​A Long Service Award is not just an acknowledgement of the years spent at a workplace but a testament to the dedication and commitment one has put into his or her work, inevitably shaping an institution into what it is. In appreciation of their contributions to healthcare, NHCS honoured 142 long serving staff at an appreciation ceremony on 16 February 2024.

CardioConnect finds out the ways these staff have stayed motivated across the years and their aspirations beyond the 9 to 5. Also included in the interviews are recommendations for top makan spots near the office!

Unbelievable as it may sound, Low Geck Hwa, Assistant Nurse Clinician, has dedicated 50 years to NHCS! Sister Low has devoted most of her lifetime caring for patients at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit for the last two decades. She shared that educating and reiterating mental well-being to patients have great impact on their motivation and rehabilitation efficacy.

Assoc Prof Ewe See Hooi, Deputy Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, who has been a veteran of 20 years, takes special interest in cardiac imaging using advanced echocardiography to assess cardiac conditions. Applying techniques such as 3D and strain echocardiography, as well as multislice computed tomography, Assoc Prof Ewe screens and manages patients with valvular heart diseases to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“If you know 100 people, chances are you know someone with inherited cardiac conditions (ICC)”, shares Edmund Pua, Research Fellow, National Heart Research Institute Singapore. Edmund has spent his decade-long journey at NHCS studying cardiovascular genetics focusing on the unique Singaporean genomes, with the aim to create a next-generation sequencing-based test to confirm ICC diagnoses, perform cascade screenings, and inform patient management. 

Having a dual role at work may seem daunting to some but Leow Mui Gek Angie, Patient Service Associate Executive, Cardiac Clinics takes it in stride. Having spent 10 years in healthcare, her current work include counter duties and assisting doctors during consultation. You can read more about her upskilling training here.

How has your role at NHCS evolved over time? 

Sister Low: Beyond caring for patients in-person, interacting with patients has gone online too. We now offer virtual counselling which allows us to reach out to patients who are unable to travel to the clinic because of their health condition or the lack of accompanying person for their visit. Having such virtual sessions enables these patients to continue receiving rehabilitation from the comfort and convenience of their home and empowers our team to enhance continuity of care.

Assoc Prof Ewe: I was an advanced cardiology trainee in NHCS in 2006. After which, I was awarded a 2-year MOH fellowship training in 2009 to pursue multimodality cardiac imaging at Leiden University in The Netherlands. Upon my return to Singapore, I became part of the NHCS multidisciplinary team for catheter-based intervention for valvular heart diseases. Currently, I am serving as both the Director of Echocardiology and the Deputy Head in the Department of Cardiology.

Edmund: I started out as a Research Officer in 2013 and spearheaded the setup of NHCS Biobank, developing and commercialising a comprehensive assay for ICCs in 2016 that was used for clinical and research applications. Later, I received the SingHealth Talent Development Fund (TDF) award to study a part-time PhD in Cardiogenetics at National University of Singapore. During that same period, I managed two core facilities at NHRIS and supported our Principal Investigators in basic science and translational research as a Scientific Lead. In my pursuit of research, I was recently awarded the 2024 SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Research grant to identify new biomarkers in diabetic patients with cardiac fibrosis. 

Angie: I was first stationed at Cardiac Clinics and Clinical Laboratory, where I assisted doctors during consultation and handled registration and payment. After going through a job redesign and upskilling programme, my job scope has expanded to duties in Cardiac Radiology and Pharmacy as well. In this role, other than helping with registration, appointment booking, pharmacy billing, and payment, I also help patients prepare for CT (Computed Tomography) scans which include putting on ECG pads and taking their blood pressure. 

What gets you up in the morning? 

Sister Low: The rehabilitation phase is extremely important in the grand scheme of things. During times of fatigue, I remind myself of the impact my work has on patients and push through!

Assoc Prof Ewe: Just like the SingHealth motto, patients are truly at the heart of all I do. Also, the fact that I get to spend time with my colleagues is a plus as well. Doing what I love to do in the company of my friends is a good enough reason to look forward to work every day.

Edmund: I am motivated by the challenge of decoding the pathobiology of cardiometabolic diseases using a multi-omics approach. Most importantly, the fact that my research findings can be translated into clinical settings to help patients keeps me going at work.

Angie: My family members – I must get up early to wake both my sons up for school! Jokes aside, the joy I get from helping patients motivates me to do better each day.

What would you like to try or learn outside of your current job?

Sister Low: The growing focus around aging and mental wellness has led me to keep myself updated on topics related to caring and communicating with the aged community.

Assoc Prof Ewe: Motivating my husband to lead a healthier lifestyle by exercising regularly with me. Healthier SG starts at home!

Edmund: Learning how to ski.

Angie: I have always been interested in trying new roles and learning new things, so I am keeping an open mind!

Recommend your top 3 lunch/kopi spots near NHCS!

Sister Low: Chicken rice at SGH’s Kopitiam as well as the Nyonya food (this same stall used to be at NHCS’ SG Hawker) and tom yum stall at Outram Community Hospital (OCH)’s Koufu. 

Assoc Prof Ewe: Highlander, Plain Vanilla and MIZ Japanese Restaurant.

Edmund: I highly recommend the coffee at Kaffe & Toast and Highlander. OCH’s Koufu is a good lunch spot as well.

Angie: OCH’s Koufu, and NHCS’ Kaffe & Toast and SG Hawker.

Congratulations to all award recipients! Your dedication and contributions make NHCS proud!