When Ms Nurul Ashikin sat down for lunch at a food court recently, she was shunned.
The 25-year-old nurse, who was in uniform, told The New Paper: “I was on lunch break and the couple who sat at the next table talked loudly about how I wasn’t supposed to be sitting there.
“They said ‘Why is she sitting here?’ and I felt hurt because it was at a foodcourt in the hospital where I work.”
With the number of Covid-19 cases on the rise here, going home after work has also been a challenge for her.
Ms Nurul, who has been a nurse for four years, said that she has had to put up with people purposefully moving away from her on trains and giving her “dirty looks”.
She said: “In a time like this, you can’t blame people for being ‘kiasi’ (overly afraid).”
Now she changes out of her uniform before going home.
Despite such instances, she said she is touched by acts of kindness that she has been receiving from the community.
For instance, an initiative to give nurses priority queue at 33 participating stalls in Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, was announced on Friday.
The campaign will be extended to all nurses islandwide until March 31.
Ms Nurul said: “It’s very heartwarming to know our sacrifices are appreciated. Even a ‘thank you’ makes it all worthwhile.”
Work has been hectic since the first case was detected here.
She said: “I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs over the last few weeks, there are major changes to guidelines and protocols every day.
“It can be overwhelming.”
Ms Nurul comes from a nursing family.
Her father, Mr Abdul Wahab Hassan, 54, and mother, Madam Siti Zuraidah Khamis, 49, have been nurses for the last 33 and 27 years respectively.
“When she first told us she wanted to be a nurse, I objected to it,” said Madam Siti, a senior assistant nurse.
Mr Wahab, a nursing officer, added: “We know how stressful this job is.
“There are people out there who look down at us because we do the ‘dirty’ work.”
Mr Wahab said the nursing profession requires grit and determination.
He said: “What kept me going as a nurse over the last 30-plus years is faith.
“It is our responsibility to heal and cheer patients on. When you do your job well, they remember you.
“I have patients who visit me at my ward sometimes. The feeling is priceless.”
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.
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