Lee Jing Ru, 26, Se­nior Staff Nurse

CLEO (Singapore) - - CANMAKE SPECIAL -

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.”

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