Angel Wings Spotlight Series Part 1

Interview with Pamela Koh, Nurse Manager at Dover Park Hospice


To start 2022 on a high note, we have created and launched a special collection, “Angel Wings” (you can read more about it here), in support of Dover Park Hospice. For the initiative, we have pledged to donate 20% of proceeds from the collection — which consists of a necklace, ring and earrings in an angel wing design — as well as $1,000 donation to the hospice.
In addition to donations, we also wish to put the spotlight on unsung heroes, who work tirelessly and selflessly to provide care and support to those in need. In Part 1 of our interview series, we spoke with Pamela Koh, Nurse Manager at Dover Park Hospice, where she has worked for 11 years.
After she graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Health Science Nursing in 2010, Pamela started volunteering at Dover Park Hospice as a nurse providing basic nursing care for three months. After that, she applied to be a full-time staff nurse. Two years with Dover Park Hospice later, she was offered the chance to pursue a degree course at Curtin University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Nursing in 2013. In 2015, Pamela completed the Specialist Diploma in Palliative Care Nursing course (SDPCN).


“I feel so privileged to be able to be there for the patients at the end of their journey, to see them still striving to live well and enjoy every moment.” Pamela Koh.
More about Pamela's career journey with Dover Park Hospice:
1. What inspired you to embark on a career to care for people who are terminally ill — and their families?
My passion for nursing came as a calling when my late grandfather was admitted to Dover Park Hospice in 2002. I was greatly inspired by the team of nurses who took pride in their work. Their endless devotion and heartfelt care for my grandfather touched my heart. I think it was at that time that I made up my mind to embark on a career in palliative care to do the same for terminally-ill patients and their loved ones.

2. What brings you joy in your work as a hospice nurse?
When patients’ wishes are fulfilled, I find it very rewarding. When my patients’ families show their appreciation, when they recognise my efforts — it makes me very happy. I feel so privileged to be able to be there for the patients at the end of their journey, to see them still striving to live well and enjoy every moment. And to know that most of them can go peacefully here at the hospice.

3. In what ways do you bring comfort to end-of-life patients? What are some of the day-to-day and emotional challenges you encounter — and how do you overcome them?

I feel that being by a patient’s side is most important. The mere presence of a nurse helps them to better handle their emotions, especially when they are sad and do not want to talk about it anymore. Just being there for them can be an assurance and the most comforting thing for the patients, aside from relieving their physical symptoms. With compassion, we alleviate suffering and maximise the quality of life for the terminally-ill and their loved ones through a holistic approach.

Many people think that I am used to seeing death and grieving family members by now, since I have worked here for many years. But every patient is different. After a patient passes away, everyone is sad, but I try to look at it from another perspective — they no longer suffer, and that they have passed away peacefully and comfortably is a blessing.

As a nurse in a hospice, my mindset is different. Instead of curative treatment, my role is to help patients leave peacefully by meeting their unique physical, emotional, psycho-social, and spiritual needs through holistic palliative care.

4. Can you share a memorable experience/story you've had with a patient at Dover Park Hospice?

In 2017, one female patient had a boyfriend for many years and wanted to get married and be addressed as “Mrs Tan”. With a prognosis of less than three months, the Dover Park Hospice team immediately came together and worked on her wish of having a wedding solemnisation at the hospice. Some of the staff decorated the room, other nurses did the patient’s make-up. Eventually, the patient managed to get married to her boyfriend here at the hospice. It was a very touching moment that brought me to tears. I felt honoured that I could be part of fulfilling her wish. We allowed them to spend the wedding night in the hospice, where the patient passed on peacefully one week later.





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