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Ganchalee Sae Gan

By the time you read this, Ganchalee Sae Gan, a Senior Staff Nurse in SNEC’s Day Ward, would have finished her deployment to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, and be back on duty at SNEC, which she joined two-and-a-half years ago. She was attached to the Fever Screening Area (FSA) and SGH’s Emergency department.

The scope of Ganchalee’s duties during her deployment was a far cry from her regular duties at SNEC, which includes preparing patients for operations, and giving pre- and post- operation advice to patients. “I had previous experience in the Department of Emergency Medicine, so I was prepared to be deployed to FSA,” she reveals. But she was thrown off by the workload during the early stages of the pandemic. “We sometimes had to work through lunch and tea break.”

FSA is the first touch point for suspected cases, where patients are screened for fever and other flu-like symptoms. “All of them are examined by doctors and will undergo a chest X-ray and throat swab,” Ganchalee explains. At the Emergency department, her duties included making calls to doctors to confirm patient outcomes. One of her toughest jobs was informing patients, especially the migrant workers, that they have tested positive. “We must be very calm in front of them; we can’t show our fear, if not they get more fearful!”

Ganchalee lives in a household of 10 people, including her parents and two daughters, aged six and nine. Living with people who are more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, she is keenly aware of the safety protocols she must adhere to. Before her deployment, she assured her family that she would shower at work after a shift, and again after reaching home. “We strictly followed guidelines and wore PPE, whether we were encountering confirmed cases or suspected cases,” she affirms. Ganchalee has a message for fellow Singaporeans: “Please stay at home and only go out for essential needs. It may seem difficult, but this is the best time to build bonds with family and loved ones, so treasure it!”