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It’s More Than Just A Job- It’s A Calling
It wasn’t the career that she had set out for as Melanie Tan had always harboured dreams of being a teacher. However, after losing her loved ones through illnesses, she had a change of heart. Melanie decided to join the nursing profession to touch the lives of others and started working as a radiology nurse in the Oncologic Imaging Department at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).
“Things changed when I saw my paternal grandfather die of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and I also witnessed my maternal grandfather suffer dreadfully for a few months from pancreatic cancer. I realised that life can be so fragile. It took some courage but I was determined to become a nurse,” she says.
Melanie was offered a nursing scholarship by NCCS after six years there and went on to take up an advanced diploma in Oncology Nursing in 2012. The course inspired her to become a breast care nurse within the institution.
Taking A Bold Step Forward
Melanie was given another opportunity to pursue her degree in Nursing two years later. Although it was not an easy decision to make, the mother of three decided to take up the challenge of balancing family responsibilities with work and her studies.
With the support of her colleagues and family and good friends in church, Melanie enrolled in the SIM-University of Sydney (UOS) Bachelor of Nursing (Post-Registration) (Part-Time) programme.
“I was enthusiastic about the course as the modules were very relevant and would benefit patients under my care, through the upgrading of my knowledge, clinical skills, leadership management, as well as research practice… the programme is well-established and has had a good reputation over the past 20 years. I am impressed by the collaboration between SIM Global Education and the University of Sydney, it was also important for me to know that this programme is accredited by the Singapore Nursing Board,” she adds.
The journey to earning her degree hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Melanie recalls, “I remember having little “me time” and not much rest. My husband has been my greatest support and my three children have constantly encouraged me. I often park myself in the SIM library for long hours.
“On rare occasions, I would be at the library all through the night and then get some rest. I’ll see my children and head straight back to work. I‘ve been willing to sacrifice and have stayed focused and disciplined to overcome this challenge”, she shares.
Excelling At The Workplace
The course has further equipped Melanie with the skills to thrive in her leadership role. She explains: “I learnt that leadership is not just about management and giving directions, nor is it about being loud and intimidating. It is about the ability to direct and develop an organisation or a nursing unit, the ability to render support to staff and the ability to influence… I have learnt that what matters is the legacy I leave behind: to impact the hearts of nurses around me.”
As a nurse clinician, Melanie currently works closely with breast surgeons and provides pre-operation counselling and post-operation care for patients with cancer-related symptoms. She also plays a consultative role, advising nurses on clinical issues in managing patients and provides care to patients with psychosocial issues.
“Walking with women from all walks of life during the cancer journey has enriched my learning that it is not just about the knowledge and advice that I render, it’s about letting them know that they are not alone,” shares Melanie.
During the course of her degree studies, she was awarded the Healthcare Humanity Award and the Singapore Health Quality Service Award (Super Star Award) for her outstanding performance at work.
Melanie aspires to continue bringing hope to others. “I am extremely happy and passionate about my role and work. I want to continue working hand in hand with my wonderful colleagues from multiple clinical disciplines so that we can provide the best possible care and give hope to our patients,” she says.
Register here for the SIM-University of Sydney (UOS) Bachelor of Nursing (Post-Registration) (Part-Time) programme briefing at SIM GE's Open House.
Posted online, 25 August 2017