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My St John Brigade’s teacher helped me find my passion

23 Aug 2021


Nurfaizah (centre) and her fellow St John Brigade (SJB) mates during their MOH Hospital Attachment Programme at Ng Teng Fong Hospital in 2017. She credits Mr Lui for encouraging her to pursue her passion for nursing.

Performing first aid and nursing come naturally with stressful situations and former St John Brigade’s cadet Nurfaizah Binte Hassan remembers the high-pressure training she went through to master the skills required in her CCA. What kept her going? The care and unwavering support from her teacher-officer Lui Meng Whye. 

In St John Brigade (SJB), we are taught first and foremost to care for others. Much of our training seeks to equip us with first aid and home nursing skills to serve the community, and there were many courses and competitions that honed our skills and expanded our knowledge. While I enjoyed them all, it was my teacher-officers in Chua Chu Kang Secondary School who showed me what it means to care.

I remember that March was one of the busiest periods  as all of us would be preparing for the Zonal First Aid and Home Nursing competition. Training was intense and often physically and emotionally draining. We had to perform first aid and demonstrate the nursing skills we learnt. There was also a foot drill component, and as a team leader, I had to give the commands loudly and confidently. It was a challenge for my introverted and soft-spoken self.

Despite their busy schedules, our Teacher-Officers never failed to stay with us and oversee our training. They provided valuable feedback and motivated us to do better.

Among all the teachers, I remember Mr Lui Meng Whye, for the times he would sit down and chat with us as a squad during CCA. He always made the effort to check in on us and cracked jokes to give us the serotonin boost we needed to push through the tough training sessions.

Although the competition took place on a weekend, he was there to accompany us to the venue and cheered us on throughout. He gave us the loudest applause when we came in first in the Nursing Adult category, and affirmed our hard work for the past months. I greatly appreciated these small gestures and sacrifices and it made me realise how selfless and committed our teachers were.

Mr Lui’s care for us also went beyond our CCA training. He truly cared about our personal growth. In Secondary 4, all of us were required to do reflections for our National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA). Some of us had trouble crafting our reflections and some were not motivated to do it well. I remember vividly how Mr Lui stayed back to help us improve on the quality of our reflections. These are individual awards, and had no bearing on the CCA at all, but he did not want us to short-change ourselves with a weak submission. This was a lesson that I appreciate, as I find it to be applicable in many areas in life.

It was also in SJB that I found my path in life. Over the course of the four years, I developed a keen interest in nursing and expressed my desire to go beyond what was offered in CCA. Rather than dismissing my interest, Mr Lui encouraged me to sign up for the Ministry of Health (MOH) Hospital Attachment Programme to find out more about the profession.

It was indeed an eye-opening experience, where I was able to apply the home nursing skills that I had acquired, and find out first-hand the many important roles nurses play. I came to realise that nursing requires a high level of ethics, competency and compassion. Although I was a bit daunted and apprehensive about whether I was up to the role, Mr Lui’s belief in me gave me the confidence I needed to follow my passion.

Today, I am pursuing Nursing in university. I applaud and thank Mr Lui for the dedication that he showed in caring for students like me. 

This article is part of our six-part series on Uniformed Group Teacher-officers who inspired us. Check out the other stories here: