Heroes Unmasked: ‘Tough Times Don't Last'

While many Singaporeans stay home, there are a group of workers who have been working tirelessly around the clock to keep the country going since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this series, we shine the spotlight on SIM’s alumni who are essential workers across different industries as they share their personal stories of challenges, triumphs and hopes for the future.

5 mins read

While many Singaporeans stay home, there are a group of workers who have been working tirelessly around the clock to keep the country going since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this series, we shine the spotlight on SIM's alumni who are essential workers across different industries as they share their personal stories of challenges, triumphs and hopes for the future.


By Joshua Joseph

Having quality care provided to him during his frequent visits to the hospital as a child with asthma, left an imprint on Kenneth Chia (pictured above) that it made him take a keen interest in the nursing profession. Today, the SIM-The University of Sydney (UOS) Bachelor of Nursing (Post-Registration) graduate offers that same standard of care to patients as a staff nurse at Changi General Hospital's Accident & Emergency Department. Kenneth says that the SIM-UOS programme has helped him get ahead in his field of work as it has deepened his knowledge, having interacted with esteemed educators and leaders within the healthcare field.

While the department that he works in handles mostly  emergency cases, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen it ramp up its efforts in providing care for patients coming in with acute respiratory infection symptoms by having designated new areas for them to be treated. Despite the surge in patient visits during this time, Kenneth remains unrelenting in his effort to provide quality care for his patients. “I'm able to provide the same level of care because my institution takes care of our other needs and provides us with effective measures in dealing with this pandemic by ensuring enough staff are deployed in high risk clinical areas and adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are provided. The management also takes care of our mental and physical well-being,” he says.

As operations continue to run effectively, Kenneth believes that a key change at work is the stronger emphasis on enhanced protective measures and hygiene practices that he has to observe. One of the toughest challenges that he faces though is to avoid falling ill. “It puts the pressure on other staff as they have to double up on duties and at the same time it can be personally traumatising when you fall ill, especially when you are coming into contact with COVID-19 patients,” he shares. In order to prevent this, he ensures that he observes the stringent precautionary measures that are in place at the hospital. He also tries to get enough sleep as much as he can.


Kenneth ensures that he is fully equipped with protective gear before treating patients.

While this may be a tough period, Kenneth keeps himself motivated by choosing to have a positive mindset and reminds himself that he can “make a difference in somebody's life amidst this pandemic.” He adds, “Tough times don't last but tough people do. I constantly remind myself that this pandemic will be over in time, and that it is important to have patience as some things in life take time. I am always thankful for the big and small things and the in-between time that I have during this period.”

For those who are keen on joining the nursing profession, Kenneth advises, ”Nursing is more than a job that pays your bills, so you have to be willing to devote yourself to the profession and give your patients the best care without having expectations. While it can be emotionally draining and physically demanding, it can also be very rewarding. So if you're up for it, a new beginning awaits!”

As Singapore continues to battle the virus, Kenneth is thankful for the support that he and his colleagues have received from the public. “This is a good step towards a more inclusive and appreciative society. Showing kindness to each other is essential because alone we can do little; together we can do so much.”

Keen to make a difference in someone's life like Kenneth? Enhance your knowledge and skills with SIM-The University of Sydney's Nursing programmes.