Associate Professor Daniel Fung, Chief Executive Officer, IMH
Ms Paulin Koh, Chief Nursing Officer, MOH
Mr Yong Keng Kwang, Group Chief Nurse, NHG
Ms Samantha Ong, Chief Nurse, IMH
Fellow healthcare colleagues
Good afternoon and Happy Nurses’ Day to all nurses here. It is my privilege to celebrate this special occasion with IMH’s frontline warriors today.
2. 2021 continues to be a challenging year, with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging around the world, and clusters still active in Singapore. Many aspects of our lives have been impacted.
3. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our psychiatric nurses have been at the forefront of protecting patients from the virus. You have faced many challenges, from redesigning patient flow, to stratifying risks of patients being admitted with COVID-19, and quickly isolating any patients with signs of the infection. All these while maintaining a high patient load, stepping up infection control measures and ensuring safe management measures.
4. Last year, when there was a call for help with the national COVID-19 operations, more than 300 IMH nurses came forward and were deployed to perform intensive swab testing in the community. This year, you stood up yet again to administer COVID-19 vaccination shots for your colleagues and long-stay patients. Thank you for playing such critical roles in our fight against the pandemic.
NEW MODEL OF CARE
5. Amidst all these, I am happy to hear that IMH is transitioning to a recovery model of care, advocating for a holistic, person-centred approach to mental health care. The wards are being refurbished and redesigned to offer not just a better physical space but a more conducive environment where more personalised recovery programmes can be carried out. Nurses will play a major role in this new care paradigm and I know you will all continue to do your best to care for your patients, instil hope and empower them to live well, despite their conditions.
EVOLVING ROLE OF NURSES
6. IMH is also setting up a new Short Stay Unit, targeted at helping patients who require specialised crisis care. The multidisciplinary team in this unit will be led by nurses equipped with transdisciplinary skills, and I commend this initiative to offer new opportunities for nurses to play a bigger role in patient care. This is in line with MOH’s emphasis to continue to enhance the role of nurses. The scope of work and training will be broadened to allow nurses to play a wider role in providing care and improving the health of our population. For example, for nurses who aspire to be Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs), we will enhance transdisciplinary training to build complementary skillsets through the new integrated APN internship programme. There are now 11 APNs in IMH who have graduated from the National Collaborative Prescribing Programme since its inception in 2018. This has equipped the APNs to include prescribing as part of their approach to patient’s care for a more timely and comprehensive management.
7. Every year, MOH gives out the Nurses’ Merit Award to deserving nurses who have demonstrated noteworthy and exceptional performance, participated in professional development and contributed to raising the standards of the nursing profession. One of this year’s awardees from IMH is Covering Senior Nurse Manager Zheng He.
8. Zheng He works in a remand ward and looks after forensic patients and those in civil detention under the Mental Health Care & Treatment Act, whom we call formalised patients. Traditionally, patients in this ward are monitored more closely so they typically do not get the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities. To cheer these patients up, he collaborated with an Activity Nurse, an APN and Occupational Therapists to design a nurse-led activity programme to promote the well-being and enhance the cognitive functions of this group of patients. Zheng He also introduced a baking programme to teach patients how to bake cookies, which would later be served to other patients. This baking activity has helped staff to build rapport with their patients, indirectly allowing staff to better understand their patients’ care needs. I hope your efforts will continue to inspire your patients, and fellow nurses.
9. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all winners of IMH’s Awards and MOH’s Nurses’ Merit Award. Excellent work!
10. In closing, I want to thank all of you once again for your dedication and outstanding contributions to Singapore’s healthcare system. You have shown great fortitude and adaptability in tackling the many changes you face. I wish everyone an enjoyable celebration. Thank you.