Published on 30 May 2023
Senior Nurse Clinician Tin Tin had a sudden appearance of ulcers, burning sensations in her legs and suffered pain in her knees so severe that she was not able to walk comfortably. This did not stop her from helping others at our Nursing Home (Pasir Ris). Ms Lim Tin Tin, 47, copes with Lupus, a long-term autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal healthy tissue.
Tin Tin has not always lived with this. It was during her pursuit of her Advanced Diploma in Nursing (Medical-Surgical) when she first noticed symptoms. While taking cold showers, her fingers would become stiff and the tips would turn blue. At first, she thought nothing of it, attributing these to Osteoarthritis or skin sensitivity because she was still able to function normally, despite some joint stiffness and pain.
Tin Tin sought professional help after an incident where she had to limp across the wards for her rounds one morning, as her legs would not bend at the knee and she was in great pain. When she was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, known simply as Lupus, she was a staff nurse with Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Being part of the acute care unit where work could get quite stressful, Tin Tin considered resigning, but was persuaded by her then director to explore less strenuous duties in other departments. However, she was unable to find a suitable role. It wasn’t until an opportunity with NTUC Health’s Nursing Home (Pasir Ris) came about, that Tin Tin was able to make the move. She has been in this role for more than 4 years now.
Community was a big part of Tin Tin’s working life. Beginning her career at a non-profit organisation as a field coordinator, she helped to mentor youths and organised overseas trips to help them develop leadership skills and connect with less fortunate communities. It was during one of these overseas trips where working with a group of nurses did her interest in nursing begin. When the non-profit organisation decided it would no longer be continuing overseas missions, she decided to make a career switch.
Tin Tin trained for two years at Nanyang Polytechnic to become a fully qualified nurse, as part of an accelerated programme. Within two years, Tin Tin completed the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) for Registered Nurse (Diploma). This was a stressful period for her as there were many modules to cover over a short period of time. To keep up, Tin Tin diligently stayed up at night to study and do her readings beforehand - a practice she continued as she further pursued a part-time Bachelor’s degree course, and an Advanced Diploma in Nursing.
Tin Tin’s resolve in making a career switch, her academic pursuits and coping with Lupus, spills over into the job she does today. Tin Tin, together with a team of staff nurses and two nurse managers, works with restructured hospitals to coordinate care for the nursing home residents. Tin Tin also contributed to the setting up of new NTUC Health nursing homes, such as Nursing Home (Pasir Ris) which was opened in April 2022. She helped to orientate and train new staff, making sure that they can cope well with their duties there.
Tin Tin shared that initially there was a lot of fear as she could not predict when her body would suddenly turn on her. She also worried about her career as Lupus meant that she occasionally would face brain fog which results in poor decisions which might be seen as poor performance. Work stress could also aggravate her condition, which would lead to symptoms recurring. Tin Tin was also anxious over whether she could still continue to do the things she enjoys, such as swimming and travelling. But as she gained knowledge and medical support for her condition, Tin Tin learned to better manage it.
When asked to share her thoughts with us, Tin Tin said, “We should enjoy our lives to the fullest while we can. Keep following your passions and don’t let any difficulty stop you!”
Interested to join us as a nurse? Find out more here!
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