The joy of seeing her patients get their lives back on track has kept Madam Rahinah Ibrahim, 52, in nursing for half her life.
As a principal assistant nurse in the slow stream rehabilitation ward at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), she works with long-stay patients, some of whom have been warded at IMH for over 10 years.
"My team and I assist patients who have the potential to reintegrate back into society," said Madam Rahinah, who has 26 years of nursing experience, with 16 of them spent at IMH.
She even works with social workers to help patients look for suitable jobs when they are ready to be discharged, taking the patients' potential, abilities and interests into consideration. "It is very rewarding to be part of their recovery journey," said Madam Rahinah.
Yesterday, she won the first prize of the annual Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award, the highest accolade for enrolled nurses in Singapore.
She was presented with a challenge trophy, a gold medallion and a cash prize of $3,500 to be used for professional development, during the awards ceremony at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.
Enrolled nurses support registered nurses and are responsible for monitoring a patient's condition and providing bedside care. In some institutions, senior enrolled nurses also take on some duties usually performed by registered nurses, such as administering medication and making recommendations for patient care.
The second prize was won by Madam Faridah Hassan, 60, who received a gold medallion and a cash prize of $3,000.
When she was in secondary school, her father was admitted to hospital for a severe asthma attack. Seeing the care and compassion of the nurses who looked after him inspired her to make nursing her career. "I have been doing the same for my patients and their families, telling them not to worry, assuring them we will take good care of them," said Madam Faridah.
She even learnt to cut hair, although it is not part of her official duties, and keeps a professional set of scissors and a shaver in her locker at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where she has worked for the past six years.
Now, her passion has inspired her niece and nephew, both in their 20s, to become nurses themselves.
Ms Jenny Yong, 40, from the Home Nursing Foundation, won the third prize and received a gold medallion and $2,500.
Seven other enrolled nurses received awards with cash prizes of $800 each.
Since the Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award was founded in 2005, 120 enrolled nurses have received prizes. The award was set up in memory of late philanthropist Tan Chin Tuan.
The awards were presented yesterday by Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, Ms Chew Gek Khim, who chairs The Straits Trading Company and is Mr Tan's granddaughter, and Dr Della Lee, who founded the award.