Lilian Yew

With a passion for wanting to care for others, Lilian Yew first embarked on a nursing career as a staff nurse in 1992. Armed with both a degree and master’s in Health Sciences from SIM-The University of Sydney, Lilian has progressed in her career and now serves as the Chief Nurse at Raffles Hospital. Her leadership and direction help steer a large team of nurses towards achieving strategic organisational goals and providing quality care for many patients.

10 Jul 2019

5 mins read

At the Helm of Healthcare


Fill in the blank with the adjective that describes yourself best:  I am compassionate

Please do elaborate on why you chose the adjective above.

Compassionate care is an important aspect of nursing and it is embedded in the nurses’ code of practice and professional standards. Compassion is one of our core values at Raffles Hospital and it is of no surprise that the well-being of our patients is at the heart of what we do.

Tell us briefly about your nursing career.

Upon graduating from the School of Nursing in 1992, I began working as a staff nurse at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). I felt that this was when my calling for the profession grew stronger.  Later in 1997, I began working as a specialised Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse. I continue to remain passionate about the work that I do and was progressively promoted to take on an administrative role prior to joining Raffles Hospital. At Raffles Hospital, I started out as a Deputy Director in 2011 before assuming the role of Director in 2014. Eventually, I was re-designated to be the Chief Nurse.

How did you find out about SIM-The University of Sydney programmes and why did you apply for it?  

Fuelled by my desire to seek knowledge and grow my career, I was granted a study sponsorship from SGH which recommended a placement to the University of Sydney’s Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) programme at SIM. It seemed that I had the aptitude and experience suited for the programme and the modules were also very ideal for my career trajectory. I graduated from the programme in 2000 and later in 2003, I went on to pursue the Master of Health Science (Management) programme at SIM which offered a management track.

How did the SIM-The University of Sydney programmes help you at work?

Besides helping me acquire more knowledge on safe quality care, the degree programme guided me in becoming a service-oriented leader who is able to handle patients, staff and visitors well. The master’s programme, on the other hand, instilled in me important management skills in leading a team of nurses effectively and to achieve improvement in patient satisfaction.

Were there any challenges that you faced during your course and how did you overcome them?

I was pregnant with my first child during the second year of the degree programme and I was suffering from severe backaches from my sixth month of pregnancy right up to my delivery date. I had to juggle between work, studying and coping with pregnancy. At the same time, I was trying to score distinctions for all my modules. With the strong support from my family and supervisor, I managed to juggle my time to better manage my studies during this trying period.

What was your most memorable experience while studying?

After completing my degree programme, I was awarded the Health Sciences Postgraduate Scholarship by SIM to pursue my master’s programme. This achievement motivated me to do well in my studies and I was able to implement a research project at SGH on dysphagia screening. I was awarded the ‘Best Oral Paper’ award and the research project was published by the hospital then.

What has been your proudest achievement as a nurse?

I am grateful for being given the opportunity to lead a big team of next-generation nursing leaders.  I have had many proud moments and they are when these leaders that I have mentored and nurtured are recognised and promoted for their hard work. Together with my team, we have led many initiatives to transform the quality of care that we provide to our patients.

What motivates you to stay driven in this challenging profession?

Helping others and empowering people keep me motivated.

What has been your most memorable experience as a nurse?

Working as an ICU nurse, some of the most memorable experiences are being by the bedside of patients during their final moments. Just being there, can be meaningful for them as it gives them peace. That is also special to me.

Tell us something interesting about the nursing profession.

Nurses walk a lot when they are on duty. A nurse can walk up to six to eight kilometres on a day shift and three to four kilometres on a night shift.

What is your advice to aspiring nurses?

Be gentle and patient with yourselves as learning and gaining experiences take time and effort! To all aspiring nurses, never stop learning!

#IChoseTheSIMPathway #ThisIsMyStory

2019 marks 25 years of partnership between SIM and the University of Sydney, a notable milestone in the face of the ever-changing landscape of healthcare globally. Click here to learn more about the Bachelor of Nursing (Post-Registration)/ (Honours) programmes awarded by The University of Sydney.

*The Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) and Master of Health Science (Management) programmes are no longer offered at SIM

Posted online, 10 Jul 2019