SINGAPORE - Dr Subadhra Devi Rai, a senior lecturer at the School of Health Sciences (Nursing) at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), has been named winner of the 2015 International Achievement Award by the International Council of Nurses' Florence Nightingale International Foundation.
Dr Rai, 51, is the first Singaporean to receive the award. She was selected from a pool of nominees worldwide for her "dedication in providing nursing care to vulnerable populations since the beginning of her career", said Ms Judith Shamian, president of the International Council of Nurses and the Florence Nightingale International Foundation.
"Her special focus on issues such as gender-based violence, sexual health and reintegration of refugees is particularly topical," Ms Shamian added.
Dr Rai began her career in Singapore where she worked in the intensive care unit following her general nursing training. It was during her time in Canada's Edmonton Centre for Survivors of Torture and Trauma in 1997 that she began to focus on health issues concerning women and refugees.
She has worked in several places since, including Thailand and India.
Currently a senior lecturer in the polytechnic, Dr Rai continues to impact the lives of her students.
"Dr Rai is an exemplary nurse and lecturer who tries to tell her students what nursing really is," said Director of the School of Health Sciences (Nursing) Wong Luan Wah, who nominated Dr Rai for the award.
"Her commitment, and the humility with which she approaches those she helps, has enabled her to make a real difference to the communities."
Dr Rai hopes her award will send the message to other nurses that "the sky's the limit".
"We have a role to play," she said.
"Nursing is more than just carrying a bedpan. It's about being with someone who in his lowest moment cannot look after himself. It's a work of dignity."
The International Achievement Award is given every two years to a practising nurse with at least 10 years of nursing experience.