To meet the ever-changing demands of the healthcare industry, it’s more crucial than ever for nurses to invest in upskilling for a more rewarding career
By Gel Cabotaje
Amid Singapore’s rapidly ageing population and the evolving Covid-19 situation, the role of nurses has never been more important.
To aid in the professional development of nurses in Singapore, the Ministry of Health plans to focus on upskilling the workforce to meet the changing needs in healthcare and expressed its commitment to support nursing productivity through automation and technology adoption and streamlining of work processes.
The nursing industry here has seen dynamic advancements over the past few years, such as delivering care via telemedicine and providing training to produce speciality nurses.
“Advances in healthcare have helped increase life expectancy while raising expectations about access to quality healthcare. This has been a rising trend over the past decade, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made people even more conscious about their health,” says Dr Susie Khoo, chief executive officer of Ngee Ann Academy, a leading provider of nursing programmes in Singapore.
Dr Khoo sees further education as essential for nurses to address the increase in demand for quality healthcare. “Our partner university, King’s College London, invests heavily in its health professions education to ensure it remains responsive to shifting demands,” she adds.
The benefits of upskilling
Armed with a Diploma in Nursing from Nanyang Polytechnic, Mr Ng Yong Xiang is more than equipped for his job as a senior staff nurse at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). But the 31-year-old wanted to go beyond that and enrolled in a part-time Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Honours (Top-up) programme through Ngee Ann Academy in 2019.
He says the programme’s leadership module in particular has helped him apply various leadership styles to efficiently manage and assist his fellow nurses, especially during difficult times at work. His elective module, which focuses on fundamental knowledge and skills in caring for the elderly, also improved his work in the orthopaedic department, where he has been assigned since 2012.
“I am now better able to understand, assist and nurse patients, many of whom are elderly, more holistically,” says Mr Ng, whose studies are sponsored by SGH.
A constantly evolving landscape
In an analysis of the future of nursing, the medical trade journal BMJ stresses the need to reposition the profession for the post-pandemic era. It highlights the importance of investing in nurses’ education, jobs and leadership to secure the safety of citizens around the world.
Dr Khoo reflects the same sentiment: “The roles of healthcare workers and nurses are constantly evolving as a response to changing patient demographics and technologies in the healthcare sector. The current trends, particularly with Covid-19, are accelerating the need to enhance skills. It is therefore essential that healthcare professionals continuously educate themselves to remain relevant and responsive to shifting demands.”
A full version of the story was published in The Sunday Times on 1 August as below.