Career advancement was far from the mind of Madam Lee Sock Hwa, a senior patient care associate at the National University Hospital (NUH), when she turned 70 this year.
But her employer thought differently. She received a promotion around her birthday in July.
She recounted her surprise to reporters yesterday: "I said, huh, at my age, you still promote me? I was so happy."
Madam Lee, who directs patients and visitors at NUH's reception counters, was one of dozens of healthcare workers whom President Halimah Yacob met yesterday.
The President was visiting NUH to see how hospitals in Singapore are coping with the demands of an ageing population on the healthcare sector.
Citing Madam Lee, she told reporters: "I must really say, kudos to NUH for allowing people to work without looking at their age, so long as they contribute."
Madam Halimah was active in combating discrimination when she was in the labour movement, where she spent 33 years before leaving in 2011 to be a political office-holder.
PRAISE FOR HOSPITAL
I must really say, kudos to NUH for allowing people to work without looking at their age, so long as they contribute.
PRESIDENT HALIMAH YACOB, citing the example of Madam Lee Sock Hwa, a 70-year-old senior patient care associate at NUH who was promoted this year.
GRATEFUL FOR RECOGNITION
Not many people know what exactly we do. It is not easy being a nurse and, most of the time, we are on our feet... We feel so happy when people appreciate us.
NURSE MANAGER SANIA MOHD JONID
The President also visited a geriatric and a paediatric ward in the hospital.
She praised the geriatric ward for its holistic approach, noting how it takes care of patients' social as well as physical needs. For example, it encourages patients' families to be involved in their healthcare, and conducts activities for patients to keep their minds sharp.
At a dialogue with 26 staff, the President discussed such issues as a mid-career switch, the re-employment of older workers and Singapore's need for more nurses.
The group came from the nursing, allied health, administration and support services departments.
She told them: "Thank you for all the hard work."
She later told reporters she hoped her visit would demonstrate her support for healthcare workers.
"It is not an easy field because when people are ill, people tend to make a lot more demands, and healthcare workers are not just taking care of patients, but (answering questions from) the patients' families as well," said Madam Halimah, adding that they have "done very, very well".
Nurse manager Sania Mohd Jonid, 48, said she felt honoured that the President visited the hospital to thank them for their contributions.
"Not many people know what exactly we do. It is not easy being a nurse and, most of the time, we are on our feet," said Ms Sania, who entered nursing 12 years ago after working in customer service at a bank.
"We feel so happy when people appreciate us."