Singapore's "Mother of Nursing", Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia, has bagged the Her World Woman of the Year title for 2012/2013. The annual award by Singapore Press Holdings' magazine Her World began 22 years ago and is given to Singaporean women who have contributed to society, projected a good image of the nation, and are role models for other women.
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Here is the full press statement from Her World:
Her World Woman of the Year 2013 honours two inspirational role models
Singapore - The prestigious Her World Woman of the Year awards was presented tonight at Shangri-La Hotel by Her World, Singapore's No. 1 women's magazine published by SPH Magazines.
Madam Halimah Yacob, Speaker for Parliament & MP for Jurong GRC who was also a recipient of the award in 2003, was the Guest of Honour at the event.
This year, the Her World Woman of the Year award was awarded to Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia, who holds multiple portfolios as Senior Director of the SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Nursing, Director of Special Projects at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) as well as the National Heart Centre.
In a remarkable nursing career with a span of over 40 years, the former Group Director of Nursing at SingHealth and Director of Nursing at SGH and NHCS has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in the nursing field. For the last three decades, Assoc Prof Lim has been at the forefront of the push to raise the profile of the nursing profession. Through her concerted efforts, SingHealth has introduced various initiatives to empower nurses with career advancements, scholarship and training opportunities. In addition to providing quality patient care, SingHealth nurses are groomed as nurse clinicians, educators and researchers.
She was also instrumental in helping SGH obtain the Magnet Accreditation in 2010, which was the highest form of accolade bestowed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This award recognises healthcare organisations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practices. Only five per cent of hospitals in the world are given this level of accreditation and SGH is the first in Asia.
On the education front, she has tirelessly advocated for nurses to be well-educated and highly trained. She encourages nurses to pursue higher education such as Master's degree, Ph.D and Doctor of Nursing Practice offered by local and overseas universities. She also plays a pivotal role in establishing the SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Nursing, which provides specialisation programmes for nursing and healthcare support staff in Singapore. Her efforts have helped grow SingHealth's nursing talent pool to about 7,000 today.
Outside of work, she shares her expertise and volunteers regularly at hospitals in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China to train their nurses in basic and specialised care.
Assoc Prof Lim said: "Throughout the different stages of my life and career in healthcare, I have been very blessed with loved ones, friends and colleagues who have supported me in my endeavours to elevate the nursing profession. Nursing is widely known as a demanding profession and yet, it is able to attract a high percentage of female employees who effectively juggle their roles at work, at home and in the community. It is a great privilege to be able to work alongside these extraordinary individuals and to be inspired by them personally and professionally. "
The Her World Young Woman Achiever 2013 went to Dr Yeo Sze Ling, a research scientist at A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research.
Dr Yeo developed glaucoma as a child and lost her sight when she was four. Despite her disability, she graduated with first-class honours from the Faculty of Science at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2001 and was the top student in her department. She went on to obtain a Master's and Ph.D in Mathematics in 2006, becoming the first visually challenged person in Singapore to pursue Mathematics up to a doctorate level at NUS. A believer in giving back to society, she has volunteered with the Society for the Physically Disabled and currently tutors and mentors other visually impaired youth.
For her achievements, she won last year's Singapore Youth Award, the highest accolade given to youth in the country. She was also lauded in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech this year as an exemplary citizen helping to build a "compassionate meritocracy".
Dr Yeo said: "I feel truly grateful and honoured to receive the Her World Young Woman Achiever award. It is indeed a humbling experience to be recognised with this honour among many accomplished women. My personal journey to become a research scientist at A*STAR has been blessed with incredible support from countless individuals - my family, teachers, friends, colleagues and many others, who had looked beyond my physical handicap and encouraged me to realise my own potential and dreams.
"As such, I wish to share this award with all of them as well as all my younger friends who are facing their own challenges in life. This award will certainly encourage me to pursue greater heights and to share my blessings and experience with everyone around me".
Genevieve Jiang, Editor of Her World, said: "These awards recognise and celebrate the success and outstanding achievements of dynamic Singapore women. This year's accomplished and talented winners are a source of inspiration, showing that women today can indeed have it all."
Loh Yew Seng, CEO of SPH Magazines, said: "It is gratifying to see how far the Her World Woman of the Year award has come since it was launched 22 years ago. All our winners have been highly accomplished, well-respected and inspiring. As the most popular and widely read women's magazine here, Her World will continue to look ahead and stay relevant to its readers."