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ICU Nurse Graduate Talks About The Daily Challenges of Caring for Critically-ill Patients

Assunta Hospital board of directors alternate chairperson Susan Thomas presents the Franciscan Missionary of Mary Award to Dharsini a/p Muraly

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 ― Have you ever thought what would life be like without nurses?

No matter what kind of healthcare facility you step into, be it a public or private hospital, it is the nurse  who plays an integral role in patient care from the moment a sick individual walks through the door, during their hospitalisation until the discharge process.

There is no typical day for a nurse.

Every single shift at the hospital has the potential to be critical, exhilarating, exhausting and or life-changing.

Describing a day in the life of a nurse, Assunta Hospital intensive care unit junior nurse Dharsini a/p Muraly said their day at work is typically eventful, reenergising and tiring.

However, the fresh graduate from the Tun Tan Cheng Lock College of Nursing, Assunta Hospital, agreed that the hard work is a rewarding experience and it all pays off when they see a recovered patient return to their loved ones.

Dharsini, who joined the hospital five months ago, said working at the ICU is fast-paced and requires vigilant monitoring compared to other wards.

“At the ICU, we must always be alert and prepared to face emergency as all the patients who are admitted here are in critical condition.

“These patients are unpredictable and their conditions can change in a split second, hence if we are not paying full attention, the result can be catastrophic,” she added.

To cover 24-hour care for the patients, Dharsini said nurses typically work long hours and swing shifts.

She said there are times they stay longer hours due to the influx of patients and emergency cases.

“There were numerous times that my shift was from 2.30pm until 9pm but I only got to go home at 3am due to an emergency case.

“On average, we might end up working 10 to 12 hours a day.

“We hardly get to go for a proper lunch or dinner break, especially when there are many patients to look after,” she added.

Apart from fulfilling patients’ needs, Dharsini said nurses also bear the weight of simultaneously caring and providing emotional support for the families.

According to her, every patient is accompanied by family members who will anxiously wander the corridors.

“Some family members are aggressive and I understand that they want to find out about their patient’s condition.

“Hence, it’s our duty to calm them down and give them a peace of mind,” said Dharsini after her graduation ceremony at Hilton Petaling Jaya Hotel recently.

She was among the 191 graduates who successfully completed their studies and are now joining the workforce.

Tun Tan Cheng Lock College of Nursing students celebrate their graduation at the convocation ceremony

Aside from being named valedictorian of the year, Dharsini also took home the High Achievement Award, Academic Excellence Award and Franciscan Missionary of Mary Award.

Speaking at the convocation, Assunta Hospital board of directors alternate chairperson Susan Thomas lauded the students for embarking on a career path in a profession that is noble and meaningful.

Quoting American influential nurse Virginia Henderson, is also known as the mother of modern nursing, Susan reminded the graduates that the unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge.

“You are going to be the hands, the feet, the eyes and the strength of the patients.

“As a nurse it is important to be competent, knowledgeable, efficient, responsible and observant but more important, over and above these values, is having a caring heart,” she added.

The nursing graduates pledge to practice their profession faithfully

Tun Tan Cheng Lock College of Nursing principal Theresa Arul also advised the graduates to continue learning and acquiring more knowledge throughout their career.

“Education is more than just imparting knowledge; it plays an important role in moulding a person’s character,” she said.

Theresa also told the students to be prepared to face many challenges in their working life and take them positively to become a better person.

Established in 1961, the college offers various nursing programmes including, Diploma in Nursing, Post Basic in Intensive Care Nursing, short course in Clinical Teaching as well as basic life support classes.