Hailing from a family of nurses, with his mother and two brothers in the field – entering the world of nursing seemed like a natural choice for Jovin Cheang.
However, Jovin came to that decision on his own terms, when he worked as a part-time lifeguard at Woodlands Complex before his time at Nanyang Polytechnic studies.
“I was quite intrigued by the human anatomy, especially the heart. I thought to continue pursuing this interest, hence I went into nursing to see if I could help people along the way,” he recalled.
He went on to graduate with a Diploma in Nursing at Nanyang Polytechnic in 2010.
After he finished his National Service, Jovin specially requested to be posted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), despite not having much of a clinical background.
Naturally, it was demanding during the first six months of probation. Dealing with tough cases and learning how to handle family members of patients was part and parcel for a nurse, as Jovin immersed himself in this new profession.
Overtime, the rewarding aspects of his job began to shine through, as he viscerally saw firsthand, the impacts his work had on patients’ lives.
“As I work in the ICU, the cases I see are usually quite grim or quite critical. It gives me great pleasure when I see them get out of ICU, that means they are recovering or going to the high dependency units,” he said.
Typically, the public sees doctors as the figures representing the medical world, but not much is known about the nursing profession.
“The public might not see the nurses per se, they usually only thank the doctors. But they always realise, at the back of their minds, they can go home and rest peacefully knowing that someone is taking care for their loved ones,” he mused.
Jovin recalls a long-term patient in the SICU, whom some of the nurses had developed a brotherly bond with. “We would go and play games with him in his room. When he had to be discharged to other units, naturally we were sad. But we had a strong bond, that he came back to visit the nurses a couple of times!”
While he genuinely enjoys his job, understandably, there are highs and lows in every profession – something he still struggles with is the intensity of shift work. Nurses have to adjust their lifestyles to working around the clock, clocking in 7 hours for morning and afternoon shifts, and 12.5 hours for night shifts.
Also, Jovin has had to differentiate between his personal and professional lives, for the sake of his clients’ welfare.
“If you get too attached, you might have an urge to do everything you can [to help them], although it might not in their best interest,” said the 28-year-old.
Even though Jovin’s profession as a male nurse might seem uncommon to many, he is unafraid of taking the road less travelled. In his time as a nurse, he has seen a shift in mentality towards acceptance of male nurses, as more men started to join the profession.
This was also why he joined Young NTUC as a career guide, as he wanted to help individuals who were considering to join the nursing industry.
The types of questions he received ranged from nursing shift work, dealing with patients and their family members, and even how to handle burn outs, when working in this profession.
“Being a career guide actually helps others who have questions about this profession, to come forward and check with us. As career guides, we lay out the path for them to see, and then they can decide if it is a right fit for them,” he shared.
Additionally, having a balanced lifestyle is important for high-stress professions, he emphasized. In his free time, he enjoys watching anime and manga, and de-stresses by looking into the day’s trades in financial markets.
For those looking to be nurses, Jovin has a word of advice– “If you are passionate about wanting to help others, and don’t mind giving yourself to help others, that is where nursing is a very noble career that can help to affect a lot of change in others. Do what you need to do to get to what you want out of life.”
This article was done in collaboration with Young NTUC.
Special thanks to contributing writer Jessica Isabelle Tan.
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