Delivering hundreds of babies and counting - a nurse’s story
Published on 13 September 2023
Over the past three decades, Assistant Nurse Clinician Tan Ai Hua has helped deliver hundreds of babies at NUH. We find out what keeps her passion for midwifery going.
In the heart of the delivery suite at National University Hospital (NUH), Assistant Nurse Clinician (ANC) Tan Ai Hua cuts a calm and reassuring presence amid the heightened emotions and highly charged atmosphere of childbirth.
She carries out the doctor’s instructions in a steady, methodical manner befitting of a midwife who has helped deliver hundreds of babies. On occasion, she leans towards the mother-to-be to offer words of comfort and encouragement.
Helping with childbirth is intensive and strenuous work – both physically and, at times, emotionally. But all of Ms Tan’s exhaustion vanishes when she hears the first cry of a healthy baby and witnesses the joy and love on the faces of parents holding their newborns.
It is these precious moments that keeps Ms Tan’s passion for midwifery going, even after over three decades on the job.
“Working in the labour room can be challenging," Ms Tan remarked. "But it's meaningful work where I use my knowledge and skills to assist women during childbirth. There's nothing quite like the amazing feeling of helping bring new life into this world and witnessing the happiness of parents holding their newborns.”
As a midwife, Ms Tan is trained in all aspects of prenatal, during labour and postpartum nursing. She is also trained in emergency procedures.
Having been a part of NUH’s Obstetrics & Gynaecology (O&G) department since 1991, Ms Tan has earned the respect and trust of her peers, doctors, and junior colleagues alike for her dedication to the job.
She has also left a lasting impression on numerous patients, with a few specifically requesting for her care upon their return to the delivery suite.
“Every delivery is unique, and each patient is special to me. So, I ensure that I give my best to every one of them,” said Ms Tan. “Some of them, when they return for a second delivery, request for me to take care of them again.
“While I may not always be available due to other responsibilities, I’ll still try my best to be there for them during delivery. It feels nice to be recognised and appreciated by my patients.”
But patients are not the only ones who seek Ms Tan out at the delivery suite. As one of the most experienced midwives in the ward, her peers and junior colleagues often turn to her for guidance.
This role of a mentor is one that Ms Tan has embraced wholeheartedly, as she hopes to inspire and nurture the next generation of midwives.
“Ultimately, I hope to pass on my skills and knowledge to the younger nurses so they can take over in the future and continue the good work that we’ve done in the department,” Ms Tan mused.
“I always tell them that to be a good midwife, you have to be caring, kind and committed. You have to enjoy meeting people as well, but most importantly, you must be competent, knowledgeable and skilled at the job.”
Ms Tan also emphasised the importance of teamwork in the delivery suite. She elaborated, “There will be times when the delivery process encounters difficulties. During those times, we all chip in to lend a helping hand wherever needed. We firmly believe that teamwork not only makes us more efficient but also ensures the best outcomes for our patients.”
Ms Tan's enduring career stands as a testament to her ability to adapt to the changing demands of the job over the years. This adaptability includes embracing new technology and accommodating various patient requests.
“No matter how old you are, you must keep up with the times and upskill yourself, especially when it comes to technology,” Ms Tan advised. "You have to go for training and attend courses if you need to. Only then will you be able to consistently provide the best care for your patients.
“Nowadays, patients are more educated, and they might have different requests and requirements when it comes to their birth plan. We will listen to their needs, with safety of the mother and child as our top priority."
In consultation with Tan Ai Hua, Assistant Nurse Clinician, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, NUH.