125 nurses were presented with the Nurses’ Merit Award (NMA) on 7 July 2021. The award recipients come from various care settings, spanning the community care sector, private hospitals and public healthcare institutions.
2. The NMA started in 1976 and is awarded to nurses who have displayed noteworthy and exceptional performance, participated in professional development, and contributed to raising the nursing profession. Nurses are nominated for the award by their healthcare institutions and selected by a panel set up by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
3. The award comes with a collar badge to be worn as part of the nurse’s uniform and a cash prize of $1,000. See Annex A for the list of award recipients.
Strengthening continued learning and professional development for nurses
4. As we continue to expand our healthcare sector, our nursing workforce continues to grow. As at end 2020, more than 42,000 nurses are registered with the Singapore Nursing Board (SNB). Over the years, MOH has put in place various initiatives and programmes to enhance the professional development opportunities and career advancement of our nurses. At the virtual award ceremony, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung elaborated further on these initiatives.
Developing Competency Frameworks
5. Following the launch of the Community Nursing Competency Framework (CNCF) last year, two other competency frameworks will be developed to meet the growing needs of the ageing population in Singapore – one for geriatric nursing, and another for palliative care nursing. The competency frameworks will serve as a guide for nurses and employers to identify skills gaps and pursue development opportunities.
National Nursing Academy
6. We are expanding the opportunities for continuous professional development, for our nurses. The National Nursing Academy (NNA) launched last year allows nurses to explore and attend training courses from other institutions, and facilitate portability of workplace-based training of nurses across institutions and settings. This would encourage collaboration amongst healthcare institutions, synergise efforts and reduce duplication.
7. As of April 2021, a total of 58 workplace-based and academic nursing Continuous Education and Training (CET) courses have been listed on the NNA website. Nurses can discuss with their supervisors to explore learning opportunities if they are keen to learn certain clinical skills and expand knowledge in areas they want to develop further.
8. The NNA also seeks to standardise curriculum requirements to share best practices and harmonise existing curricula at various institutions through the establishment of curricula blueprints. Currently, the blueprint for two core skills required of nurses working across different healthcare settings have been developed in consultation with healthcare institutions: 1) Intravenous Administration of Medications (IVAM), and 2) Venepuncture and Peripheral Intravenous Cannulation (VPIC). The curricula blueprints are accessible at https://www.nna.gov.sg/resources-tools/downloads.
9. In May 2021, the NNA completed its inaugural course accreditation, where JurongHealth Campus’s IVAM and VPIC courses were accredited. Courses that meet the NNA’s accreditation standards support the portability of acquired competencies across healthcare institutions. More courses will be accredited over time. To find out more about the course listings including the NNA-accredited courses, please visit https://www.nna.gov.sg/learning-nna.
Integrated Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) Internship Programme and APN faculty development
10. MOH will continue to strengthen training for Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs). The APN internship programme, which forms part of the training for APNs, undergoes regular reviews to ensure its training methods and curriculum delivery encourage optimal learning. This year, we will introduce a new Integrated APN Internship Programme (IAI), which will begin with the graduating cohort in August, to facilitate an early integration of Master of Nursing graduates to their respective areas of clinical practice.
11. In the new programme, the APN interns will be trained in a systematic and progressive method based on a blueprint and the use of Entrustable Professional Activities. These are key tasks that the APN intern can be trusted to perform once sufficient competence has been demonstrated at the workplace. Work-based assessments will then form the requirement towards the APN certification.
12. Interns who are progressing well will also have the option to enroll into the National Collaborative Prescribing Programme and graduate from the programme as a full-fledged APN with prescribing rights, to prescribe medication to patients within their scope of practice.
13. Traditionally, much of the APN teaching and training have been largely dependent on doctors. In preparation for the Integrated APN Internship programme, MOH has facilitated the progressive training and development of a faculty of APN Leads and Preceptors across healthcare institutions. As of May this year, 180 APNs have been trained as preceptors to provide clinical preceptorship and supervision to APN interns and students from the Master of Nursing programme. These APN Leads and Preceptors will co-precept with the doctors and be more involved in the teaching, supervision and assessment of the APN interns.
14. MOH will continue to develop the nursing profession by creating opportunities for nurses to upskill and enhance their professional development throughout their nursing careers.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
7 JULY 2021