Frontliner Feature: Nur Syafiqah

1) I chose to volunteer/I volunteered because…

By the second lockdown, I was feeling pretty down, uninspired and uncertain. I was getting bored of staring at the screen all day long, every single day. Upon finding out that UBD is opening our very own vaccination centre, I remember asking one of my lecturers if they needed any sort of help. She quickly offered if I wanted to be a Vaccinator and I thought, why not. This, I believe, is my opportunity to give back to the community, particularly MOH and UBD. The pandemic has affected so many people, so I wanted to do my part to help out. I know that even helping out with the smallest tasks may make a big impact on the people in need. It will benefit not just the organisation, but it will also benefit me. This volunteering has rekindled my creativity, passion, and vision, which I can carry over to both my personal and professional life.

2) My duties/tasks at the UBD Vaccination Centre were...

Verifier - Verifying client’s details and asking a few questions on their health status to ensure they are eligible to receive the intended vaccine.

Logger - Data input on Bru-HIMS

Closing - Tallying statistics for the day

Schedule Manager - Managing scheduled appointments or appointments to be scheduled. Preparing statistics for the following days

3) Do you have any previous experience or skills that were utilised while you were stationed at the UBD Vaccination Centre?

I believe so, yes. I am currently doing a Midwifery course and to be able to put into practice the skills I have learned while also being able to help the community was definitely the perfect opportunity for me. Even though I have left the skills many years ago upon furthering my studies, MOH has set up areas for volunteers to practice and train before going to the vaccination centres. So I felt as prepared as I could be.

4) How did you find the experience?

I remember on my first shift, it felt like I was entering another world: talking and being around loads of people and seeing the vaccinations taking place seemed pretty surreal to me. But everyone made me feel very welcome and it’s always a really well-organised process and team. I had the opportunity to meet a broad spectrum of the community; colleagues coming from different course backgrounds, retired nurses/lecturers.

The overwhelming sense of being part of the massive effort to make things better can get exhausting at times, but then I find it very rewarding after all the long days and looking forward to the following day. I came away from it feeling more fulfilled than I have in a long time. There’s just something about being part of the COVID-19 effort that gives me an extra boost of motivation.

5) What did you learn from the experience?

Teamwork, good communication, empathy. The fact that you don’t know someone’s back story or how someone’s going to be when they walk through the door, it is very important to understand their perspective and try to meet their needs. This pandemic has been a very unsure and critically odd time for everyone and as a Health Science student and a member of our community, being given the opportunity to administer the vaccines to our citizens as well as helping to ease their mind at the same time has been so rewarding. I was able to strengthen the communication aspect which is a vital component of being a healthcare worker. I am amazed at everyone’s tableside manner including their injection skills. Everyone was so engaged with the clients; talking to them, reassuring them, calming them down. One person will talk to the client as the other administers the shot. By the end of the day, we found people sharing about how amazing their vaccination experiences were at our centre -- truly a rewarding experience!

Nur Syafiqah Hj Saime
MSc of Health Science in Midwifery by Research

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