Ashirdahwani (second row, first from left) with her family and helper during an outing.
Thankfully, I survived the ordeal. While I initially feared that the disease would leave me barren, time has proven otherwise. I am a proud mother of six today!
After my brush with death, I stopped telling patients that I understood how they felt. Before, I would always tell my patients in the respiratory ward that I understood how they felt whenever they complained of breathlessness. It was only until I experienced it for myself that I realised I had never truly understood them.
This incident has taught me the importance of doing the best for all patients under my care. I nurse my patients like how I would want myself or my parents to be treated – by taking time to interact with them, know their concerns and meet their basic needs. As a clinical instructor, I also share my SARS experience with students to teach them to walk in the shoes of their patients.
Things have changed in the hospital since the nation’s encounter with SARS. Instead of working in silos, there is now more communication and teamwork among different healthcare professionals. Nurses are also accorded more recognition and respect.
I am Tan Tock Seng Hospital Clinical Instructor Ashirdahwani Asmawi, and I am heartened to see improved public perception of nurses after SARS. I hope that with this, more will join the lifesaving profession.