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She wants to be a nurse educator in the future to share knowledge and skills

Photo Caption: While she was a staff nurse, Ms Alina Tan took up the sponsorship at the National Kidney Foundation to pursue a Specialist Diploma in Nursing (Renal Dialysis Management) so that she can be better prepared to assess patients’ needs while making accurate evaluations of dialysis treatments.

By Goh Hwee Koon

While nephrologists regularly monitor patients with kidney failure at community-based dialysis centres, they are not stationed there every day. It is the nurses who oversee dialysis for patients and work with nephrologists via teleconsultations or phone to ensure patient care is not compromised. 

These nurses play a pivotal role as they have to make swift clinical judgment for patients when the need arises, says Ms Alina Tan, 30, a staff nurse and clinical instructor at the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). 

Many people think that nurses merely perform routine tasks and do not have to employ much critical thinking in their jobs, she adds.

She explains: “Nursing entails clinical knowledge and skills while encompassing the building of human connections, empathetic communication and compassion. Nurses are given more autonomy pertaining to clinical care than before, and are regarded as an integral part of the healthcare team.” 

Beyond the vital support and treatment of medical conditions, community nurses also provide extended caregiving services that include continued assessment and timely interventions to improve personal well-being outcomes and inculcate long-term health behaviours.  

To offer comprehensive and holistic care, nurses also work closely with other healthcare professionals – including nephrologists, medical social workers, clinical psychologists, dieticians, therapists and exercise specialists – so that patients can live well despite being on dialysis.       

The number of people whose kidneys fail each year has risen significantly, due to high rate of diabetes in Singapore and its rapidly ageing population.

With an increasing rate of chronic diseases, the country will need more community nurses who are not only deployed at nursing posts in neighbourhoods, community hospitals and nursing homes, but who can also provide home care services to the elderly.

 

NURSING WITH A FOCUS ON RENAL DIALYSIS MANAGEMENT      

Ms Tan’s nursing career began when she joined JurongHealth Campus which was then situated at Alexandra Hospital. She worked in a geriatric ward as a staff nurse after graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) Degree from the National University of Singapore in 2013. Soon after, she relocated to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital where she rose in seniority in the medical-surgical ward.

Ms Tan joined NKF in 2017 and received staff sponsorship three years later to pursue a Specialist Diploma in Renal Dialysis Management at Nanyang Polytechnic. This sponsorship is only offered in NKF as part of staff development to prepare them to better assess patients’ needs, provide care and make accurate evaluations of dialysis treatments.  

She decided on the programme as she wanted to keep up with the changing role of nurses as they deal with more complex medical and psychosocial needs of an ageing population. She was also motivated by NKF’s culture of nurturing core values and opportunities for lifelong learning which are crucial for growth.

 

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION OF NURSES      

It was only after completing the part-time programme last year that Ms Tan transferred to NKF’s training department under Nursing Services to take on the role of a clinical instructor. 

Her current work involves guiding students on clinical placements, helping nurses to develop their inquiry mindset and analytical skills, and coordinating with the clinical educator to implement educational programmes.

She aims to be a nurse educator in the future so she can share her knowledge and skills
with aspiring nurses.

“Seeing patients on a regular basis as a community nurse allows me to build rapport with them over time,” she says. “I realise that a simple conversation can help uplift their mood when they come for their dialysis sessions. By incorporating words of encouragement in our daily conversations, we can motivate them to live life with optimism and positivity.” 

Ms Tan feels the pandemic has opened up more doors for healthcare providers, including nurses. 

“Thanks to the heightened recognition of healthcare workers, there will be greater opportunities for growth in the future,” she says.

Visit https://www.healthcarescholarships.sg/scholarships/undergraduate/community-nursing-scholarship for more information about the Community Nursing Scholarship.

 

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