Taking the opportunity offered by Nurses' Day yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat thanked nurses in Singapore for their service, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Heng took to his Facebook page to post a video message he recorded for the virtual Nurses' Day celebration at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
"This special day has taken on added significance this year, as our nurses are playing a critical role in our battle against the virus," he said.
"Since we had our first confirmed case six months ago, all of you have been working tirelessly on the front line in the fight against Covid-19."
He said they have had to make significant adjustments to their work processes and routines.
And when clusters emerged at migrant worker dormitories, a number of nurses also volunteered for swab operations and to take care of those who tested positive, he added.
"Together with others on the front line, you held your posts, and even going beyond the call of duty, to keep the community and your patients safe," said Mr Heng. "The situation in our dorms is under control, and we are on track to clear all the dorms by early August.
"Looking back, you have helped to make a seemingly impossible situation possible," he added.
In his video, Mr Heng said that many nurses made personal sacrifices and worked as a team to manage the high workload and adapt as the coronavirus situation evolved.
"As you stood in unity with one another, I am glad many Singaporeans also stood in solidarity with you, through the many expressions of support and acts of generosity. But these gestures cannot fully describe our gratitude and appreciation of your contributions," he said.
Looking ahead, he wished nurses well as Singapore continues to handle the uncertainty of the pandemic. "As you face the challenges ahead, I hope that you will continue to hold on to that sense of purpose that first drew you to nursing. I am confident that with your full commitment, we can make anything possible," he said.
As you stood in unity with one another, I am glad many Singaporeans also stood in solidarity with you, through the many expressions of support and acts of generosity. But these gestures cannot fully describe our gratitude and appreciation of your contributions.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER HENG SWEE KEAT
Mr Heng, 59, also shared how he and his family experienced first-hand the warmth and care of nurses when he was hospitalised at TTSH for six weeks in 2016. "Your encouragement and support was a big factor in my recovery," he said.
On May 12, 2016, Mr Heng collapsed at a weekly Cabinet meeting after suffering a stroke. Three doctors in Cabinet attended to him before he was taken to TTSH.
The stroke was caused by an aneurysm, which is a localised weakening of a blood vessel. He underwent initial neurosurgery to relieve pressure in his brain due to the bleeding. The aneurysm was successfully closed.
"Nursing is more than a job. It is a calling with a deep purpose. I'm glad that you have answered the call of duty," said Mr Heng.