Her passion for nursing was ignited when she was part of St John’s Ambulance Brigade in secondary school and was posted to a local hospital for attachment. The working experience taught Ms Oei Shu Xian the fragility of life and inspired her to make a positive contribution to someone’s life. 

She is also motivated by her brother who is a doctor. She decided to pursue nursing as a full-time career at 22 after getting her degree in nursing. She was among the first batches of graduates from National University of Singapore’ Bachelor of Science (Nursing) – a three year programme that has helped equipped her with the relevant skills and trained her to cope with the stress that comes with the job.

The 32-year-old is now a staff nurse at Woodlands Health Campus (WHC). 

“Nursing taught me a lot of things that you can’t learn in books. I gained new perspectives in life and learnt to not take things or my loved ones for granted. Even being able to wake up everyday is a blessing itself,” she says.

She chats with her patients, mostly elderly, to get to know them better and notes down their preferences such as how they would like to be addressed or how they would like to have their coffee in the morning. She believes in spreading positive energy to help make her patients’ stay comfortable and pleasant.

The cheerful lady recounted how she used to find it hard to control her emotions when she first started working as a nurse 10 years ago. The passing of patients whom she cared for affected her emotionally. Today, she is still saddened by death, but finds solace by telling herself that her patients’ suffering has ended and that she has done her best to help them during their stay at the community hospital.

While the responsibility of caring for someone else may seem overwhelming at first, Ms Oei advised fellow nurses and aspiring students to always keep an open mind as nursing is a rewarding career.

“It’s not going to be easy but it’s going to be worth it. The feeling of being able to touch someone’s life and make a difference is something you will never forget,” she added.