The President’s Award for Nurses is the highest accolade in the nursing profession. This national award is given in recognition of nurses who have made significant contributions to the profession and the community, while also displaying outstanding competency, leadership, and innovation. They are also dedicated to nurturing young nurses and committed in contributing their professional expertise in the community.
This year, SingHealth is proud to have three recipients. Congratulations to our deserving recipients!
Ms Png Gek Kheng
Chief Nurse(Advanced Practice Nurse)Changi General Hospital
A 30-year nursing veteran who continues to practise today, Gek Kheng rose through the ranks to become the Chief Nurse of Changi General Hospital (CGH). Her many achievements include pioneering the establishment and advancement of geriatric nursing standards. An accomplished APN who is passionate about the care of older adults, Gek Kheng has been instrumental in initiatives to build and strengthen nursing competencies in geriatric care. She has spearheaded interventions in areas including dementia, urinary incontinence and chronic wounds, as well as patient advocacy, caregiver training and advanced care planning.
Envisioning the need for a robust healthcare framework in preparation for Singapore's ageing population, Gek Kheng championed the set-up of The Integrated Building on the CGH campus in 2014. The conception of this sustainable and multi-disciplinary model supports the holistic care for seniors and their transition from hospital to home and this has led to CGH's accreditation as one of the few Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders Hospitals in Singapore.
When Gek Kheng took on the reins of CGH nursing leadership in 2020, COVID-19 presented an unprecedented challenge. Despite the highly volatile pandemic situation, Gek Kheng actively led nursing operations and steadfastly rallied the team through innumerable recalibrations and reconfigurations of workflows and resources to deliver the best possible care to patients in the hospital and at migrant worker dormitories, and also keep healthcare colleagues safe.
Dedicated to building clinical expertise in wound management since 2011, Gek Kheng's foresight to address specific needs of patients locally culminated in the establishment of the CGH Wound Healing Centre (WHC) in 2021. The WHC is the first-of-its-kind one-stop centre that provides early intervention and specialises in outpatient treatment of chronic wounds.
Highly committed to the digital transformation and future-proofing of nursing skills, she steered the development of a Nursing Innovation Pathway to nurture nursing leaders, and continues to redefine nursing roles, including correctional health in prisons. At the national level, Gek Kheng represents SingHealth in establishing MOH's Geriatric Competency Framework. Her conviction in evidence-based practices and enduring efforts in advocating the discovery and translation of novel nursing theories to clinical practice, has enhanced patient care outcomes and enabled the continual progression of the Nursing profession.
Gek Kheng has won numerous accolades throughout her career, including the MOH Healthcare Humanity Award in 2014, the Commendation Medal at the National Day Awards in 2019, and the Singapore Health Quality Service Awards 2019 Best Team Award.
Ms Zhang Di
Assistant Director of Nursing (Advanced Practice Nurse)Sengkang General Hospital
With 23 years of nursing experience, Zhang Di is an exemplary nurse leader who possesses outstanding competencies and expertise in geriatric and community nursing.
She set up the first Community Nurse Post (CNP) in a Senior Activity Centre, a novel nurse-led and signature program for SingHealth Community Nursing, well recognized by patients and caregivers with more than 50 satellite sites, serving more than 10,000 residents. She drives the ongoing nurse-led geriatric service outreach program, Geriatric Resource for Assessment and Care of the inpatient Elderly (GRACE), equipping inpatient care teams with skills and knowledge in approaching patients with dementia, delirium, and falls.
Zhang Di hopes to foster a culture of nursing education in practice settings, igniting positive energy and attitude within the workforce, inspiring more nurses to pursue advanced training.
Ms Julia Eng
Deputy Director of Nursing (Advanced Practice Nurse)KK Women's and Children's Hospital
Julia's nursing journey began 27 years ago, when she joined the first cohort in Singapore to obtain a nursing diploma programme at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). As one of the first few batches of Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) in Singapore, Julia finds immense fulfilment in developing her team of nurses. Over the years, she has successfully groomed 34 APNs and 32 Specialty Care Nurses to provide care for women and children.
Julia pioneered several APN clinics such as the Gynaecological Oncology APN clinic, and the APN pre-operative assessment and evaluation clinic. She also leads KK Women's and Children's Hospital's (KKH) nursing research and nursing education department. She initiated the use of needleless connectors in the central line while maintaining a closed system to prevent catheter occlusion and infections. She also introduced the use of pre-filled normal saline syringe to save nurses' preparation time and prevent contamination for intravenous medication administration. This has since been implemented as a standard practice at KKH.
To advance nursing education in Singapore, Julia, through the Ministry of Health (MOH)'s APN Development committee, successfully implemented changes to the Master Programme in Nursing at the National University of Singapore, and the Integrated APN Internship Programme at MOH. She also lectures at the Singapore Institute of Technology for the Bachelor of Nursing programme, and at NYP for the Advanced Diploma in Oncology course. In addition, Julia mentors students of the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies. She led a team in the development of a graduate certificate programme, accredited by SingHealth College of Clinical Nursing, to empower community nursing to manage women and children and provide care as a family unit.
Julia has a special interest in oncology, which was ignited when she worked in the KKH oncology ward as a young nurse. She currently chairs the Oncology Nurses Chapter under the Singapore Nurses Association, the SingHealth Cluster APN Development Council, and the KK Women's Cancer Support Group. Julia also developed programmes such as the Gynaecology Cancer Course aimed at advancing nurses' competencies. Beyond Singapore, she is involved in annual humanitarian work in Nepal and Ladakh – raising awareness and providing health screening to women.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Julia successfully led the deployment of teams for external operations. She worked with paediatric APNs, Infectious Diseases physicians and the operations team to set up mobile swab teams for childcare centres.
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