Swabbing is tough work but our nurses-turned-swabbers (L-R) SSN Pang Puay Fen, SSN Nor Syamsul Bin Mohamed Said,  ANC Lim Choon Chai and  PEN Norashikin Binte Abdul Wahab, embraced their call of duty with pride!


On Saturday, 8 May 2021, while majority of us were just beginning our weekends, colleagues from various departments were hard at work setting up a dedicated swabbing station in NHCS. This was a call from the Ministry of Health to all healthcare institutions to conduct proactive surveillance testing for all healthcare workers and newly admitted patients.  
With the emergence of Covid-19 infection in community and healthcare institutions, healthcare workers who are involved in supporting patient care areas/ services are prioritised for the one-time surveillance testing for Covid-19 and subsequently for routine rapid testing. These efforts allow early identification of infection and prevention of risks of spread.

Dedicated swabbing station

With the collective efforts from various departments including Nursing, Licensing and Data Governance, and Support Services, the swabbing station was swiftly set up at Level 1, Ambulance Bay in just one day.

swabbing operations at NHCS

NHCS swabbing area
Empty areas at the Ambulance Bay were converted into a dedicated swabbing facility with a registration counter, waiting area and designated space for swabbing.

“Our priority was to swab as many clinical staff on duty as we could that day (8 May)” said Chief Nurse Amy Tay. “Although it was a Saturday, staff were generally very supportive and came forth to be tested when we contacted them.”

staff swabbers 
Assistant Director of Nursing (ADN) Chua Lee Kheng from Nursing Development Unit ensuring correct staff identification prior to sending the specimens.
“NHCS has 15 nurses trained to perform swab. We activated 2 of them on our first day of operations and managed to swab a total of 49 staff on the morning of 8 May 2021,” shared ADN Chua who oversees the swabbing station.

Swabbing for your safety, vaccinated-or-not

Regardless of the Covid-19 vaccination status, all staff are required to go for testing. 

nhcs swabbing 
(L-R) ‘The swab is ok!’ - Chong Pang Boon, former Chief Operating Officer and Amy Tay, Chief Nurse, were amongst the first few staff to be swabbed.
Kristie Chiew and Linda Xi from Licensing and Data Governance who supported the staff vaccination exercise shared that the experience gained previously has helped them tremendously in garnering support from staff this time round.

“Staff are already familiar with us from the vaccinating exercise. So when we call them to schedule a swab, even if they happen to be working from home, they understand the urgency of the situation and would specially turn up for the test,” said Kristie.

swabbers staff operators 
(L-R) Kristie Chiew from Licensing and Data Governance and Yap Yimei from Operations (Management Information & Performance) at a makeshift registration counter on the first day of the swabbing exercise.
“We have completed the PCR testing for all staff on 21 May 2021 and started Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) on 24 May. We know that undergoing a swab is not the most comfortable procedure but rest assured our staff are well trained to perform the test. We hope that all staff, be it clinical or back-end, would continue to support us in this proactive surveillance journey for the safety of our staff, patients and loved ones,” said Prof Terrance Chua.