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Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
13 July 2016

Dedicated. Meticulous. Responsible. This would be what co-workers, patients and caregivers would use to describe Home Hospice Nurse, Meei Jeng. (pictured 2nd from right)

Despite being a nurse for 11 years, Meei Jeng still faces her fair share of rejection from patients.  She recalls an incident with a patient of hers, Ms Li*, a cancer patient who had undergone a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, only to have it return not long after.

Overwhelmed with anger, she rejected visits from Meei Jeng and her team of medical social workers, and requested to be left alone to rest. Gaining access to her was a challenge too as she was bedridden. In addition, her husband would adjust her medication, making it difficult to track her symptoms.

Persistence pays off. After several attempts to connect with Ms Li, Meei Jeng and her team eventually won her trust. Ms Li would call them whenever she needed help and the team managed to bring her pain under control. She was finally able to sleep through the night – A luxury for her.

Going above and beyond the call of duty…

As if her day job as a nurse is not tiring enough, Meei Jeng would attend her patients’ wakes and funerals after working hours, and frequently visits the caregivers even after her patients have passed on to offer bereavement support.

Meei Jeng is a dedicated nurse who has exhibited passion, care, and concern to my father and family. She has given her utmost effort to make my father feel physically comfortable to enjoy [a] good quality of life

– Caregiver of Meei Jeng’s patient

It’s not only the patients who need taking care of too. In a study conducted in Singapore:

51% of caregivers had depressive symptoms and 48.6% had anxiety symptoms.

Meei Jeng frequently receives calls from anxious caregivers throughout the day. Even on weekends. But she understands the anxiety and worries that face a patient’s caregiver, and she willingly takes the calls.

During her visits, Meei Jeng leaves her patient’s house only after she is certain that the caregiver feels at ease and enabled to take care of the patient. Part of empowering them includes spending time with caregivers to impart knowledge and basic “know-how” skills of looking after their loved ones.

Being in this field, Meei Jeng also understands the importance of expressing love and forgiveness. She provides counsel and encourages families to affirm one another in the process of attaining proper closure.

Apart from her main role in patient care, Meei Jeng’s love for her patients have also led her to produce the ‘Care of Dying Pathway’ programme; a clinical pathway which has been integrated in HCA’s clinical protocol for all staff, and a series of instructional online videos for the public to learn and share.

She is also a key trainer of HCA’s caregiver training programme for the past 6 years, improving the training as she goes along based on her caregivers’ feedback.

Meei Jeng is a dedicated team leader. She is meticulous in ensuring compliance to protocols and good practices. She puts in extra effort in mentoring new nurses and grooming them to be confident in carrying out their roles as a community Palliative Care nurse.

– Angela Tan, HCA Senior Nursing Manager

Meei Jeng will be receiving the Nurses’ Merit Award from the Ministry of Health. The award commends nurses’ outstanding performance and dedication to the nursing profession.

What else can we say but, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

*not their real names

Nurses of HCA Hospice Care go the extra mile to provide the best for their patients. You may drop a word of congratulation or encouragement for Nurse Meei Jeng at communications@hcahospicecare.org.sg. Visit https://www.hca.org.sg/hospice/services/hca-home-care-service to find out more.