Nurses to get more professional development opportunities

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong noted that Singapore's nursing workforce grew by 17 per cent between 2013 and 2018. There were around 42,000 nurses as of last year. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - There will be more avenues for nurses here to expand their skills and knowledge with two new courses launched on Wednesday (July 17).

A three-year part-time Bachelor of Science (Nursing Practice) degree and a course for enrolled nurses to obtain a Certification of Competency in Administration of Medication were launched by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Nurses' Merit Award ceremony.

Mr Gan noted that Singapore's nursing workforce grew by 17 per cent between 2013 and 2018. There were around 42,000 nurses as of last year.

Nursing intakes have also been increasing over the same period, from over 1,600 in 2013 to a bumper crop of more than 2,100 last year.

"We will grow our nursing workforce in a few ways - by creating more opportunities for you to upgrade yourselves in emerging skills and competencies, encouraging professional development throughout your nursing careers, and making nursing a career of choice for both students as well as mid-career professionals," said Mr Gan.

The Nursing Practice degree is offered by the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies at the National University of Singapore, the first time a local university is offering the part-time programme.

It is for registered nurses with at least one year of work experience and who have a Diploma in Nursing from Nanyang Polytechnic or Ngee Ann Polytechnic. It will start in August.

The Certification of Competency in Administration of Medication will equip enrolled nurses with pharmacological knowledge to administer prescribed medication to patients, while being supervised by a registered nurse.

The 120-hour course covers topics such as medication administration management and smart solutions and technologies, and is for nurses with at least two years of work experience who are enrolled with the Singapore Nursing Board and have a valid practising certificate.

The first batch of 19 nurses were enrolled in the course run by the Institute of Technical Education College East on July 11 this year.

At the ceremony held at Concorde Hotel Singapore, 101 nurses from sectors like community care, private hospitals and public healthcare institutions received awards in recognition of their exceptional performance and contribution to raising the nursing profession.

One of the recipients was senior nurse clinician Stella Goh, 44. She practices palliative care at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

Her job involves caring for patients nearing death but she also spends her weekends volunteering with other patient support groups.

"Hopefully I'm able to help them (the patient's family members) pull through this hard journey and they're able to live on and carry the patient's legacy with them," said Ms Goh, who has won other awards like the Humanitarian Award and the Service with a Heart Award.

Another recipient was 59-year-old Albert Ho, whose 34-year career has spanned milestones like pioneering the set up of the operating theatre at the National University Hospital and increasing the operating theatre's turnaround efficiency by remodelling the manpower allocation.

"I feel great (winning the award) that they have recognised whatever I've done all these years," said the nurse manager, who also planned a smart inventory management system that helped the hospital save up to $100,000.

The nurses were nominated for the award, which started in 1976, by their healthcare institutions and selected by a panel set up by the Ministry of Health.

Each award recipient was presented with a medal, to be worn as part of the nurses' uniform, and a cash award of $1,000, which can be put towards their professional and personal development and learning.

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