24 May 2017
Nourishing Hearts and Bodies

Nursing support that goes beyond ensuring that patients are well-fed.

Being a Girl Guide in secondary school inspired Ms Janet Chong to take up nursing as her lifelong vocation.

“As a Girl Guide, I made weekly visits to welfare homes for intellectually handicapped children, as well as nursing homes for the aged,” she says. “During these visits, I witnessed the patience and compassion of the nurses and nursing aides.”

Today, Ms Chong is a Nurse Clinician I (Specialty Care) at Singapore General Hospital. As a Nutrition Support Specialty Nurse, she helps patients who require special devices for eating (such as feeding tubes). It’s a role that lets her work with fellow professionals to serve both heart and body: “Being a Specialty Nurse, I have the privilege of planning and designing person-centric care plans together with our medical and allied health teams,” she explains. 

“Person-centric” best describes Ms Chong’s approach to nursing. It’s a commitment that inspires her to visit patients at home, even during holidays. She credits her husband and two sons, whom she calls her “greatest motivation,” for driving her on these occasions. 

“A blocked feeding tube isn’t generally regarded as a medical emergency,” explains Ms Chong. “However, in Asian culture, eating is an important social activity. It would be unthinkable – especially during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya or Christmas – for patients and their families not to eat and celebrate together, just because a loved one had to receive special care due to a blocked feeding tube. That’s why I always try to assist my patients, even if it’s outside office hours.”

Janet Chong 02

Recently, Ms Chong also supported a colleague whose spouse was a patient under her care. “Knowing it can be challenging to transport a bedbound patient to the clinic by ambulance,” she explains, “I offered to visit them at home every four to six months, or whenever the feeding tube needed changing.”

Modest as ever about her own efforts, Ms Chong noted her admiration for her colleague’s strength in difficult times. Of her own work, she says only that she feels humbled to be able to make a difference in her patients’ lives. “When I joined SGH in 1982, little did I know that I’d embark on such a challenging and rewarding journey, growing and enriching myself in nursing for 35 years,” she explains.  

THIS IS WHY WE SERVE: Ms Chong is one of the recipients of the PS21 Distinguished Star Service Award at this year’s Excellence in Public Service Awards (ExPSA) ceremony. Look out for more coverage of this year’s ExPSA recipients!

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