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Leading The Way For Patient-focused Healthcare

SingHealth, and its silent and purposeful work, is an unsung hero in the healthcare industry. While it works tirelessly to attract new talents to lead the charge for patient-focused care, it also listens to the ground on how to improve its services.

Tan Kai Beng nurtures talent and delivers care as a Senior Staff Nurse. He is a recipient of the MOHH Healthcare Merit Award (HM A) Mid-term Scholarship and holds a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Honours (Distinction) from the National University of Singapore.

Alot goes on behind the scenes at SingHealth.

The healthcare group has a three-pronged mission – Care to Heal, Educate to Empower and Innovate to Advance. It focuses on providing high quality care to patients, nurturing a steady pipeline of talented healthcare professionals, and conducting research to improve healthcare standards. Being Singapore’s largest public healthcare group, SingHealth has a robust network of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who work closely together to achieve its mission.

Senior Staff Nurse 29-year-old Tan Kai Beng champions the “Educate to Empower” mission. He trains new nurses to ensure a smooth transition for them as they begin their healthcare careers, and empowers them to deliver quality patient care.

Kai Beng, an MOHH Healthcare Merit Award (HMA) Mid-term Scholar, has been in his current role for two years. He is passionate about helping the sick and committed to training future generations of nurses. He shares his thoughts on his role and nursing as a career.

Eradicating the Stigma

Not too long ago, nursing was predominantly viewed as a role for females. Kai Beng shares that the stigma has lessened considerably.

“People often ask how I cope with the job of being a male nurse in a female-dominated environment. I add value by bringing a different perspective on board, such as in managing issues and resolving conflicts. For example, when dealing with patients who are rowdy and abusive, I am able to manage them and offer alternatives to minimise tension escalation and ensure the safety of both the patients and fellow colleagues.”

“My parents are very proud to have a male nurse in the family and often reaffirm my decision to take on this unconventional pathway to help others and serve the community,” he quips.

“The only constant in nursing is change – with shift transitions, evolving manpower distribution and protocol revisions, nurses need to always be on their toes to adapt quickly in a fast-paced work environment.” Tan Kai Beng

Grit, Passion and Guts

Being a senior staff nurse is not a bed of roses. It requires more than just skills and knowledge.

“To thrive in nursing, adaptability and resilience are essential. The only constant in nursing is change – with shift transitions, evolving manpower distribution and protocol revisions, nurses need to always be on their toes to adapt quickly in a fast-paced work environment. Nursing can also be emotionally draining, and nurses can, unfortunately, lose their initial passion when overwhelmed. My advice would be to list down the positive experiences or situations at work and look back at them whenever you feel down to reignite your passion for nursing and plan future directions,” explains Kai Beng.

The rewards of nursing go beyond the tangibles. Patients’ loved ones often show gratitude to Kai Beng for his help, and work closely with him to ensure a continuity of care even when the patient returns home. He believes in engaging caregivers so that caregivers also get involved in their loved ones’ care journeys, and are empowered to nurse their loved ones even after they are discharged from the hospital. This is where a nurse’s ability to connect with people and compassion come to the fore.

Tan Kai Beng

Think Smart, Think Ahead

Kai Beng emphasises the need for nurses to think critically, understand the rationale behind each decision or action, and voice out whenever they spot shortcomings, as their work is a big responsibility that can carry serious consequences.

“Nurses should not be afraid to surface mistakes or errors made by fellow healthcare workers. We have a duty to advocate patient safety so that all of us can work in a conducive environment and deliver safe and quality patient care,” opines Kai Beng.

Staying Focused and Looking to the Future

Nursing can be a stressful job. To combat the stress, Kai Beng exercises regularly, eats healthily and gets sufficient rest. He jogs at least twice a week and makes a conscious effort to avoid sugary food and drinks.

Kai Beng has a heartening outlook when he sees new nurses joining the force. He advises them to be bold in generating ideas that will positively impact the healthcare landscape, so that future generations can receive better and more sustainable healthcare services. He is also excited at how the nursing industry is constantly changing for the better, with expansions in job scopes such as the introduction of advanced practice nurses, the granting of medication prescribing rights for experienced nurses, and the rise of nurse researchers.

These developments definitely bode well for those who are looking to pursue a meaningful career in nursing.

This article was first published in BrightSparks Magazine June 2020. Republished with permission from CareerBuilder Singapore.