International Women's Day (IWD) 2021

March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), a day dedicated in honour of women all around the world. We felt that one of the most empowering and inspiring ways to celebrate IWD is to read the contributions made by some of our trailblazing women here at SKH. We will be sharing their stories throughout the month of March. We hope through their stories, we can inspire, uplift and remind ourselves about the limitless potential we all have.

 IWD 2021

Hospital Overview
She hopes to make green habits a way of life - Assoc Prof Benita Tan
The planet is facing two crises: One is a viral pandemic and the other is an environmental crisis that’s creeping in slowly. While we have a vaccine for Covid-19, we still have a long way to go in tackling the climate crisis. Here at SKH, Associate Prof Benita Tan has gotten the ball rolling. Besides her job as the Chief of Breast Service at SKH, she’s also the Division Chairman for Ambulatory and Outpatient Services, and Director of Medical Services in-charge of operations and workflows at the hospital, as well as organising outpatient clinical services. She has her hands full.
Amidst juggling such huge responsibilities, Prof Benita advocates passionately and walks the talk about the importance of green living in our lives and environment. She wants to cut down on paper usage across the hospital, considering better ways to be more energy-efficient, and reducing our plastic consumption. Dr Benita Tan shares "It is not just about not using straws or plastic bags, but the overall mindset change about building good green habits into our lives just as we promote health in our daily work. Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be difficult. We just need to make mindful adjustments. Take small steps, they eventually become a habit, and then it becomes part of our everyday life, it’s easy”.

 The former Singapore Hockey Federation Vice-president, and current Medical Officer for the Federation of International Hockey, volunteer her time at international hockey tournaments and also embarks on medical missions that provide needy communities with healthcare. Dr Tan has done several mission trips. She has travelled to remote countries and villages, providing healthcare to people who need it most.

She shares "Here in Singapore, we can head to the nearest doctor in less than an hour and get heavily subsidised healthcare. However, many countries have it hard. It can be a 3-day walk on foot to get to the nearest doctor, or it could cost them a great deal of money." These mission trips often serve as a reminder that many in the world do not have the same opportunities or resources.

She enjoys teaching and sees it as a social obligation to develop Singapore’s future healthcare and also focuses on breast cancer research as she strongly believes research is necessary to improve medical therapy. She is grateful that her patients are supportive too.
Our Story
Ms Puspalatah is a Senior Nurse Manager at the Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOC) services at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH). She was formerly from Singapore General Hospital (SGH) where she oversaw several projects aimed at improving patient experience at the SOCs.

Drawing on her extensive experience, Ms Puspa developed several workflows for the various SOC clinics and centres of various disciplines here at SKH. She plays a pivotal role in collaborating with the clinicians and SOC operations team in reviewing and developing the nursing expertise and practices complementing the clinical service. From enhanced patient experience to improved staff satisfaction, Ms Puspa is known for adopting proven and well-established continuous improvement methodologies at the SOCs. Two of her quality improvement projects were awarded Gold while 3 others were awarded Silver at the National Quality Improvement Conventions. Ms Puspa also received the MOH Nurses Merit Award in 2008 and the Outstanding Coach Award in 2012.

Viewed as a role model by many young nurses, Ms Puspa is a firm believer in nurturing and grooming future leaders in Nursing. As a champion for patients and nurses, Puspa shares that nurses can benefit from good nursing mentorship. She explained, "When you're a mentor, you cultivate the passion for your teammates to do better for our patients and that in turn results in good habits benefitting many more patients." Ms Puspa recollects how during her time at SGH, she encouraged two Patient Service Associates (PSAs) who had a keen interest in nursing. She piqued their interest and told them to pursue what was close to their hearts. Today, one of them is a Registered Nurse and the other is pursuing a Diploma in Nursing at Nanyang Polytechnic. Ms Puspa is glad to have identified both of them who had the aptitude to care for the sick to embark on nursing.

Ms Puspa, who is also a trained Emergency Nurse, conducts in-service talks on Emergency workflows and code blue drills to ensure nurses are competent to handle emergencies in their daily settings. Putting her expertise to good use and for a meaningful cause, Ms Puspa who is a Member of the Hindu Endowment Board (HEB) volunteers her time by providing medical support services at large scale temple events.
Key Milestones
An inspiring visionary and relentless advocate for AHPs-
Adj A/Prof Camilla Wong

Growing up, Dr Camilla Wong dreamt of becoming a computer scientist or aeronautical engineer as she had always loved science and doing basic programming on the computer. But her interest soon waned and years later, when her mother saw a newspaper report saying Singapore faced a shortage of pharmacists, her career path changed. Dr Wong received a scholarship to Curtin University to pursue a degree in pharmacy. She is currently Director, Allied Health at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) and Chief Pharmacist at the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Dr Wong has been integral in the planning of the infrastructure, processes and services not only for Allied Health services but for SKH as a whole. She has also been a role model and mentor to allied health professionals and other healthcare professionals, with many helming leadership and headship positions.

Recognised as a leader in healthcare, Dr Wong has been appointed to numerous committees spanning a variety of portfolios that encompass safety, quality, patient experience, clinical services, information technology and drug advisory, at organizational, cluster and national levels. As Chief Pharmacist, MOH, she oversees the National Pharmacy Strategy which spans over a number of initiatives, encompassing pharmaceutical care excellence, developing a confident pharmacy workforce, re-designing the supply chain, and information and technology enablement.

Dr Wong has contributed greatly to the pharmacy profession through the strategic development of pharmacists and she was instrumental in developing the nation’s pharmacy competency framework and career pathway, which serves to right-site talent and allow pharmacists to pursue and excel in their passion. This successful implementation has led to propagation of the same for the other Allied Health professionals in the SingHealth Cluster and nationally.

In 2008, Dr Wong made history when she became the first Singaporean to be given the Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations (FAPA) Ishidate Award for hospital pharmacy, adding to her many key achievements and accolades. Dr Wong’s wealth of experience and selfless sharing has guided numerous healthcare professionals, and her vision for the future of healthcare continues to inspire many more.