2 May 2018 Volunteering in the Chi Hui Tang Community Service
Sunday mornings are the times where some people go to church for Sunday prayers while others would choose to sleep longer than usual since it is their off day, but my friends and I chose to help others with the knowledge learnt throughout our university days.
My classmates and I are IMU Semester 8 Chinese Medicine students, who are currently doing the clinical practice module, which requires us to consult and provide management to our patients. This is the time that requires us to make use of the knowledge that we have learnt in the University and turn it into practice.
Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice, and with this in mind, we were hoping to obtain as much practical opportunities throughout our eight months of clinical practice module. We were grateful that the IMU Chinese Medicine Division initiated a community service project with Chi Hui Tang Traditional Chinese Herbal Centre (known as Chi Hui Tang in short), by sending us as the pioneer batch of IMU Chinese Medicine students to volunteer with the Seri Kembangan team at the Seri Kembangan Community Centre.
The Chi Hui Tang community service project provides opportunities for communities around the new Serdang Village to seek for free Chinese Medicine consultation and treatment which includes Chinese herbal medication, acupuncture and moxibustion. We started to volunteer in the centre since November 2017. We first started by observing and assisting the physicians in providing treatment for patients, on top of familiarising ourselves to the operation works of the centre. Now, we are given the opportunity to consult patients on our own and provide management for patients.
As a final year Chinese Medicine student, I realised that determination and constant practices are crucial to groom us in providing excellent and professional services for our patients. This project has given us the opportunity to practice obtaining history and provide acupuncture treatment to patients with the supervision of the physicians on duty.
As the saying goes practice makes perfect, with the training we had over a couple of months, my classmates and I became more confident especially in inserting acupuncture needles into patients swiftly without hesitation and without much pain. We do realise that patients do feel more confident with us if we presented ourselves with confidence and inserting the needles without causing much pain, and this project has definitely groom us to be as such.
As what Mahatma Gandhi says, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Besides realising what I can do with what I have learnt in my four years of university education, my classmates and I have discovered the joy of willing to sacrifice for others within our capabilities and capacity, without asking for any return.
Although the community service is held every Sunday, we are willing to attend it every week, because we feel that the team is like second family to us. This project does not only provide us a training ground, but also enable us to interact with the helpers who come to help prepare the medicine for patients based on our prescription, and also provide delicious free lunch for all the volunteers.
Although we have to agree that human makes mistakes, but for every healthcare professional, we are dealing with the patient’s life and safety, hence, it is our utmost priority to reduce any possible risks that could harm the patient in any possible ways. Throughout the project, there are times that I have made mistakes but was corrected by the physician in-charge immediately. I am grateful that the physician in-charge are always willing to provide guidance and prompt us with questions to stimulate our thoughts.
|There was a time when a patient who was having acupuncture treatment for the first time, suddenly started to feel giddy and was sweating profusely, and one of the physician in-charge realised it. The physician in-charge immediately removed all the needles from the patient’s body and instructed a few of us to move the patient to the bed and place the patient in supine position. Even though we have learnt about the management of acupuncture syncope in our lectures, it still requires experience to identify it quickly and manage a patient suffering from the condition. I have truly learnt and experience it from this incident.|
Like the saying goes, experience is making mistakes and learning from them. By being in this project, I managed to expose myself to various cases and slowly compound my experience, which I am sure it will help me to be a better Chinese medicine physician to my patients in the future.
All in all, I am grateful and blessed to be given the opportunity to be the pioneer batch of students to volunteer in such a community service project which allows us to give back to the community with our existing knowledge. With constant practice, we managed to learn patient communication skills and become more confident in providing management to our patients.
Throughout this project, we realised that when we are doing community services, it is not about how much we give, but how much love we put into giving. By having confidence, a caring personality and a passionate heart, I am sure we will be good Chinese medicine practitioners providing excellent care to our patients and subsequently bring good name to IMU Chinese Medicine programme in the future.
Written by IMU Chinese Medicine student, Sng Kim Sia