Nursing was the first and only choice for Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) Cynthia Lim when picking a polytechnic course to pursue after her GCE ‘O’ levels.
“I love that nursing is a job where I can meet and help different people every day,” said Ms Lim, who is also a Senior Nurse Clinician in the Children’s Emergency (CE) at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
She was successful in her application for a scholarship from KKH. Upon completion of her three-year diploma studies at Nanyang Polytechnic in 2005, she joined the hospital as a Registered Nurse (RN) in Paediatric Oncology before being transferred to the Paediatric medical wards.
The CE at KKH opened in 1997, and is Singapore’s first and largest emergency facility equipped to treat all conditions for children. About 100 nurses work alongside the doctors at KKH’s CE to manage 400 to 500 attendances per day, providing care to paediatric patients up to 18 years of age. Mostly RNs, the nurses undergo an emergency medicine nursing core training programme that equips them to perform a variety of tasks, such as triaging, resuscitation and physical assessment of a child who is sick or whose condition may be deteriorating.
“All hospitals have emergency departments and they are equipped to stabilise critically ill patients, including children. In the event that the child requires further treatment and hospitalisation, they would then transfer the patient to a hospital specialising in paediatrics for continuity of care.”
Although the CE handles many emergency cases, critical cases such as those involving traffic accidents, falls from heights and respiratory distress form the minority.
Ms Lim and her colleagues at the CE see their share of non-critical cases during regular days, but the numbers tend to spike during weekends and public holidays when general practitioner (GP) clinics are closed. “For instance, during the lunar new year holidays before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the CE attendance for a day doubled,” she shared.
For infants less than a year old, parents are strongly advised to take the child for prompt assessment by a medical professional such as a GP or at a hospital. In cases where they are unsure whether to take their sick child to a CE, Ms Lim recommends that they first use the KKH Urgent Paediatric Advice Line (U-PAL) at
www.kkh.com.sg/upal for advice. Ms Lim is part of the development team of U-PAL.
Throughout her career, Ms Lim has continually sought to upgrade her professional skills, obtaining a Diploma in Nursing in 2005, an Advanced Diploma in Nursing in 2009, a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) in 2012 and a Master of Nursing in 2014. She obtained her APN licence in 2015 after passing a oneyear internship.
Since becoming an APN, Ms Lim’s responsibilities have expanded beyond the bedside care and predominantly routine work of an RN. Nowadays, a typical day sees Ms Lim working in collaboration with the care team to handle resuscitation cases during an emergency.
Apart from that, she also performs follow-up video consultations for patients whose condition is stable and who have been discharged from the department, together with a consultant and another APN. The video consultation service, piloted in 2020, has since expanded to be offered four times a week, offering patients the convenience of a medical consultation without having to travel to the hospital.
On top of her clinical duties, she leads the APN internship programme, overseeing the progression and performance of APN interns. Upholding the nursing standards, she shares training responsibilities with the senior nursing team to facilitate simulation and code activations for nurses.
A running enthusiast, Ms Lim goes for a jog two to three times a week to keep fit and recharge. The mother of two girls, aged six and seven, often visits parks and playgrounds, where she spends quality time with her family while enjoying the outdoors.
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