Ms Jasmine Lee (above), 31, nurse clinician at National Heart Centre. -- ST PHOTO: TERENCE TAN

ONE receives a flurry of about 15 thank-you letters a month, while the other gets frequent requests to meet up in person.

While they are not your typical celebrities, both nurses have scored high in the popularity stakes at their respective hospitals.

Ms Jasmine Lee, nurse clinician at the National Heart Centre, and Ms Leong Yoke Yin, senior nurse manager at Changi General Hospital, are well-loved by patients; they also serve as role models for their colleagues.

For these achievements, each received the prestigious PS21 Star Service Award and the Health-care Humanity Award this year.

The PS21 Star Service Award recognises civil servants with consistently high standards of service excellence. Ms Lee, 31, and Ms Leong, 53, were among 303 recipients who received their awards from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean last Friday.

Yesterday, they received the Health-care Humanity Award and were each presented with a silver medallion and $1,500 by President S R Nathan, patron of the Courage Fund.

This award continues the legacy of the Courage Award, which was given out in 2003 to recognise health-care workers for their efforts in fighting the Sars outbreak that year. This year, 61 winners were chosen from 135 nominations.

Ms Leong's nominator for both awards, assistant director of nursing Clarybell Fernandez, called her 'a strong patient advocate'.

An example: One of her patients had fallen into depression after having part of her intestines removed and having to wear a stoma bag around her waist to drain urine and faeces from the body.

Ms Leong, 53, said: 'She was an independent lady and felt so embarrassed as she couldn't control her bowels then.'

So the award winner arranged for other patients with a similar condition to visit her and share their experiences.

This informal support group helped to rebuild the patient's confidence, Ms Leong said.

Similarly, the help Ms Lee, 31, renders to patients goes beyond that of health care.

Besides giving patients extra food and securing an airline seat with more legroom for a patient, Ms Lee also takes on the role of barber at the wards when she shaves the facial hair of male patients.

She said: 'Health care is also holistic care. We look at a patient's dignity and a simple act of shaving him can spruce up his look and boost his confidence.'

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.