THE STRAITS TIMES (27 July 2022)
They are recognised for their sustained outstanding performance and contributions
They are nursing leaders who are
always looking to improve the way
things are done, constantly learning
and inspiring other nurses to
do better. Their contributions during
the Covid-19 pandemic also did
not go unnoticed.
Yesterday, six of them received
the President’s Award for Nurses,
the highest accolade in Singapore’s
nursing profession, from
President Halimah Yacob in a ceremony
at the Istana.
At KK Women’s and Children’s
Hospital (KKH), the deputy director
of nursing Julia Eng Chui Lee,
who studied to be an Advanced
Practice Nurse (APN) in Australia
in 2002, has groomed 34 APNs.
APNs can diagnose and manage
chronic illnesses as well as provide
complex nursing care to patients.
Ms Eng, 47, who also leads KKH’s
nursing research and nursing education
department, started several
APN clinics, including one in 2015
where gynaecological cancer patients
consult an APN to prepare
for their surgery.
Addressing the patients’ needs,
such as helping to refer frail ones
to a physiotherapist, has helped to
cut their post-surgery stay from
seven to eight days to two to three
days, she said.
“A lot of the time, with bad news,
they can’t retain information very
well and so when they come (to see
us), they still have a lot of questions,”
said Ms Eng.
At the Institute of Mental Health,
senior nurse clinician Aziz Ab
Hamed, 60, contributed to the
transformation of a custodial model
to one focusing on recovery care.
At Changi General Hospital
(CGH), Ms Png Gek Kheng, 50, became
the chief nurse with more
than 2,500 nurses under her in the
middle of the pandemic in 2020.
This saw her having to rally staff
through innumerable workflow
changes in order to continue caring
for patients in the hospital as
well as the migrant worker dormitories,
where swab operations and
medical posts were set up.
Ms Png is also an APN and co-director
of the CGH Wound Healing
Centre, the idea for which started a
decade ago with a task force she
set up to address the pressure injuries
Assisi Hospice senior nurse educator
Liu Fang, 42, played a major
role in developing a workshop to
help staff communicate with patients
and their families in a palliative
care setting, which had been
made worse by the pandemic.
The challenge is in shaping the
right attitude and mindset, which
is not just to help patients die
peacefully but also to live well till
the end, she said.
For Ms Zhang Di, 46, an APN and
the assistant director of nursing at
Sengkang General Hospital (SKH),
her achievements include setting
up SingHealth’s first Community
Nurse Post in a senior activity centre
and the development and delivery
of geriatric-care training at
At Tan Tock Seng Hospital,
deputy director of nursing Nirmala
Karmaroon, 56, managed manpower
planning to ensure patient
care could be maintained alongside
a balance in nurses’ work lives,
among other achievements in a
field that she entered 40 years ago.
Lifelong learning is a common
thread among the award recipients,
even if it means pursuing a
master’s or doctorate past the age
The President’s Award for
Nurses started in 2000, and has
since recognised 90 recipients, including
the latest, for sustained outstanding
performance and contributions
to patient care delivery, education,
research and administration,
said the Ministry of Health.