Professionalism is also Kindness


These last few weeks have really made me look at nurses with renewed awe.

After the experience with some great nurses at the hospital, I found myself meeting another team of great nurses at the polyclinic.

My minor surgery wound needed a change of dressing every few days. At first I thought I could do it myself, but boy was I wrong. My type of wound had no stitches; it wasn’t as simple as keeping the wound clean.

“Ma’am, we will have to ensure that the wound stays open and clean, for it to heal from below. As the tissue inside grows upwards, the wound will heal nicely and close up.”

Oops… my wound appeared to have started closing up… “no worries, we will just gently pry it open”.

What?! Pry it open?! “It’s OK, I will just use the syringe tip; then flush the wound with saline; just a little bit of pain OK? Sorry ya….”

Sorry?! It sounds more than just “a little bit of pain”! Oh boy, I braced myself…

Surprisingly, the nurses were right… in fact, there was no pain. Just a bit of weird feeling as the cold saline flows through the wound.

“Now we will insert this anti-microbial strip into the wound. It will keep the wound clean and absorb all the exudates. There will be a little bit of pain when we insert it into the wound ya.”

Oh no….another “little bit of pain”. The white Aquacel strip was gently packed into the wound… surprisingly again, just another weird feeling, no pain.

“You said the previous waterproof dressing caused itchiness. Then we will use this Metflix dressing, not as harsh on the skin. But make sure you keep the dressing dry, ok? Be careful when you shower.”

In about ten minutes, the wound was nicely cleaned and wrapped in fresh dressing. How long would it take for the wound to heal completely, I asked. “Could take a few weeks. We will monitor and advise you if there is a need to change the type of dressing we do for you, as the healing progresses.” The confidence exuded by the nurse was impeccable; I was so reassured that I was in good hands.

I went back again another five times, each time with the same team of nurses. Each time, the ten minutes or less were amazing – the way the wound was cleaned, examined, dressed; and the confident, caring manner in which the nurses spoke with me. Sometimes I observed how they spoke with each other and with other patients in the adjacent dressing areas. There was so much professionalism and camaraderie that I felt envious.

Yesterday was my last appointment. “Your wound has healed, that was fast!” The nurses double-checked that I just needed another simple clean-up. “I love doing dressing; there is a sense of satisfaction watching patients’ wounds heal,” the nurse engaged in chitchat with me as she cleaned. “Every time I come, you guys seem so happy,” I commented. “Yes, I enjoy working here. The team is fantastic. I can always consult my seniors if I’m unsure”… and I have heard how the seniors talk to the juniors.

“That’s it, you are good to go!”

“Yay! Thank you all so much! But I will miss coming here, to be honest…”

“Hahaha, thank you, it’s always nice to have appreciative patients like you!”

I was really happy and sad at the same time. Glad the wound has healed, but will miss the consistently-uplifting ten minutes in this polyclinic dressing room.

I have not had this much respect for nurses for awhile; not that I come across them very often, but the few times I did never left in me any wonderful impression. Has the professionalism of nurses gone up? Some things must be going right in the hospital / polyclinic that I was at, is it the training, the culture, the staff policies, the leadership, the processes…? Somehow there was this positive aura about these nurses… they did their work well, and they enjoyed it.

And by their professionalism, their patients like me benefited.

Thank you to the NURSES of Room-22 in Hougang Polyclinic, for the “roses” you have given me through your professionalism.

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses

~~ Chinese Proverb

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