Ms. Irene Quah holds over 35 years of nursing experience in the healthcare industry, both in Malaysia and overseas (United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Singapore). She completed her General Nursing training in Essex, UK in 1978, and shortly after, worked as a surgical staff nurse in Oldchurch Hospital, Essex. Due to her interest in surgery, she then embarked upon her next career phase in Perioperative Nursing specialisation. In 1980 she completed her Perioperative Nursing course in King’s College, London and subsequently worked in King’s College Operating Theatres before returning to Malaysia in January 1985.
In 1985, she joined Mount Elizabeth Hospital Operating Theatres to gain more exposure within Southeast Asia. In May 1985, she was then recruited to join Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC) to assist with the commissioning of operating theatres. Ms. Quah was also amongst the pioneer staff to assist and complete the first open heart surgery in SJMC, the first private hospital in Malaysia to do so.
In 1995 she became a key member in implementing the liver transplant programme for SJMC Operating Theatres’ nurses and successfully completed the first living related liver transplant in a Malaysian private hospital.
In 1998 she completed her Master’s in Business Administration, a twinning program with the University of Wisconsin, as she ventured more into a management role. In 2002 she joined Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre Kuala Lumpur as the Director of Nursing until 2008, before being recruited back to SJMC as the Corporate Director of Nursing to standardise nursing practices across Ramsay Sime Darby (RSD) hospitals.
Perioperative Nursing is Ms. Quah’s passion – in 2001, with a team of six Perioperative Nurses, she formulated the Perioperative Nursing Guidelines for the Malaysian Nurses Association and was published as a reference for operating theatre nurses in Malaysia.
She was also a key member of the advisory team that assisted RSD hospitals in Malaysia with achieving accreditations from MSQH (Malaysian Society for Quality in Health), HICMR (Healthcare Infection Control Management Resources), and JCI (Joint Commission International).
Ms. Quah also holds invaluable experience with project design, including the planning and commissioning of healthcare facilities in Malaysia (Ara Damansara and Park City Medical Centre), Vietnam, Maldives, and Hong Kong. This also included the selection and implementation of the One Electronic Medical Record system across RSD hospitals – the first private healthcare group in Malaysia to implement a system whereby one medical record number is used per patient across all RSD hospitals.
She is also committed to raising the standards of nursing and has assumed numerous positions in the nursing sector, such as MSQH surveyor (2006 to current), Chairman of Nursing Chapter Association Private Hospital Malaysia (2018 to 2020), board member of RSD Allied & Nursing College (2015 to current), and member of Malaysia Nursing Board (2020). Ms. Quah has also presented lectures at local and international Nursing and Perioperative seminars, including in New Zealand and Hong Kong.