All In A Day's Work: Serving in the front line

Deanna Lam Wai-yee, senior registered nurse at Baptist Hospital, is in charge of its outpatients department and gets great satisfaction from offering the best customer service

I am a senior registered nurse in the outpatients department of Baptist Hospital in Kowloon Tong. My duties involve managing the day-to-day running of the department as well as practical hands-on nursing. At the moment I supervise around 55 staff - 27 nurses, 20 health care assistants and eight health assistants, and try to create an atmosphere of good nursing care with attention to customer service. Nurses in the outpatients department perform all the usual duties: wound care, the administering of injections, and the application of dressings. We also have a consultation clinic, a small emergency room and a health screening programme for patients.

I really enjoy being a nurse. The salary is alright, but not that important to me. Instead I like providing a service to those that need it. If you asked me to become a sales person I just couldn't do it. You know, whenever I treat a patient, in my mind they are my relatives, they are my friends. The job satisfaction I get from nursing is really the best.

When I was at school, biochemistry was my favourite subject and, because some of my relatives were nurses, it seemed natural for me to become a nurse myself. I did my training in 1992 at the Princess Margaret Hospital, through the Hospital Authority programme. The training took three years and I qualified as a registered nurse. Later, in 1999, I did a part-time conversion course through an Australian university, and this gave me a degree in nursing.

After I first graduated in 1992, I worked in the neo-natal ward of the Princess Margaret Hospital, with all the new babies. I did this for two years, but the workload there was incredible and the pressure very intense. I then spent nine years working in a paediatric ward, taking care of young children and doing all the normal duties of a ward nurse.

As a senior registered nurse I work from 9am to 5pm and start my day by checking the internal e-mail in my office. Sometimes I have to complete the physical check-up reports for new staff or order medical supplies. I then go out to the reception counter to supervise the staff and talk to the patients to see if they have any complaints. Every day I work on the men's health screening programme - I do the screening myself, and then prepare a report for the doctor. I am also a specialist nurse in wound care. I did a part-time wound-care course through the Hospital Authority some years ago - so whenever a wound case comes in, I always get called to make the assessment and recommendations for care. I like wound care because it is critical and I get great satisfaction from seeing the patients get better. In emergency cases I have to co-operate with my staff in the process of resuscitation, and if the doctor then wants to admit the patient to a ward, I often have to take care of that process.

The next step up for me is to senior nursing office. I would like to get this promotion and also do a master's programme in management. The senior nursing office is a lot more paper work and very little practical nursing - but I am ready for that. I want to make the outpatients department better at customer service and more 'customer focused'. We need to think more like this and give our customers what they need.