Article : Matron Alice Pang
Chief Nursing Officer
“There has generally been rising medico-legal cases and high number of complaints at hospitals. Now for both sides, the emphasis is on getting it right the very first time and always. If anything goes wrong, the patient may die. Thus as hospital staff, we must be careful in dealing with human lives,” she said, in an interview with Inspiration.
In her long and distinguished nursing career, Matron Alice has had her fair share of satisfaction.
Citing accident patients who come to the hospital with multiple fractures, she explained, “ They are treated by the doctors’, with the nurses’ assistance. Seeing them recovering and walking out of the hospital upon discharge gives me a lot of satisfaction.” Similarly with with medical cases.
Likewise in the case of patients suffering from stroke, she said, “ We look after them well , send them for physiotherapy and give them complete nursing care. Doing all that until they return to normal is such a joyful experience.”
Even so, running a hospital is not without its challenges.Matron Alice said, “ Staff attitude can be a big headache. Unlike before, there are many hospitals now including hospitals overseas such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore. They have more choices and better offers now. Planned resignations, 24 hours resignation, emergency leave and medical leave are some of the typical problems in the industry.”
According to her, interviews only last for about ten minutes, allowing just superficial assessments. The referees are difficult to contact sometimes. Consequently, she says she tends to take her own students whom she knows, from the college where she used to teach.
In any event, KJMC employs counselling in helping staff with problems. She said, “ We try to dig out what the real problem is. Say in the case of habitual lateness, we find out the reasons, where the staff live, etc. Apart from encouraging them to live near the hospitals so that they can walk to work, we also advise them accordingly and emphasize on basic principles such as punctuality, integrity and honesty.”
KJMC also has its own succession planning in place.
Expressing hope that the the junior staff will be able to follow what have been taught to them, she said the good ones would be further guided. She added, “ Once these selected staff are matured and comperent enough, they will in turn guide their juniors. They can also take over when the seniors retire.”
To Matron Alice, whether a nurse is a potential asset or otherwise depends on each individual.
Out of ten, may be six are good and the remaining four are so-so. From there on, it depends a lot on their interests, passion and inclinations.
As the saying goes, attitude determines one’s altitude.