Nurse Recalls His Experience at the Frontline as a Volunteer Medic

May 13, 2021

A nurse’s commitment is not just a 12-hour shift at the hospital but a lifestyle. Meet SGT1(V) Tham Juncheng, a professional nurse who took that lifestyle to another level of commitment.  SGT1(V) Tham is a staff nurse at the Yishun Community Hospital. In 2015, he joined the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU) as medic.

CDAU SGT1(V) Tham Juncheng


“Before graduating from my nursing studies, I have always envisioned myself saving lives at the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) during my nursing career. However, I did not end up working at the A&E department as I was assigned to other responsibilities at work. So, I went online and found that SCDF has a volunteer corp known as the CDAU,” said SGT1(V) Tham. “As I wanted to put my lifesaving skills to good use during my spare time and do something meaningful, I signed up with the CDAU and the rest is history.”


Before the COVID-19 pandemic, SGT(V) Tham committed twice a month as a volunteer medic at Yishun Fire Station. During his six-year stint as a CDAU medic, SGT(V) Tham responded to various incidents.


“I remember arriving at the scene of a cardiac arrest patient. After the paramedic’s assessment on the patient’s condition, I started the Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) as there was no breathing and pulse,” recalled SGT1(V) Tham. “Moments later, we had to set up a drip for the patient known as the Intravenous Cannula to help improve the patient’s blood pressure and to increase the patient’s chance of survivability.”


Besides attending to patients at the frontlines, SGT1(V) Tham also responded to several cases involving sudden deaths.


“There was this incident when some residents were complaining about a foul smell emitting from one of the HDB units. Hence, we were activated for this incident,” SGT1(V) Tham recalled. “When we arrived at the scene, we found a decomposed body in the unit. As I looked around, I noticed that the kitchen was flooded with water from the shower. There was also lunch left for a long time on the dining table. I felt sad for the deceased because, as I imagined, he probably had his day planned but his life was abruptly cut short.”


SGT1(V) Tham added that such encounter during his duties had significant impact on him.


“Such encounters reminded me of how fragile life can be and thus we have to cherish our loved ones,” said SGT1(V) Tham. “To me, being a volunteer with the CDAU is truly a 12-hour shift well spent. Had I not joined the CDAU, it would not have given me such a holistic view of how patient care is like in both hospital and pre-hospital settings.”


CDAU SGT1(V) Tham Juncheng