Long Service Award Recipient Tham Chui Mun
Why make nursing your career?
Nursing was my childhood dream. The young and curious me wanted to know how these angels in white help to nurse the sick back to health. Above all, I really want to meet people and see how they live and manage their lives.
Forty years is a long time. What keeps you going?
The early days were tough and stressful, coupled with the less than developed healthcare capability then, but it was also the most enriching time. Those days, we had to recycle a lot of materials like resharpening needles before packing them for use the next day. My training days were no walk in the garden, but it was a good opportunity for me to grow professionally, shape my resilience and expose me to many things within nursing. It was like a crash course to the real nursing world. And it was precisely the learning process that strengthened my interest in nursing.
Fast forward to more recent times when we experienced SARS in 2003, it was another learning opportunity for me and I will never forget the strong camaraderie built at the same time. Even now, the sacrifices we made and the stories around me still touch my heart deeply.
Nursing changed me. I have learnt to be a better and more understanding person. It allows us to see things in a broader view and with empathy.
Finally, what advice would you have for the younger generation?
My point of view is every nurse will have a chance to excel in their career. It depends on what they want to achieve, their level of commitment and how they balance their work and life. With many opportunities available, there are many things to learn. However, they will need to bear in mind to transfer their knowledge to their juniors to build up their team and strengthen the future of nursing.