Five nurses win President's Award

(Clockwise from top left) Ms Patricia Yong, Ms Tay Yee Kian, Ms Chin Soh Mun, Dr Alice Chua and Ms Kala Narayanasamy.
(Clockwise from top left) Ms Patricia Yong, Ms Tay Yee Kian, Ms Chin Soh Mun, Dr Alice Chua and Ms Kala Narayanasamy.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE GENERAL HOSPITAL, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM, DOVER PARK HOSPICE, NATIONAL CANCER CENTRE SINGAPORE, WOODLANDS HEALTH CAMPUS

The Straits Times speaks to the five nurses who clinched the President's Award for Nurses this year. The award, the highest accolade for the profession in Singapore, recognises nurses who have shown sustained, outstanding performance and contributions to patient care delivery, education, research and administration.

Nurses are nominated for the award by their institutions, peers or the public. This year's nominees were interviewed by a panel chaired by Dr Chia Shi-Lu, who was the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health at the point of the selection process.

Seventy-seven nurses have received the award since its inception in 2000.

She cross-trains nurses so they would be more adept at providing critical care



Singapore General Hospital deputy director of nursing Patricia Yong conducting a refresher training course on prone positioning for ICU nurses. PHOTO: SINGAPORE GENERAL HOSPITAL

Six years ago, Ms Patricia Yong started cross-training ICU nurses in Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

She would rotate them every three months from the intermediate care area and high-dependency units to intensive care units, and from one ICU to another.

"I wanted the nurses to be exposed to a higher level of sophisticated care for patients so that when required, we have enough high-skilled nurses to work in such wards," said the 56-year-old deputy director of nursing at SGH.

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Nurse wants to pass on her knowledge to juniors just as her seniors had guided her



Ms Tay Yee Kian (left) mentoring a junior Community Nurse at the National University Health System. PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM

Realising that elderly residents at nursing homes were particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, Ms Tay Yee Kian stepped up to train community nurses into better caring for them.

The assistant director of nursing at the National University Health System's (NUHS) Regional Health Office led her team to supervise the operations set-up for swab testing at 15 nursing homes in the west of Singapore.

She also coached 89 nurses across the homes in infection control measures, such as donning and doffing personal protective equipment, and nasopharyngeal swab testing.

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She volunteers to accompany patients in their last moments to give them comfort



Nursing director Chin Soh Mun is a fervent believer that no one should be alone in their last moments. PHOTO: DOVER PARK HOSPICE

Nursing director Chin Soh Mun has pretty much seen it all in her 48 years in the profession, in roles ranging from acute to long-term care, but she has now found her true calling - palliative care at the Dover Park Hospice.

Ms Chin, 66, is a fervent believer that no one should be alone in their last moments, so her commitment to her patients goes beyond attending to their physical needs.

"It is about ensuring that their psycho-social and emotional needs are met, which requires a lot of experience and heart in the work (that we do so) it is crucial that we understand our patients beyond their illnesses," she said.

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Nurse believes in continued education and research to improve patient care



Dr Alice Chua attends to a patient at the National Cancer Centre. PHOTO: NATIONAL CANCER CENTRE SINGAPORE

In believing that nurses are in the best position to effect transformation in their patients' journey to recovery, Dr Alice Chua has always been a strong believer in research and continued education to address her patients' changing needs.

The nursing practice doctorate graduate is the assistant director of nursing at the National Cancer Centre Singapore and an Advanced Practice Nurse, where she specialises in oncology nursing with a focus on patients with head and neck cancers.

Dr Chua, 44, is the nurse lead at the Allied Health Professional Clinic at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Head and Neck Centre, which is a one-stop clinic that helps patients in their post-operation recovery process.

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Her mantra in nursing: Make things 'safer, faster, and better' for patients



Ms Kala conducts a briefing for her team from Woodlands Health Campus. PHOTO: WOODLANDS HEALTH CAMPUS

A firm believer in enhancing the role of nurses, Ms Kala Narayanasamy's personal mantra is to ask herself how she can make things "safer, faster, and better" for her patients.

Now the deputy director of nursing at the Woodlands Health Campus, Ms Kala retired a decade ago, but that did not last long, as she ended up returning to the profession which she joined in 1982.

"We come from a generation where we often stay in the same job throughout the years and, as a result, we grow roots in our career," said the 59-year-old.

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