A Nurse’s Tales from the Frontline as a Volunteer Medic

October 15, 2019

06 A Nurse's Tales from the Frontline as a Volunteer Medic

A nurse’s mission is not just to save lives but to preserve the quality of life. Volunteer medic SGT1 (V) Guo Bing is a professional nurse who holds this mission close to her heart. After graduating with a Nursing Diploma in 2002, Guo Bing started her career as a nurse and later, joined the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU) in 2017. She commits twice a month as a volunteer medic at Sengkang Fire Station.

“When I started my career as a nurse, I was trying to balance my time between my work and my family. Since both my sons are now older and more matured, I decided to join the CDAU as a medic for more exposure to better understand the patients’ struggles and how they ended up hospitalized,” said Guo Bing when asked about her decision to join CDAU.

As a volunteer medic, Guo Bing receives more than five activations a day on average. There would also be times when she responds to false alarms.

“There was an incident whereby a son had a fight with his father at a coffeeshop, and the father asked the bystanders to call the police and the ambulance,” Guo Bing recalled. “We arrived at the scene only to find that it was a quarrel and not a life threatening medical emergency.”

Notwithstanding the possibility of responding to false alarms and non-emergency cases, there were also a few stirring incidents for a volunteer medic like Guo Bing. Such experiences gave her a new perspective about being a healthcare professional.

“There was a man who had just returned from his business trip. He woke up very early in the morning and decided to buy breakfast for his two daughters,” Guo Bing recalled. “But while he was making a turn at a traffic junction near his condominium, his car suddenly crashed into a lamp pole. When we arrived at the scene, his daughters were standing helplessly by the side of the road. Fortunately, he did not sustain any major injury and was taken to the hospital.”

“There was another incident which I responded to when an elderly woman had a fall at home,” said Guo Bing as she recollected another incident. “When we arrived at her house, the woman was on the floor of her room gasping for air. Due to her large physique, her son had a hard time moving her out of her room as the passageway was narrow and cluttered. Despite the challenges, my fire station crew and I managed to safely bring her out of the room, transferred her to the ambulance and proceeded with the rest of the monitoring.”

It turned out that the elderly woman was suffering from ascites[1] for a period of time and her son was unaware of it. While accompanying the elderly woman on her way to the hospital, Guo Bing realized that the woman had kept her medical condition to herself as she did not want her son be overwhelmed with burdens because of her. Unfortunately, her medical condition worsened that day as she experienced shortness of breath that led to her fall.

“When a patient gets discharged from the hospital, we may assume that caregivers will look after the patient. But in reality, they may face a lot of difficulties looking after the patient,” Guo Bing commented when asked about how her experience working with the CDAU gave her a new perspective about the nursing profession.

She added, “Sometimes, we need to look beyond the patient’s injuries and illnesses. From there, we can begin to uncover many more underlying issues that led to their current physical condition. These eye-opening incidents were something that I would never get to experience had I not volunteered to be a medic with the CDAU.”