The quality of patient care depends not just on the healthcare experts’ skills but also on the guidance they receive, says nurse manager Diana Ong.

The 47-year-old, who has been in the industry for 25 years, leads a team of nurses at Jurong Polyclinic, which is under a government-run network of polyclinics known as National University Polyclinics (NUP). She is responsible for ensuring their healthcare services are delivered efficiently to their patients.

For Ms Ong, that means putting everything in place before the polyclinic even starts to operate for the day – from preparing sufficient manpower to making the rounds in the clinic to check the readiness of the nursing service rooms and other facilities. She also oversees all administrative matters pertaining to the nurses’ training and projects.

“I enjoy working with aspiring, young nurses in polyclinics,” says Ms Ong. “I like helping them realise their potential, and grow in competence and critical thinking so that they can deliver quality patient care and assume leadership roles in the time to come.”

Ms Ong has recently been entrusted to take the lead as the nurse manager for the upcoming Bukit Panjang Polyclinic. “I am working with the project team to prepare everything from working out the nursing manpower resource and staff workflow to budgeting and purchasing of 
 medical equipment.

“Although this is my first time working on the development of a new polyclinic, I am surrounded by supportive NUP colleagues who readily provide advice and guidance, enabling me to assume this role effectively,” she adds. Ms Ong is also involved in recruiting health professionals for the polyclinic that is slated to open in the last quarter of 2020. 

For greater meaning  and purpose

Ms Ong started working in the public healthcare sector after obtaining her General Certificate in Nursing in 1994. “I chose nursing because it adds meaning and purpose to life.”

She took a break in 1997 to raise her daughter in the United States. When she returned to Singapore six years later, Ms Ong worked as a staff nurse in the orthopaedic and hand microsurgery clinics at National University Hospital (NUH) while pursuing her Bachelor of Health Sciences. She subsequently became a nurse manager during her time at NUH.

“I was given many opportunities in my role as a nurse manager,” she recounts. “It gave me the chance to gain exposure to various clinical systems and learn to review and 
 refine processes.”

Ms Ong then joined Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital as a nurse clinician in 2012, where she was also involved in the configuration of their electronic medical record systems. This was before she joined NUP as a nurse manager in 2017.

“These opportunities made me realise that I enjoy contributing to patient care directly as well as working on administrative and clinical projects to improve processes. At NUP, I feel that I can have the best of both worlds.”