Speech at the 18th Annual General Meeting of the Hong Kong Society for Nursing Education (2004)

The Hon. Mr. Michael MAK
Legislative Councilor

Dear Professor Sally CHAN, Dr. Susie LUM, Dr. CH Leong, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my greatest honour to talk at the Annual General Meeting of the Hong Kong Society for Nursing Education.

The year of 2003 was a difficult year for Hong Kong as a whole. SARS infected 1,755 people and brutally claimed 299 lives. Health care workers worked in an environment with high-risk and uncertainties. Their selfless dedication, professionalism and sacrifice have gained the whole-hearted respect from the world. Can we manage to forget the admonition? However, more importantly, how can we learn from the bitter and painful experience? May I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to all our health care workers for what they have done for our community!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Chairlady asks me to share with you my expectation of the Society. I would like to share with you my wishes and blessings. Indeed, most of you are highly qualified educators. Needless to say, education is extremely important to a profession. It is simple to say that all of you play an important role in our profession and owe a noble and obliged duty of educating our successors. I also do believe that the basic qualities of our students are excellent and they have the aptitudes and talents to becoming brilliant nurses by your quality education.

The impact of globalization and knowledge-based world has led nursing to an era of specialization, not merely professionalisation in its general sense. We must prepare ourselves in various ways in response to the changing needs and contemporary expectations of the community. We have to nurture a new generation of health care workers who have vision, the passion for lifelong learning and dedication to serve.

I think we have to admit that the old apprenticeship training model made nurses obedient and sometimes servile, not to mention being too passive. This learning model is definitely out of date and cannot meet the needs of our modern society. What we need to do is to foster opportunities for our students to develop independent thinking and judgement. The students should take the initiatives of exploring new knowledge by sharing, participating, writing and researching. Please give them the autonomy in making professional judgement, assessment, knowledge and evidence-based decision.

In the modern health care system, the paradigm shift to holistic care has begun to induce a revolution in the health care system. With advance in technology our customers' perception of tender, loving care has become the subtle but important element of our profession. I don't think I need to put more emphasis on bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of our care for our customers.

Traditionally, disease model was our approach of care. The inadequacy of attention to disease prevention and health promotion has shortened the life expectancy of many. No one can challenge me that primary health care is the vehicle to take us to our utopia. Helping nurses to find their roles in health promotion and illness prevention is our obligation. Please help develop service areas of primary health care.

Nursing is a profession dealing with people. Along that sense, we are obliged to raise our professional image! I always try to share with people the immense satisfaction in participating in voluntary work. It is not just for promoting image but helping oneself to grow positively. Having the privilege of working in the field of AIDS, I earn a lot of experience valuable for me to be your humble representative in the Legislative Council. I think most of you know that our First Lady, Mrs Betty Tung was a nurse. She sets a good example of working voluntarily for the community well before her becoming the First Lady. I tend to say that there is always a joyful life in the community out of the basic foundation of our profession. Please encourage your students to enjoy themselves more by being volunteers.

A Chinese idiom of dJۧB. I cannot find the exact English translation, but I try to give it the meaning that "Talents are abundant, but we need an elite master (sage) to identify those with talents". Please accept my congratulations that you are all elite masters. Thank you and have a wonderful evening!