2020 was an extraordinary year seeing many of our colleagues stepping up in their own ways to support one another in the fight against Covid-19. From nurses, doctors and allied health colleagues braving at the forefront of the pandemic, to ancillary, administrative and back-office staff aiding in triage duties and safe distancing management, everyone played their part in making a difference to the health and safety of our patients and fellow colleagues.

The unprecedented circumstance has given rise to a special edition of the annual Singapore Health Quality Service Award (SHQSA) 2021 with special dedication to our healthcare staff for their contributions.

In January 2020, Senior Staff Nurse (SSN) Duan Shuya from Ward 44 Coronary Care Unit (CCU) answered the call to support the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and put her skills in Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) to good use. SSN Duan augmented the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses at National Centre for NCID in managing ECMO, and took on the care management of ECMO patients when the Covid-19 situation was at its peak.

“When there were plans to turn CCU into a Covid-19 ICU in early May, SSN Duan was proactive in recognising the need for prone nursing and conducted several in-service sessions to train fellow nurses through creative ways,” shared Senior Nurse Manager Jasmine Lee, Ward 44 CCU.

Using raffia strings to simulate IV infusion, dialysis lines and even the urine catheter, SSN Duan (middle) exercised creativity to make the prone nursing training sessions as realistic as possible. In the picture above, the team was attempting to turn the patient over.
Prone nursing, a fundamental component for Covid-19 management, involves having the patient lying flat with chest facing down and back facing up. SSN Duan explained that a Covid-19 positive patient who is intubated, can better ventilate the lungs in a prone position. This technique requires five persons to work as a team – a doctor to hold the patient’s breathing tube and take care of the neck line, if any, and four nurses to hold the bedsheet securely during turning. 
NHCS successfully setup our very own Safe Distancing (SD) programme in April last year, with the collaboration from many departments and staff. Ms Elaine Goh from Vascular Laboratory, one of the SD ambassadors, not only enforced safe distancing practice to staff and visitors, but also set aside time during lunch to patrol high traffic areas.

(L-R) SD Ambassador, Elaine Goh (right, in blue uniform), patrols the wards to remind staff to do their check-ins to SafeEntry and most recently, TraceTogether; Giving the thumbs-up when she observes staff adhering to safe distancing guidelines.

Nurse Clinician Liew Siok Moey who was overseeing the SD measures in the wards shared, “As a SD ambassador, Elaine did her rounds at the wards regularly and went to the extent of printing coloured SD posters as reminders for all. She also helped to remind junior doctors in the wards so that I could focus on reminding the nurses.”

Many of us in NHCS like SSN Duan and Ms Goh, be it big or small ways, have contributed to the smooth management of the pandemic. Because of YOU, NHCS has been, and will continue to be a safe place!

To all 262 of our NHCS award recipients, A BIG Thank You and You are our Heroes!