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Speech By Senior Minister Of State For Health Dr Koh Poh Koon, As Guest-Of-Honour At The Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award For Enrolled Nurses 2020 Ceremony, 19 November 2020, 4.30pm

Dr Della Suantio Lee, Founder and Chairperson of D.S. Lee Foundation 

Ms Chew Gek Kim, Deputy Chairman of Tan Chin Tuan Foundation

Ms Samantha Ong Bee Cheng, President of Singapore Nurses Association

Ms Brenda Lim Bee Khim, Chairman of Organising Committee for the Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.       A very good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to show my appreciation for all nurses and to congratulate the ten recipients of the Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award for Enrolled Nurses this year. 

2.       2020 has been an extraordinary year for nurses. This year was designated by the World Health Organization as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and it is the bicentenary year of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Significantly, it is also the 135th anniversary of nursing here in Singapore. 

3.       And then of course, there is the COVID-19 pandemic which has meant that for much of 2020 so far, our nurses have been working very hard at the frontlines battling COVID-19 and keeping our loved ones and Singaporeans safe. I am heartened by the dedication and professionalism of our nurses in overcoming challenges to continue to provide quality, safe and patient-centric clinical care to all patients.

The Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award for Enrolled Nurses

4.       While I am unable to celebrate this year’s awards with you in person, I would like to honour the achievements of the winners of the Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award. Let me share with you the stories of this year’s top three winners. 

5.       Ms Fatimah Binte Taha Suhaima, who is a Principal Enrolled Nurse at Changi General Hospital, is meticulous in her duty and often goes the extra mile in caring for her patients. She pays close attention to patients at risk of falling and provides good care for frail, bed bound patients under her charge. Ms Fatimah once cared for a patient who had suffered injuries from a road traffic accident, and she remained in contact with the patient even after discharge so as to provide her with support and reassurance. Her caring nature has also influenced both her children’s choices of careers in nursing and social work. Thank you for being such a wonderful role model.

6.       Next, we have Ms Ow Yong Lai Chan, a Principal Enrolled Nurse who has dedicated much of her time to vocational training for patients on slow stream rehabilitation (SSR) at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). SSR is catered for individuals whose recovery is slow or prolonged and are not suited for intensive rehabilitation. Ms Ow helped IMH to establish and operate an SSR café, as well as a stall for the sale of vegetables harvested from the SSR hydroponic farm. She taught her patients to recognise and cook different types of vegetable dishes, and her patients are now gainfully employed, applying their knowledge and skillset gained in their interactions with customers.

7.       Finally, we have Principal Enrolled Nurse Ms Yew Xueling from Sengkang General Hospital. Always conscientious in caring for her patients, Ms Yew once identified a patient who was not ready for discharge due to mobility issues. She promptly alerted the medical team and facilitated the referral of this patient to the Community Hospital. In fact, during the COVID-19 outbreak, she provided guidance to ground nurses on updated workflows and procedures in the handling of patients and the safe collection and dispatch of specimens. She also ensured that all her staff complied with the infection control guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment as well as hand hygiene. 

8.       Congratulations, Fatimah, Lai Chan and Xueling, for your exceptional performance! To the other seven outstanding awardees, may I also extend my heartiest congratulations to you all. I hope your stories and personal testimonies will inspire your peers and the broader society.


9.       Nursing remains an integral part of our healthcare workforce. Just as you are tireless in your dedication to your patients, all of us at the Ministry of Health remain committed to supporting you in your work and helping you to grow in your careers.

10.       Thank you for choosing to be a nurse, serving the nation and making a difference in the lives of your patients. Once again, my heartiest congratulations to the 2020 Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award winners. All the best for your future endeavours!

11.       Thank you very much.

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