Interview with Volunteer: Joyce

Toils and moils even before graduation

Joyce Lai, a nurse “produced” by Prince of Wales Hospital, has worked with first class professionals such as Dr. Ping Chung Leung, Dr. Tak Lun Poon and Dr. Y. Y. Chow. Their collaborations were/are not limited to the healthcare works in Hong Kong, but also overseas activities like the “Operation Concern” organized by Dr. Leung in Sichuan, Guizhou, Xinjiang and other remote mountain areas in the Mainland.

“When I was still a student nurse in 1985, I was invited to help package and prepare the materials needed for a trip even though the term “Operation Concern” had not yet appeared. Since then, I left my footprints on the lands I had never imagined before. When I recollect my memory of those times, that we had to work under time pressure, and my feet were extremely tired as we had to handle more than two hundred surgeries in about seven to ten days!” Joyce recalled, “I removed stitches from wounds for a whole day like a factory worker, while the used plasters were stacked like a hill.” Other than surgeries, all postoperative care and rehabilitation were perfectly arranged as well. Therefore, in additional to the works in Prince of Wales Hospital, Joyce also acted as a “delivery worker” to carry the materials from Hong Kong to the Mainland.

‘Yingxiu’─ the haunting feeling

Joyce is involved in the establishment of “Operation Concern” in Yingxiu Chuan, and therefore she is familiar with this place and with strong emotional attachment. When seeing the earthquake scene in Wenchuan Yingxiu Chuan in 2008, Joyce was extremely worried. That was why she joined the medical team to Sichuan without consulting her family or obtaining permission from her supervisors, “Can you join the Hospital Authority’s medical team to Sichuan?” Joyce recalled the simple phone request that she responded without second thought. Later, Joyce joined the Hong Kong Red Cross as a volunteer and helped in a trauma center in Sichuan Shenyang. “I am still working in Prince of Wales Hospital, however, at the same time Dr. Poon and I will provide bi-weekly service in Sichuan.” said Joyce. Joyce works mainly in operation theatres, however, she always desires to visit her patients and understand their rehabilitative progress. She is joyful when she is able to visit the patients living in mountain areas with the working team. Once, a patient came to her and said “You are nurse Joyce!” As a healthcare professional, who spends most of her working hours in operation theatres, the only moment she feels content is the moment when she reunites with her patients and knows they have had good recovery.

‘Health in Action is close to me.’

In response to the reason why she became a volunteer of Health in Action, “I want to engage more in direct community service, especially in basic health care and preventive measures,” she answered spontaneously.

Having worked in public health system for years, Joyce had never thought that there was a lack of healthcare service in the community. After working for organisations such as Asian Association for Dynamic Osteosynthesis and becoming the chairperson of its nurse subcommittee, Joyce realised that there was still a high demand of access to medical care in this prosperous city, especially the medical needs of local working poor. “Everyone should have equal rights to access to essential services, especially the medical services”, said Joyce.

“I could contribute my medical and healthcare knowledge to help those people in need,” Joyce said. Joyce has volunteered her professional services in the Healthy Living Project for the working poor, and she shared, “I enjoy it so much: for instance, after I had successfully helped a lady to persuade her beloved husband to adopt healthy eating habits, stay away from high-cholesterol foods and take health screening, the wife and I smiled at each other. It was just like I brought a victory to a family.”


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