Nurse of the Year - 2012

Yuk-King “Betty” Kong-Lee, R.N.- Nurse of the Year at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens

Five hours after the birth of her first baby Crystal Wu looked great and felt great. When she had arrived at the hospital that morning, she was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. She had delivered her 8 lb, 2 oz. son at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens without any pain medications.

The new mother gives a lot of credit to one woman for getting her through the birthing process — the 2012 Nurse of the Year for NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, Yuk-King Kong-Lee, R.N.

She had met Ms. Kong-Lee as her instructor weeks earlier at a childbirth preparation class. “I’m so glad that I learned the breathing techniques she taught in that class,” said Ms. Wu about nurse Kong-Lee. “Otherwise, childbirth would have been much harder. She was great. She prepared us (including her husband) for what we needed to know. I am so grateful for her.”
   Yuk-King “Betty” Kong-Lee, R.N.

Ms. Kong-Lee has been a Labor/Delivery nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens for nearly 25 years. For the past seven years she has taught childbirth preparation classes in Mandarin and Cantonese at the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades (CCHC) Mission Center in Flushing. She teaches six classes a year attended by 60 couples. Also, she hosts tours at NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens in Mandarin and Cantonese for expectant couples and their families. The tour covers what to expect about labor, delivery and recovery as well as provides an orientation of the labor and delivery area and post-delivery, mother/baby unit. Ms. Kong-Lee does all this in her spare time and she does not accept a fee for her services.

“For Chinese patients who come here, not knowing any English, not knowing what to expect from childbirth, it can be very scary,” said Ms. Kong-Lee. “I think that when couples get proper guidance in advance, they can be well prepared and less stressed. It makes delivery easier for the doctor, the mother and the baby.”

Ms. Kong-Lee also teaches how to integrate Chinese cultural traditions with Western medicine. She helps dispel myths about breastfeeding, post-birth bathing and post-partum depression. She also involves fathers in the childbirth process by teaching them how to participate in pre-natal massage, breathing and relaxation techniques.

Ms. Kong-Lee serves as a preceptor and mentor for new nurses on the Labor/Delivery Unit. She is a certified Perinatal Childbirth Educator and is a certified medical language interpreter. She earned her nursing degree from Hunter Nursing College.

“We cannot say enough about Ms. Kong-Lee’s work ethic,” said Michaelle Williams, R.N., chief nursing officer and senior vice president, Patient Care Services. “Her academic strength, leadership skills and her community involvement speak volumes of her strong moral fiber, character and integrity. Our patients consistently comment on her kindness, compassion and the assistance that she provides. We are proud that she was selected as our hospital’s Nurse of the Year.”

And, as if preparing mothers and fathers for the start of a new life wasn’t enough, Ms. Kong-Lee also teaches classes once a month at her church in Chinatown, Manhattan, to senior citizens about living a healthy lifestyle in the later years of life, including healthy nutrition, exercise and preventing health problems.

“It’s great to see my patients or people from my classes walking down the street. They remember me, say ‘hello’ and sometimes offer me gifts because I helped them,” said Ms. Kong-Lee. “I tell them, ‘No, that’s not necessary. It means more to me to know that I was able to help you and make a difference in your life’.”


Ms. Kong-Lee with patients, Crystal Wu and Bill Lu, new parents to five-hours-old JinSean Lu (not pictured).

The patient and her husband granted written permission, in accordance with HIPAA regulations, to use their names, photo and information for this testimonial.

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