Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Resigned with immediate effect

One of the permanent-night senior SN (SSN L) resigned with immediate effect today. From what she had shared with me previously, it is probably an accumulation of frustrations. The last straw that broke the camel's back happened yesterday. Here's the gist of what I heard, although I have yet to hear anything from the horse's mouth.
Yesterday (Monday 16-Nov-2009) morning, SSN L's long-time night partner SSN R called up the ward about her MC (medical certificate for sick leave) for several days. However, the admin staff did not manage to find anyone to cover SSN R's absence. Finally it was escalated to ADON G, but somehow there still wasn't any staff replacement. Thus it was 1 SSN and 1 HCA covering the entire ward of acute patients for that night.

Well, yesterday was my day-off. At around 17:40hrs, I received a call from my ward's admin staff requesting me to cover SSN R's night shift. As I already had a dinner appointment, I turned down the request. According to the admin staff, she has tried asking all the other day-staff but could not find anyone. Thus, she had no choice but to call me, her last resort, at that late hour. She demanded to know why I could not come for the night duty. When I persisted that I could not change my dinner appointment as my friend would be flying back to Hong Kong, she then said she has no choice but to inform the ADON G.

It reminds me of the work culture in Singapore. People expects singles to sacrifice their private lives for work emergencies, without considering singles also have their social roles and responsibilities to attend to. I have made this mistake before of agreeing easily to “犧牲小我,完成大我。” ["sacrifice personal interests for the interests of the greater group"], pissing not just a handful of my friends/significant-others/family-members as a result. Such a habit does not buy one any goodwill at work either because after a while colleagues/supervisors take it for granted that the usual sacrificial lamb should do it. Thus, I am not about to fall into this rut again.


  1. Hey winking doll,

    your rumbles reminds me of my early days in nursing...and it was extremely painful experience...one word summarises it all 'sad'...in my own view, nursing in singapore is a hollow shell..with everything being emphasised on the outside than the inside...

    My lecturer (in NYP) told me that nursing was an Art and Science. But all l can see was paper, paper, accreditation, more paper etc..so, what's next?? and honestly, when l hear that you were forced to tie your hair in a certain manner at work disgust me....l cannot be more ashamed to be educated and worked in such environment...
    world class medical facilities but 3th world nursing workforce. if you read the posted about the nurse whom had come to my hospital for HMDP and u will understand why.

    I am glad your singaporean nursing days are over!

    Hope you had a positive experience when telling your mates that you are leaving for greener pastures!!


  2. Hi bone collector,

    It was a senior colleague who resigned, not me. Sad to say, she was one of those nice to newbies (like me), so I would miss her. Her strength is in knowing when hospital practices put our nursing license at risk. If she were in Aussie or Canada, she would have made a wonderful nurse unionist. Another nursing talent lost by the hospital, sigh.

    > your rumbles reminds me of my early days in nursing...and it was extremely painful

    Precisely my point. At my previous career, everyone typically regards each other as a professional, thus even new graduates are generally treated decently by experienced staff. For nursing to be truly recognised at professional levels, the nurses' attitudes to their greenhorns have to change. It is not professional to treat another professional (even newbies) like dirt.

    I am plotting my escape. I have a 3 year bond but the main thing holding me back is the nursing registration overseas. I hope to settle that before relocating, so that I can avoid having to downgrade to EN level. I do not wish to be like the green-eyed foreign senior EN at my ward (who was an RN at her home country), grumbling about the in-competence of new RNs to boost her own self-esteem.

  3. Hello!

    Just wondering if you are working in a restructured hospital. Cuz... after reading your various entries... I'm surprised that such culture still exist in the wards.

    I agree that ward culture was extremely bad in the early days (esp. pre-SARS). As a result, quality staff left, no body protects each others ass when something goes wrong etc.

    But, in my (humble) opinion, i think that things have changed a little bit... for the good. At least, SNs are starting to help each other instead of watching their colleagues go down.

    But of course, there are still staff that are vicious as ever... I always take comfort in the fact that as more new blood enter the wards, such practices will be weed out in time to come... be it another decade or two. =D

    I'm working in a restructured hospital (the SARS hspt..) ... things in the ward have definately improved alot as compared to the old days. I hope you do continue in your journey in nursing. be it in Sg or Overseas.


  4. Hi Anonymous at THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009 5:00:00 PM,

    I don't think it matters much whether the hospital is restructured or otherwise. Each work environment has its own pros and cons.

    I was a student at your restructured hospital (the SARS one) before. Maybe we were unlucky, but there were some incidents at that C-class ward which left unpleasant memories.

    E.g. There was a patient on IV drip with KCl. There was not enough Baxter pumps to go around. There was an EN who manually set the IV drip rate. For some reason, the IV drip finished hours before the expected time. Initially, a student nurse (who was assigned to that cubicle for that shift) was accused of tampering with the drip rate. When the student nurse explained that she did not touch the IV line, the staff then tried to pin the blame on her for not watching the IV drip. We, the student nurses on short clinical attachment, to check on their staff's work (albeit an EN)? What about their own staff responsible for that cubicle, what were they doing? Such a situation is unlikely to happen at my hospital because we have enough infusion pumps to go around for each patient's needs.

    Another e.g. One day, the ward manager saw a student nurse ferrying a patient to the toilet in a commote without foot-rest. She scolded the student nurse loudly for using the commote without foot-rest, thus the patient's feet dangled in mid-air for the journey to the toilet. That ward had 5 commotes, of which only 1 had foot rest and it was in-use by another patient. However, the ward manager just fired away, without asking the student for an explanation. Did the ward manager expect the patient to hold his/her PU until that 1 commote with foot-rest is available?

    The above situations are real. My nursing buddy was the student involved in both cases and she was traumatized when they happened. Afterall, it was our first posting to that hospital and we did not know that hospital's norms. I too faced some comparatively minor issues at that ward. We were glad when our clinical attachment at that ward was over.

    > I always take comfort in the fact that as more new blood enter the wards, such practices will be weed out in time to come... be it another decade or two

    I agree that change may come eventually with new blood joining and old ones retiring. Then again, as I've commented on Bone Collector's blog entry, it depends if the new blood blindly repeats history by treating newbies in the same way that they were treated when new. In any case, I'm no spring chicken. In another decade or two, I would have retired :-P Ahhh, something to look forward to ;-)

    Thanks for dropping by and your well-wishes. I hope to continue with my nursing career too, be it in Singapore or overseas.

  5. p.s. There were some excellent staff at that ward too. One of them is a hospital CI. From her name and accent, she is a China Chinese. There were also 2 SNs who were responsible staff and were kind to patients and students alike.