​By Dr Lim Su Fee
Senior Nurse Clinician & Advanced Practice Nurse
Singapore General Hospital

I believe that the core value of nursing is ‘caring’. It is a very important value to keep in mind, and we should always use our hearts to provide quality care for our patients and their families.

How can we then deliver quality care? I believe it can be achieved with skill, professionalism, knowledge and research.

Research is integral because it builds and supports the foundation of our clinical practice, ensuring that whatever we do in terms of patient care delivery is based on evidence and best practices.

My research interest is in managing patients with disabilities: as caring for the physically disabled can be daunting, I hope that my research can address the health needs of these patients, as well as empower their caregivers with the ability and confidence to provide care for them at home.

For example, one of my research studies on caregivers found that they wanted to acquire knowledge beyond basic care.  They wanted to know how to handle patients in emergency situations, which helpline to contact for assistance and the availability of support groups. This research enabled us to meet their learning needs.

I recently published a manuscript based on my PhD thesis on constipation in patients with stroke and orthopaedic conditions.  The study revealed that these patients could develop new-onset of constipation as early as their second day of hospitalisation.  This helped us realise that preventive strategies which include modifiable predictors  of constipation  should be introduced as early as the day of admission.

Apart from engaging in clinically meaningful research, I hope I can continue to hone my clinical skills and contribute to the development of advanced nursing practice.

I wish to inspire the younger generation of nurses to pursue and achieve higher academic qualifications.

We need to build a larger pool of better educated and highly-skilled nurses who can have the autonomy in clinical decision-making and patient care.

As a step towards this, I have embarked on a project to improve care efficiency where patients can be reviewed earlier for rehabilitation needs.  I am currently working on creating a nurse-led triaging system where nurses can take over the decision-making task traditionally performed by the rehabilitation physicians.  With this, the physicians will be able to attend to patients with more complex medical conditions earlier.

I hope that this initiative will allow nurses to undertake a higher clinical role, and eventually enhance the nursing role development.

Dr Lim Su Fee is the recipient of the President’s Award for Nurses 2015.  This prestigious annual award is the highest accolade of the nursing profession, in recognition of the country’s most outstanding nurses who have shown sustained outstanding performance in their contributions to patient care, education, leadership, research and administration.