#HerWorldHerStory: This air stewardess went back to nursing during the Covid-19 pandemic

by Hayley Tai & Cheong Wen Xuan  /   September 3, 2020

When flights were grounded, the stewardess took time off to return
to nursing.


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I’ve always enjoyed working in the frontline because I feel useful when I’m able to help people. During the pandemic, I was worried about the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, and my livelihood. I thought, what could I do to “fix” both problems. So when flights were grounded in March, I took a waiver of service from my cabin crew duties, and applied for a part-time staff nurse position at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).

I hold a valid nursing certificate from Nanyang Polytechnic. Before I became a flight crew eight years ago, I worked as a nurse at Changi General Hospital and KTPH, for several years.

My folks were happy when I told them that I was going back to nursing. Though they knew the risks that healthcare frontliners faced, they were proud of me that I wanted to do my part in a critical time.
In late March, I was deployed to KTPH’s Class C Renal Unit. But in May, I left to join Speedoc, an online house-call medical service, as it provided flexible working hours, in case flights resumed.

I work between nine and 10 hours a day as a house-call nurse. My day is planned ahead, according to patients’ pre-booked appointments and ad-hoc nursing services.

I visit up to five patients at their homes on a busy day for services they require like wound dressing, nasogastric tube insertion or urine catheterisation. I also help doctors with IV drips and injections on their house-call visits.

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It’s a new experience for me. The job is exciting and I’m always on the move. Before entering the patients’ homes, I have to wear full protective gear (hospital gown, N95 mask, face shield and gloves) if I know that they have a fever or display upper respiratory tract symptoms, after going through the patient report through the Speedoc app.

I noticed that patients are a lot calmer when they’re being treated at home. And we’re able to detect the problem earlier and see if they need to be sent to the hospital for a more comprehensive care. Time is, in fact, a big factor when it comes to preventing strokes, heart attacks and of course, Covid-19.

If you ask me, the job of a cabin crew and nurse has similarities. Both focus on keeping people comfortable and attending to their needs. I feel very empowered to be able to help others in a time like this. Although it can be stressful, I remind myself that I’m here to help people. And I want to continue doing so during the pandemic.

This article was first published in Her World’s August issue. Grab a copy today!