Having a heart for the elderly
In her free time, Wang Bingfei, 30, likes hiking in the mountains. As a nurse and teaching assistant in geriatrics at Hebei Medical University’s Nursing College, China, she confronts a different uphill task: the number of elderly is climbing rapidly worldwide. Geriatrics specialists like Ms Wang will be at the heart of this challenge.
But if there is one thing that she has learnt from the Programme in Nursing, it is this: there ain’t no mountain too high – with teamwork.
“Nursing schools and hospitals in Singapore are well connected. The teachers and the practitioners work together to educate,” she says. “When the students are in the hospitals to learn from the practitioners, the teachers continue to observe them. The teachers and practitioners then provide feedback to one another. This sort of integrated training is the key for students to connect theory and practice – and it’s what I’m most interested in to carry out in China.”
Ms Wang can’t wait to energise her students and colleagues with the ideas she has gathered. She is also hoping that together, they can explore how hospice, home and elderly day care are vital in geriatrics, even though these aren’t medical treatments. “Geriatrics is multifaceted,” she says. “Apart from medication, providing companionship and understanding to the elderly is important too.” An integrated approach to health means the individual’s entire well-being is considered.
Ms Wang is already thinking ahead. Palliative care has been on her mind. “It’s common to talk about birth, ageing and sickness, but not death,” she says. As she discusses these health care issues with the network of friends gained from the Programme, she feels assured: the future of health care is not in one but many good hands.
Participant from Hebei Medical University’s Nursing College, China, in: Programme in Nursing by Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, and Temasek Foundation International
Text by Wong Shu Yun.
*More of such stories can be found in Temasek Foundation International's 10th anniversary commemorative book 'Leading Journeys: Inspirations for Asia and Beyond".