A- A A+
Home > About TTSH > News > Six nursing leaders receive President’s Award for Nurses
(From left, on top step) Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung; Institute of Mental Health senior nurse clinician Aziz Ab Hamed; KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital deputy director of nursing Julia Eng Chui Lee; Assisi Hospice senior nurse educator Liu Fang; President Halimah Yacob; Tan Tock Seng Hospital deputy director of nursing Nirmala Karmaroon; Changi General Hospital chief nurse Png Gek Kheng; Sengkang General Hospital assistant director of nursing Zhang Di; and Ministry of Health chief nursing officer Paulin Koh at the ceremony for the President’s Award for Nurses at the Istana. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

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 of patients.

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 SKH.

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 of 45.

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.

Last Updated on