Nursing in the New Age |

Amanda Tan, Senior Staff Nurse at SKH

As Singapore grapples with the complexities of an ageing population and increasing health challenges, nurses emerge as frontline caregivers, playing a crucial role in providing compassionate and specialised care to individuals across diverse healthcare settings. Their expertise not only contributes to the well-being of patients but also serves as a cornerstone in addressing the evolving healthcare needs of the community. In this dynamic healthcare environment, the significance of nurses in Singapore extends beyond traditional caregiving, encompassing leadership, innovation, and a commitment to promoting a healthier nation.

Within this framework, Amanda Tan Wan Er emerges as a beacon of compassion and expertise, embodying the qualities that define nurses’ indispensable role in serving the community. She joined Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) in 2017 and is currently a Senior Staff Nurse (SSN) as well as a Senior Clinical Instructor (SCI).

With Amanda’s specialisation in gerontology – the study of ageing processes and individuals across the life course – she weaves a compassionate and vital thread that contributes to the nation’s commitment to the well-being of its ageing population. Furthermore, in her role as an SCI, she also offers valuable guidance and serves as a preceptor, or teacher, for junior nurses. 

The road to nursing

Amanda’s aspiration to become a nurse was ignited during her formative years. “When I was admitted to the hospital as a kid, I remember being well taken care of by one of the nurses. Although I can no longer remember her name or what she looked like, I will always remember how she made me feel. That inspired me to be a nurse,” she says.

From a young age, Amanda has consistently displayed a natural inclination towards caring for others in need. One notable instance is her fond memory of assisting her late grandmother. 

I remember vividly that I loved to sit by her side and help prepare her medications,” recalls Amanda. This early experience not only fostered a deep connection with caregiving but also planted the seeds of inspiration that would later lead her to pursue a career in nursing with a specialisation in gerontology.

Her inspiration took flight when she enrolled at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) in 2015, where she was part of the pioneer nursing programme offered by the University of Manchester.

One of the key moments during my time at SIT was the Overseas Immersion Programme in Manchester, United Kingdom (UK). During the programme, I experienced the UK healthcare system first-hand and observed the differences in the nurse-patient and nurse-doctor dynamics between the UK and Singapore,” said Amanda.

Amanda commenced her nursing career at SKH upon graduation, and she has been dedicated to her role there ever since. A standout experience in her career was when she encountered a patient who was blind and deaf. The medical team relied on a medical social worker who knew tactile signing to communicate with the patient. Inspired by this, Amanda decided to learn tactile signing. “This encounter taught me the importance of being able to communicate with your patients,” Amanda reminisces, highlighting her enjoyment of challenges in her role.

Amanda Tan, Senior Staff Nurse at SKH. Photo credit: SKH

Changes in the healthcare industry

Since Amanda entered the healthcare sector, there’s been a notable shift towards community-focused care. Today, nurses play a crucial role in the nation’s Healthier SG strategy, guiding patients on illness to well-being and sustaining their health, ultimately reducing hospitalisation by promoting a healthier lifestyle among Singaporeans.

With Singapore’s technological advancements, integrating technology into nursing practice is crucial to improving overall efficiency in healthcare delivery. For example, nurses can now efficiently manage patient data with technologies like Electronic Medical Record (EMR), reducing their workload. Developing skills in data analytics will enable nurses to explore new and improved ways of patient care using the available data.

There’s always an emphasis on continuous learning alongside technological advancements. There’s never a dull moment in healthcare,” says Amanda. 

As an SCI at SKH, Amanda guides and assesses nursing students, trainees, and new staff. She also dedicates herself to customising her clinical teaching to their varying levels of expertise. Her diverse engagement not only contributes to the growth of healthcare professionals but also showcases the diverse career avenues available for nurses.

Specialised nursing is vital

With Singapore facing increasingly complex health challenges, it is crucial to prioritise the education and training of specialist nurses who can navigate and implement advanced healthcare practices. 

To address the increasing need for specialist nurses, SIT has taken a pioneering step as the first autonomous university in Singapore to introduce a comprehensive 5-year Bachelor’s to Master’s degree pathway. Designed to groom future nursing leaders, this programme is crafted to meet escalating healthcare challenges.

This 3+2-year Integrated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programme for pre-registered nurses seamlessly integrates three years of bachelor’s-level study with an additional two years of master’s-level study. Graduates will be awarded two degrees: Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing.

Developed in collaboration with SingHealth, the BSN-MSN programme ensures hands-on experience by combining on-campus modules and clinical residencies in the BSN phase. The subsequent MSN phase adopts a work-study approach, enabling nurses to practise in a clinical setting while receiving specialised training. This streamlined pathway shortens the qualification time for specialties like medical/surgical, high acuity care, perioperative, and community care. 

Additionally, the programme integrates digital technology, empowering student nurses to navigate innovative care pathways and stay current with evolving healthcare roles.

Students of BSN-MSN will gain practical training, participate in faculty-driven research and innovation projects, and access opportunities for development, sponsorships, and potential employment with SingHealth.

Join a community of dedicated professionals

While nursing can pose challenges, cultivating resilience and navigating adversities is instrumental in succeeding and thriving in this meaningful profession. As Amanda puts it: “It’s not going to be an easy journey, but it’s a worthy one. Don’t forget that nursing has always been about working as a team; don’t be afraid to ask for help, and always help others in need.”

Find out how you can embark on your transformative journey in nursing with SIT’s BSN-MSN programme, which is now accepting admissions for the academic year 2024 till 19 March 2024, by visiting SIT’s website.