Darlene’s Good Advice

Meet Darlene Hong, whom just begun her first job after graduation as an Advance Care Planning practitioner in Singapore General Hospital.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF IN 1 LINE.

I’m interested in conversations and enjoy observing and curious in listening to stories of people from all walks of life.

TELL US SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU.

I like to travel and it’s a way to help me unwind at work.  I realised I cannot solve everyones problem at work and travelling allows me to clear my mind. I enjoy the idea of venturing to new places and experiencing different cultures. We’re all on the same planet and it’s amazing how we all belong in a different timezone. It intrigues me how people from different cultures eat different food. I like to observe people from afar as there are people that may find it comfortable to approaching strangers, but it’s difficult for me. I like to look at people and visit museums, as it tells us a lot from the architectures, cultures to history of a place.

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

Don’t see yourself as a problem solver, but someone who can guide people and being there for them to your best abilities. Especially when not all problems have solutions.

TELL US ABOUT A TIME WHEN THIS PIECE OF ADVICE CAME IN USEFUL.                      

When a patient suddenly have stage 4 cancer at his early fifties with young children. He wanted active treatment to prolong his lifespan, but it didn’t match with the medical team’s goal of care. Treatments are limited at Stage 4 cancer thus it wasn’t in his best interest to continue treatment, as it would do more harm than good. I was stuck in the situation against the Doctor’s best advice and the patient’s wish. I felt obliged to give in to the patient’s wants, but I realised to the best extent, the only thing I can do is helping him understand the implications and concerns of the medical team. In life you don’t really get what you want all the time.

So it was tough for me to break the news to the patient and aligning his expectations of what he will get in the future. My mentor told me not to see myself as a problem, I cant solve his discomfort of getting what he wants, but journey along with him. By giving him emotional comfort and he slowly got in terms with it over time. If we’re insistent to solving problems we may neglect the little things that happen in the process.

Want to find out more about her story? Stay tuned to her full interview and follow the Facebook page here to find out more about what The Good Death is all about!

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