SINGAPORE - The joy of seeing her patients get their life 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 in IMH for more than 10 years.
"My team and I assist patients who have the potential to reintegrate back into society. We teach them skills to help them live independently," 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. The patients' potential, abilities and interests are taken into consideration when they are recommended for jobs.
Many of the patients gain experience working in IMH, as cleaners or in the kitchen, before they go on to their new jobs.
"It is very rewarding to be part of their recovery journey," said Madam Rahinah, who is married with two teenage children.
On Friday (Nov 23), she won first prize in 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 auditorium in Novena.
Enrolled nurses support registered nurses and are typically 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 Madam Faridah 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 take up nursing as a career.
"After I graduated from nursing school in 1977, I have been doing the same for my patients and their families, telling them not to worry and assuring them that we will take good care of them," said Madam Faridah, who is married with a 23-year-old daughter .
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 been working for the past six years.
Now, her passion has inspired her niece and nephew, who are 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 a cash prize of $2,500.
Seven other enrolled nurses also received awards with cash prizes of $800 each.
There are currently about 8,800 enrolled nurses in Singapore. Since 2005, 120 enrolled nurses have received the Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award, which was set up in memory of the late banker and philanthropist Tan Chin Tuan.
The awards were presented to the nurses on Friday 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 in 2005.