A steadily growing elderly population is a trend observed not only in Asian countries such as in Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong, but all over the world.
And in acknowledgment of this issue, many governments have set legislations to better support this vulnerable population as well as those who provide direct and immediate care for them.
Ministry Considers Shorter Diploma, Vows Better Support for Nursing Graduates
Beginning this year, enrolled nurses who had exemplary performance during their Institute of Technical Education (ITE) training can apply for a shorter diploma programme to become registered nurses, as shared in a report by the Straits Times.
The new programme, called 2+2 Diploma in Nursing will allow enrolled nurses to graduate in two years’ time instead of 2.5 years.
The programme, as per the Health Ministry, will be offered at Nanyang Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic to ITE graduates with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5.
The initiative is in response to the growing demand for nurses, as noted in recent years. According to Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, the number of registered nurses has steadily risen over the years. He noted that from 29,340 in 2010, the number has gone up to 42,215 last year.
Furthermore, there has been a notable increase in those who join the profession mid-career, citing around 130 individuals enrolling in Healthcare Professional Conversion Programmes in 2018, the highest intake during the last decade.
At present, there are a number of healthcare providers offering in-house training programmes, but these are often not credited or recognized across different institutions, explained Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor at the Parliament session last March 6.
Dr Khor added that by setting up the National Nursing Academy (NNA) under the Ministry of Health, there will be continuous learning and support for nurses across healthcare institutions, schools and training providers.
The organization will serve as a virtual network for nursing professionals, and oversee continuing education and training efforts, as well as provide an online platform for nurses to access courses and other learning opportunities.
Dr Khor explained that as the NNA will accredit and reinforce the quality of workplace-based training, many nurses and healthcare practitioners will benefit from its dedicated efforts to the profession.