New scholarship to train nurses in community care launched

From left: Ms Tan Meng Guek, Mr Richard Low and Ms Ivy Tay at the launch of a new Community Nursing Scholarship on July 7, 2017.
From left: Ms Tan Meng Guek, Mr Richard Low and Ms Ivy Tay at the launch of a new Community Nursing Scholarship on July 7, 2017. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) is launching applications for a new Community Nursing Scholarship, that aims to build nursing leaders in community care.

Community healthcare can take place in people's homes and nursing homes, instead of hospitals, for instance.

MOH is offering the scholarship for O- and A-level students, existing nursing students and in-service nurses pursuing degree studies.

The scholarship was announced by Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong on Friday (July 7) at the Nurses' Merit Award ceremony, where 100 nurses were recognised for their contributions to healthcare.

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Mr Gan said that going forward, Singapore needs to transform care delivery to meet the needs of a fast ageing population. Part of this transformation involves strengthening community-based care to enable senior citizens to age well in the community, he added.

"We want to develop community nursing as a strong career track to underpin our care transformation to bring care beyond hospital to community," he said.

He also said that the intake for local nursing training programmes has increased by 20 per cent between 2014 and 2016 and this is projected to increase by another 4 per cent this year (2017).

The new Community Nursing Scholarship will be given to 20 students and nurses each year. It involves a year-long development programme which consists of six months in an acute hospital and six months in community settings.

For Ms Tan Meng Guek, 53, assistant director of nursing, quality management and social services at Econ Healthcare, the newly launched scholarship is important in making community healthcare a more attractive sector to young nurses.

"Acute hospitals are seen as more glamorous. Young nurses often think that community healthcare is dull and for older nurses," she said. "But I hope they can see that this sector is really challenging, interesting and very fulfilling."

Applications for the 2017 intake of the Community Nursing Scholarship can be made through the BrightSparks portal from Friday to Aug 14.