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Changing for a good cause

Jesline with (from left), Yumi Watanabe, Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) Occupational TherapIst, Prof Lee Kheng Hock, BVH Medical Director, Ms Margaret Lee, SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Ms Tan Bee Yee, SCH Head of Allied Health

Winning the Healthcare Humanity Awards 2019 could be one of the highlights of Jesline Leong Yoke Sim's career as a Senior Occupational Therapy Assistant at Bright Vision Hospital (BVH), but that wasn't the reason she switched to a career in healthcare.  

Six years is a long time. But when Jesline saw the opportunity to become a stay-home mum and be a part of her children’s growth, she chose to put a halt to her promising 11-year career in accountancy.

So when the time came for her to return to the workforce, Jesline made another important decision – she chose to switch to become a therapy assistant. There was a demand for healthcare professionals at that time, and she was inspired by the chance to communicate meaningfully with the elderly.

Her new journey excited her, but at the same time she was worried about the challenges that she will face.

“It was a huge change with lots of uncertainties in the new horizon for me.”

Jesline on stage receiving the Healthcare Humanity Awards 2019

Determined to Build a Rapport

Being a therapy assistant for palliative patients would not be an easy feat. Jesline owes her success to the positive rapport that she has built with BVH staff and patients. Having since been in healthcare for five years, she has learnt a lot by interacting with and understanding her colleagues and patients. Some lessons are harder than others.

“I once encountered a patient who had a large sacral wound that was not healing well and started to emit a foul smell.   

He had to be placed in an isolation room, which caused him to quickly became angry and depressed,” she shared.

To vent, the patient would frequently let out his frustration on her team – shouting or swearing at them.

But Jesline did not give up. She knew that the smell was bothering the patient and was the source of his distress.   

Things started to change when she brought an aromatherapy diffuser in the patient’s room. It eventually helped the patient to calm down. Over time, he started to take part in various activities and even enjoyed his stay at BVH.

Jesline’s encounter with this patient made her reflect on her actions. She learnt that it is important to build a good rapport with patients. Having a good relationship with them allows her to understand their feelings and improve the care she can give.

Winning the Award
Her passion and positive attitude towards patient care set Jesline aside from her peers and got her the Healthcare Humanitarian Award 2019.

“I am honoured to receive the award. It is also a good chance for the public to recognise our efforts in palliative care,” she shared.

She encourages others to go beyond their call of duty in order to engage their patients. Every patient needs a little assurance and comfort, especially in a palliative setting. Even the littlest things we do can make a difference.

“No matter what we do, do it to the very best and sincerely,” she advised.

*The Healthcare Humanity Award is given to outstanding healthcare workers who are inspirational role models for going the extra miles. It also
serves to underscore that healthcare is a noble profession and not merely a job.