Harnesh Kaur

Bachelor of Nursing Science (Hons)
Harnesh studied Bachelor of Nursing Science (Hons) at International Medical University (IMU)

The perfect practice

At university 
My journey with IMU started in 2006 and it was a great one. Despite the busy schedule as a nursing student, I actively joined and performed dance items for events at the university. I also held the position of Vice President of Health Sciences in 2007/08 in the student council.

My background 
In my second year of working at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, I won the Miss Malaysia Indian Global pageant. I continued working as a nurse in Singapore professionally while performing my duties as a reigning queen. I have organised and spearheaded a health carnival called ‘Are You in the Pink of Health?’ in aid of the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) and Gift Her with Life Fund, which raised RM11,000 for the association to continue their noble work. 

My company and job 
I am currently attached to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, one of the best and busiest government hospitals in Singapore. I deal mainly with patients who have cardio- respiratory problems as well as those who require telemetry cardiac monitor, chest drainage, and angiogram. I fill the role of a principal nurse supervising two assistant nurses and together we manage nine to fourteen patients per shift.

The best and worst bits 
Nursing job isn’t all bed of roses. Many have asked: ‘how do you cope’? The experience of being verbally abused and dealing with unpleasant doctors definitely makes one wonder, ‘why am I doing this when no one is appreciating or listening to me’? But then, there will be this one ‘thank you’ note that reaches you from a lovely patient which takes away all the pain and remorse.

My happiest moment at work 
I enjoyed every bit of the learning I gained from my seniors and nursing officers who have polished me to be the ‘perfectionist’ I am today. I also actively participate in almost all the games organised by the welfare department of the organisation, winning the hospital pageant and participating in a fund-raising musical. It was undeniably a rewarding experience exploring the world of arts, theatre and music, while still continuing to do what I do best – that is being a nurse.

Getting the job 
Interviews are always a nerve-wrecking experience. Personally I believe that the employer is generally interested in hearing what you have to offer to become a better employee. They definitely value your ability to make sensible solutions with regards to an occupational crisis as nurses are considered the front-liners of the health industry. The rule of thumb is to convince the employer that you are the most qualified candidate for the job and you will fit in with the rest of the staff.

Be prepared for… 
Becoming a nurse is no easy task. As the caretaker of the patient, the daily routines are very demanding. The moment a nurse enters work, he or she cannot just settle down to the routine or assigned job and go about doing it at a leisurely pace. It is natural for one to get frustrated when disturbed with frequent interruptions as we are always on our feet.

Some advice 
My take-home message would be to expose oneself to the process early. Have a chat with nurses in different clinical settings to get a comprehensive view of nursing. Get a real world experience, secure volunteer opportunities, participate in health fairs, and shadow a nurse for a day to note the challenges we face on the job.