A PROPHET IS NEVER RECOGNISED IN HIS OWN COUNTRY
THE BEGINNING OF HER JOURNEY A young nurse went to Singapore about 30 years ago, in pursuit of her dream, a dream that nurses should be given recognition as true professionals for their contributions to the health system.
A REALITY SHOCK She took up a position to plan and commission a private hospital. Her dream turned into a nightmare when she found out that nurses came under the category of “skilled worker”, only people with degree were considered professionals.
ARE NURSES PROFESSIONALS OR WORKERS? As nurses, we may think that we are professionals but how do other people see us, merely workers?
WORK AND CAREER Played a major role in the planning and commissioning of Mt Elizabeth Hospital. - Set up the first open heart surgery centre in the private sector. Planned and set up the first stand alone Ambulatory Centre. Pioneer in Quality Improvement Movement - Set up the first hospital Quality Assurance program.
1982 - Joined SNA to have a better understanding of Nursing in Singapore. 1986 – Elected into Executive Council and Founded the Operating Room Nurses Chapter 1988 – Elected President of SNA till 2004 2004 – Executive Director of SNA WORKING WITH SINGAPORE NURSES ASSOCIATION (SNA)
FOCUS ON TWO AREAS: Upgrade Nursing Education Strengthen Nursing Leadership CHALLENGES
NURSING EDUCATION IS SINGAPORE Singapore may be very advance in many fields, but nursing education is one of the most backward in the region. The Government policy during that time was that it was not necessary for nurses to have degrees as it would lead to higher healthcare cost.
NURSING EDUCATION IS SINGAPORE Before 1992, there was only one School of Nursing providing hospital-based Certificate program. 1992 – Diploma of Nursing program started at Nanyang Polytechnic 2003 – Master of Nursing program in NUS 2006 – Bachelor of Nursing program in NUS 2007 – Diploma of Nursing program in Ngee An Polytechnic 2007 – Accreditation by SNB for bridging BSN by foreign universities
DO NURSES HAVE In the nineties, Singapore health system went through massive restructuring and nurses in leadership positions needed to be prepared for their new and expanded roles. A survey was conducted and the findings showed that the majority of nurse managers were very poor in financial skill, strategic planning skill and policy development. NURSING LEADERSHIP
The decentralisation of hospitals and other health services placed greater emphasis on accountability and performance management on the individual organisation. This resulted in increased competition among healthcare organisations. The competition created an environment of suspicion and this resulted in fragmentation of the nursing profession as nurse managers were afraid to share with fellow nursing colleagues from other healthcare organisations.
In 1998, SNA organised a two-day workshop on Strategic Thinking & Planning for nurse leaders. The workshop was conducted by ICN Consultant and the group developed the Vision for Nursing In 2000, SNA organised the ICN Leadership for Change (LFC) program for 40 middle nurse managers. In 2004, SNA organised the Train the Trainer course for 12 LFC graduates. In 2005, SNA was licensed by ICN to conduct LFC programs. NURSING LEADERSHIP
DO NURSES HAVE Nursing will be an autonomous and united profession, recognised and valued for its leadership in providing quality care and as key players in influencing policy and decisions VISION FOR NURSING IN SINGAPORE
It is very important to develop strong local networks, to collaborate, share ideas and learn from others. Get to know other senior nurse leaders and officials from different Government Ministries. Work closely with the media, the journalists need you and you need the journalists. Get to know politicians and women leaders from women organisations. NETWORKING - LOCAL
Attending international meetings and conferences is a good opportunity for learning from others, for example, ICN Congress. Do not just stick to your own friends or group, interact with participants from other countries. Keep particulars of contacts and stay connected, in case you may need information or assistance from them in future. NETWORKING - INTERNATIONAL
NURSING IN POLITICS Although most of us are not comfortable with politics, it is essential that nurses learn how to exert political influence. Nurses have the expertise and knowledge of the health service and should use the information to influence changes in health policies. Learn to understand the power of our roles and educate the public and other health professionals on the value of nursing.
CONCLUSION Singapore is a small country with approx 30 miles of land across the country. It has taken 30 years for the nurse to travel through Singapore to pursue her dream. Her struggles and actions were often misunderstood by people. She can see a small light in the tunnel and hopes the current and future nurse leaders in Singapore will take over her dream, to make the vision for nursing a reality. POST-OPERATIVE PHASE