learn from his economical use of words yet being able to convey the gravitas of a situation without sacrificing style). Do read and practice the advice in 'Elements of Style' by William Stunk.

  3. thanks for the affirmations and will heed advice:)