The station was named after the popular weekly Novena devotion sessions held at the nearby CatholicChurch of Saint Alphonsus or more popularly known as the Novena Church. The term "Novena" is derived from the Latin word "Novem" which means nine, and which refers to prayers said for nine consecutive days.
One of the station's distinctive features in the past was its bright green wall tiles, but as falling tiles were a problem, they had to be replaced with a layer of plastic and paint of the same colour. The station was completely refurbished in 2008.
A : Ministry of Home Affairs, Ren Ci Hospital & Medicare Centre, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National Neuroscience Institute
B : National Skin Centre, Bus Stops, Thomson Medical Centre, Goldhill Centre, United Square, Novena Church, Velocity@Novena Square, Taxis, Hca Hospice Care, Novena Square, Thomson Rd / Moulmein Rd, Communicable Disease Centre, Hotel Royal, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, Dover Park Hospice