Curtin awards honorary doctorate to Singapore nursing leader

A leading nursing expert will be the first nursing professional from Singapore to be conferred the award of Honorary Doctor of Science by Curtin University in recognition of her exceptional leadership and outstanding contribution to the profession.

Curtin Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Colin Stirling conferred the prestigious award upon Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia, Group Director of Nursing at SingHealth, Singapore’s largest public healthcare provider, at an official conferral ceremony held at Singapore General Hospital on Friday 10 February 2012.

Since beginning her career in nursing in 1971, Associate Professor Lim has become renowned within the nursing arena for her tireless work to improve patient safety, quality of care, and the on-going education of nurses in SingHealth.

In addition to serving as Group Director of Nursing for SingHealth’s eight institutions, Associate Professor Lim is also Director of Nursing at Singapore General Hospital and the National Heart Centre Singapore. In 2002, she accepted the President’s Award for Nurses, she was awarded the SARS Commendation Award in 2003, and in 2009 she was bestowed the International Nursing Leadership Award in recognition of her notable nursing leadership in Singapore and regional Southeast Asia.

Associate Professor Lim’s close partnership with Curtin University started when she embarked on a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Management in 1995, and subsequently, a Master of Nursing in 2008. In the same year, she was appointed as Curtin’s first Adjunct Associate Professor in Singapore.

Associate Professor Lim has played a key role in ensuring that nurses in Singapore are educated to the highest standard and are supported to engage in lifelong learning. She has been instrumental in encouraging Singapore General Hospital to sponsor nursing students to study a range of nursing degrees offered at Curtin Singapore and other universities.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Hacket said Associate Professor Lim’s exceptional achievements and contributions to nursing made her a worthy recipient of one of the University’s highest honours.

“Associate Professor Lim has worked continually to enhance education opportunities and career pathways for nurses, which has resulted in increased recruitment and retention of nurses at a national level in Singapore,” Professor Hacket said.

“It is wonderful to be able to recognise her contribution to nursing and education in this way.”

Associate Professor Lim said that it was an honour to accept the doctorate from Curtin.

“Nursing in Singapore has evolved over the years,” Associate Professor Lim said.

“Today, in addition to providing care, our nurses are groomed as clinicians, educators and researchers. I believe that education and lifelong learning are the drivers that prepare nurses for the challenges they face every day. My educational background has certainly helped me in this respect.

“Education can propel our nurses to even greater heights in their career development and enhance their skills and expertise to continuously deliver better patient care.”