27 Jul 2020

Lea Choy first met our Senior Manager of Player Welfare & Medical, Lucy Clarke, and the rest of the HKRU medical team almost ten years ago, as a student at Renaissance College. Since then Lea has developed her medical skills across a number of HKRU platforms and has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in General Healthcare with Honours from the Open University of Hong Kong.

We caught up with Lea to learn about her medical career thus far, and learnt a few lessons about perseverance along the way…

Lea knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in nursing; she spent her childhood taking care of her siblings, which sparked a passion for helping people, resulting in her dream of becoming a nurse.

Consequently, Lea got involved in her school first aid team, and on hearing about the HKRU Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training through friends of hers, jumped at the chance to gain some real-life experience. Reminiscing on her experience in HKRU EMS, Lea comments that it’s so much more than a traditional first aid course, due to the constant hands on experience gained every weekend at various games, festivals, and of course, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

Lea has thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the ‘World’s Greatest Rugby Party’, mainly due to the size of the team needed, creating an annual big climax to the rugby calendar. However, from a medical perspective, she says her highlights have actually been working at the weekend domestic league games, where due to the diverse nature of the league, covering both professional and amateur levels, she was involved in a number of different cases, gaining great experience.

Prior to meeting Lucy and the HKRU medical team, Lea confesses that she had little interest in rugby, having never played or watched before. Nevertheless, her experience here at the union has sparked the rugby fan inside, and she now gains great pleasure from watching the matches alongside her work role.

Aside from Lea’s role as a member of EMS, she has also been a valued trainer within the team, particularly aiding the ESF schools’ Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme. Lea has particularly enjoyed her role as an educator, able to share her knowledge and experience with others in a similar set up to her a few years ago. Although naturally quite a shy person, her CAS classes are formed of less than 20 students, which she finds comfortable to teach, and gains great enjoyment from sharing what she loves with others.

Back to Lea’s formal studies, after graduating from high school, Lea signed up for several University nursing programmes, and progressed to a number of interview stages, yet unfortunately received no offers. As a result, she then went on to apply to Hong Kong nursing schools and earned a place at HK Sanitorium. Lea completed the two-year programme but acknowledges it was a difficult time for her, struggling to study solely in Cantonese after a high school career taught in English. Unfortunately, her two years did not result in a diploma, but she looks back fondly on this time and the experience she gained, and it was a great stepping stone towards her ultimate goal.

Enter perseverance! Lea was down but not out, she then went on to gain more valuable experience at a specialist clinic in Hong Kong, before signing up to the Open University of Hong Kong. We’re super proud to announce that Lea has since recently graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in General Healthcare with Honours – Congratulations Lea!

Looking back on her journey, Lea appreciates that in the medical field, there are a number of different pathways to achieve your dreams, all of which provide valuable experience. Although it took her 8 years to get there, success tastes even sweeter!

Lea has been celebrating with some well-deserved time off, before she starts a full time role as a pre-registered nursing student on August 3rd. As excited as she is for her first ‘real job’, she admits the nerves are creeping in, especially on entering the medical system at such a time of upheaval in Hong Kong.

When asked of her advice to others wanting to get involved in this field, Lea suggests start young! For students with a passion for medicine or first aid, get involved with your school teams, and enquire into the various first aid courses available. Of course, the HKRU are always open to new recruits, and you can find out everything about what we have to offer here: https://www.hkrugby.com/pages/medical.

Lea finishes with a big thank you to Lucy Clarke. Describing her as a ‘second mother’, she remarks that Lucy never gave up on her, provided her with incredible support, and helped her grow to eventually achieve her dream.

The Hong Kong Rugby Union sends our wholehearted congratulations to Lea on her recent graduation, and the best of wishes for her future career in nursing.