The number of diagnosed cases has exploded under the fifth wave of the pandemic, posing a severe burden to Hong Kong’s public healthcare system. Against this background, and with the mission of the Tung Wah College (TWC) School of Nursing (NUR) being to nurture talent across the medical and healthcare spectrum, and to serve and participate in the development and well-being of society, TWC teachers and students have enthusiastically partaken in community work leveraging their expertise and professional training at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. Joining the tireless healthcare professionals in this important and strenuous war, TWC teachers and students are doing their best to help Hong Kong prevail in the long drawn-out war against the pandemic.
Professor Sally Chan, President of TWC said “NUR is committed to nurturing outstanding medical and healthcare professionals for Hong Kong. Over the past 10 years, we have helped train more than 2,000 professionals who subsequently joined the nursing profession. Hong Kong’s shortage of healthcare professionals has been exacerbated by the pandemic. TWC will continue to play an active role contributing to talent nurturing for the industry and helping enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness. Our teachers and students have been proactively reaching out deep into local communities in various service projects to help combat COVID-19, underlining our care and love for society and desire to help our community get back on track.”
The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and TWC are jointly managing 400 out of the 1,200 beds at the Kai Tak Holding Centre in the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Over 200 TWC teachers and students are deployed in shift duties to take care of the elderly patients exhibiting mild symptoms and in stable conditions at the Kai Tak Holding Centre.
Professor Simon Lam Ching, Associate Dean (Research) and Professor of TWC NUR, who is responsible for recruitment of teachers and students to serve at the Kai Tak Holding Centre and relevant preparatory work, said, “Despite the high risks associated with the job, many teachers and students are still eager to join the team to go to the frontline and care for patients confirmed with COVID-19. To ensure the best level of care and treatment for the elderly patients, our team also provides tailored training to caregivers coming to help all the way from Mainland China.”
Yip Pik Wai, a Year-5 student of the Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) in Nursing programme, said, “Working at the Kai Tak Holding Centre allows me to apply the professional knowledge learned in school over the past five years. Many elderly patients at the Kai Tak Holding Centre were anxious and reluctant in the unfamiliar environment when they were first admitted. It was part of our job to calm their emotions, reminding me of the important value of a medical and healthcare practitioner – we must be kind and benevolent, always.”
Francis Cheung Fuk Ho, a Year-2 student of Higher Diploma in Nursing programme, shared, “The equipment and facilities at Kai Tak Holding Centre are not as comprehensive as those in hospitals. In order to ensure patients are well taken care of regardless, we have to learn to be flexible and utilise medical skills other than that reliant on professional equipment. At the same time, I have to protect myself from infection as I cannot afford to infect my family members. I have to take this opportunity to convince my family that I have made the right choice in pursuing a nursing and healthcare career.”
In addition to helping at the Kai Tak Holding Centre, TWC also sent approximately 50 teachers and students to assist in the Door-to-Door Vaccination Service organised by The Hong Kong Council of Social Service to provide COVID-19 vaccination service to those with special needs at home, including the elderly and disabled. This way, we help to push the COVID-19 vaccination rate as fast and as far as possible to prevent severe cases and deaths and reinforce the safety net for our healthcare system.
Professor Lorna Suen Kwai-ping, Dean and Professor of TWC NUR, said, “Both the teachers and students of the TWC School of Nursing have been relentlessly filling gaps and providing various support in the evolving fight against COVID-19. In leveraging our different knowledge and expertise to serve the community, we demonstrate our love for Hong Kong and the preparedness to contribute."
Over 300 staff and students of the TWC NUR have been undertaking various community service projects in combating the pandemic, including:
- Assisting in Community Vaccination Centres and Testing Centres as inoculators and specimen collectors;
- Forming a voluntary outreach team of 21 academics to provide, in phases, vaccination service for elderly people at residential care homes under social welfare organisations;
- Training and fit testing on N95 respirator to enhance protection for healthcare workers;
- Free online traditional Chinese medicine consultation service in collaboration with non-profit organisations for eligible elderlies.
Although the pandemic is showing signs of easing, TWC will continue to contribute to the community from different positions in line with our mission.