Lee Jing Ru, 26, Senior Staff Nurse
As a palliative care nurse at Dover Park Hospice, 26-yearold Jing Ru doesn’t nurse her patients back to health. Her job is to make sure her patients are as comfortable as they can be in their inals days.
Palliative care is provided to people who have lifelimiting illnesses, so most of Jing Ru’s patients are in the inal stages of organ failure, or terminal diseases like cancer.
“Some people might feel like they’re failing a family member if they’re not giving them active or curative treatment, but when facing a life-limiting illness, people need to know that palliative care is an option too.”
Jing Ru admits that even though she’s been a palliative care nurse for close to ive years now, it’s still tough to deal with her patients’ deaths.
A patient who made a big impact on her is a lady in her late-40s who was recently admitted into the hospice because she’s in the inal stages of a kidney disease.
“I went to check on her one day and I realised that she was getting weaker. She couldn’t even speak, but she found the strength to hold my hand,” Jing Ru shares. “So I sat there with her for 15 minutes, just holding her hand.”
When asked why that patient stood out to her, Jing Ru says that maybe it’s because the patient was single and relatively young, and had shared with her a list of things that she had yet to do. Travel was at the top of that list, but she couldn’t do that anymore because of her condition.
As heartbreaking as it was to hear, this is what a day at work is like for Jing Ru. She stresses that being in this line of work requires a strong support system – especially when there are challenging patients to care for.
“Some people can’t come to terms with their conditions,” she says. “And because some types of medication are sedative, we have patients who refuse to take them because they’re afraid that they won’t wake up again if they fall asleep.” When they refuse the medication, the patients have to deal with excruciating pain, which Jing Ru says is heartbreaking to watch.
Most people on their deathbeds have told her to spend more time with her loved ones. “My patients tell me to never be stingy with my love. And they say things like, ‘if you love someone, you have to let them know.’ It really makes you think about how you’re spending your time.”