A 59-year-old Indian-origin nurse in Singapore has been conferred with the prestigious President's Award for Nurses for serving on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kala Narayanasamy was among the five nurses given the award, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday.
Each recipient was awarded a trophy, a certificate signed by President Halimah Yacob and SGD 10,000 (USD 7,228).
Narayanasamy, who is the Deputy Director of Nursing at Woodlands Health Campus, was awarded for using infection control practices, which she learned during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, in the current pandemic.
She tapped on this experience to introduce workflows and standard operating procedures to convert wards at the Yishun Community Hospital to care for COVID-19 patients.
"All that we learned from SARS, we can put into place now," the Channel News Asia quoted Narayanasamy, who pointed the short time period to put such procedures in place.
She has been involved with the modernisation of nursing in Singapore, with her past projects including the implementation of a self-checkout inventory management vending machine to track the usage of items.
She was also involved in the introduction of the use of a streamlined wound assessment process that provides accurate wound measurements and image capture.
Both measures were implemented by the Woodlands Health Campus team at Yishun Community Hospital.
Narayanasamy is currently involved with the planning for the Woodlands Health Campus, scheduled to open in 2022, drawing on almost 40 years of experience to lead the development of nursing services for the division of medicine at the campus.
Noting her previous role as a clinical nurse educator, Narayanasamy said she is passionate about grooming the next generation of nurses.
"I will always tell our nurses who come and join us: 'I think nursing will never fail to reward you'," she said.
"All these awards and promotions and everything have your name (on them) and are just waiting there for you to come and claim ... your full passion for what you're doing is always rewarded." The President's Award for Nurses recognises nurses who have shown sustained outstanding performance and contributions to patient care delivery, education, research and administration.
Seventy seven nurses have received the award since its introduction in 2000.
It is open to all registered nurses from healthcare institutions in the public, private, and community care sectors, as well as those in educational institutions.
The award was also given to veteran nurses Tay Yee Kian, Patricia Yong Yueh Li, Alice Chua Foong Sin, Chin Soh Mun, all specialists in various medical fields.
According to the Ministry of Health, the country has 48,744 COVID-19 cases with 27 deaths.