Oreos helped him win patient's trust

The four who won the highest accolade in the nursing profession are (from left) Mr Raveen Dev Ram Dev, Ms Hanijah Abdul Hamid, Ms Chen Yee Chui and Ms Lathy Prabhakaran, who received their award from President Tony Tan at the Istana yesterday.
The four who won the highest accolade in the nursing profession are (from left) Mr Raveen Dev Ram Dev, Ms Hanijah Abdul Hamid, Ms Chen Yee Chui and Ms Lathy Prabhakaran, who received their award from President Tony Tan at the Istana yesterday.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

IMH nurse who went out of his way one of four to win prestigious President's award

When he encountered a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) who refused treatment, Mr Raveen Dev Ram Dev slowly built rapport with the patient with the help of Milo and Oreos.

The patient was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia but did not believe he was mentally ill and would often attempt to avoid injections that doctors prescribed.

Mr Raveen, 37, an advanced practice nurse at IMH, noticed that the patient's favourite teatime snacks were Milo and Oreo cookies. He made it a point to deliver the snacks to the patient every day and succeeded in becoming closer to the patient.

After weeks of teatime chats, he broached the topic of treatment with the patient. "Finally, two hours later, he rolled up (one of ) his sleeves and said 'okay' to an injection," Mr Raveen, a nurse with IMH for 15 years, recalled.

His commitment to patients and their welfare has won Mr Raveen the highest accolade in the nursing profession - the President's Award for Nurses.

He received the award from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana yesterday evening, along with three other recipients.

The others are Ms Chen Yee Chui, 47, chief nurse with the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics; Ms Hanijah Abdul Hamid, 45, assistant director of nursing at Changi General Hospital; and Ms Lathy Prabhakaran, 52, a senior nurse clinician at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Each received a trophy, a certificate and a $10,000 cash prize that can be used for professional and personal development.

For Ms Prabhakaran, her younger son's asthma led to a turning point in her career. The former critical-care nurse took up respiratory nursing following his asthma diagnosis as an infant.

The mother of two boys, who has been a nurse for 31 years, said: "I... felt so helpless when my son had to go in and out of the hospital and I couldn't help him." Her younger son is now 22 and a rapper, and his condition is under control.

Her personal experiences enable her to relate to her patients and their families easily. She said: "Connecting with people and patients is really what I love the most."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2016, with the headline 'Oreos helped him win patient's trust'. Print Edition | Subscribe