Vivienne Lim Ai Hian
Bachelor of Nursing

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How old were you when you embarked on this programme?

I was 44 years old when I enrolled for the Bachelor of Nursing programme offered by the University of Adelaide (UoA) through Ngee Ann-Adelaide (NAA) Education Centre in 2014.

What made you decide to do this particular programme at this particular school?

The University of Adelaide is consistently ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide. One of Australia’s most prestigious universities, the State University is also a member of the Group of Eight which is a coalition of Australia’s leading research universities.

The Bachelor of Nursing programme offered by UoA was awarded a highest score of “5” in the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) process in 2010, where it was also one of the only three Nursing Departments in Australia to be awarded the top score. The programme was again awarded the same accolade in 2012.

The programme structure consisting of assignments, presentations and project work, offered at a centrally-located campus, plus the fact that the lectures and tutorials fit well into my work schedule, draw me greatly into pursuing my education with NAA. Accredited by the Singapore Nursing Board (SNB), the programme is specially catered for practising nurses in Singapore who are registered with SNB and qualified with a nursing diploma.

Amongst the 8 modules that are available, I find the topics covered in Foundations of Nursing Practice and Knowledge Translation in Nursing to be very interesting, such as the potential impact of genomics and regenerative medicine on nursing practice issues and culturally competent health care that is pertinent working in the transplant unit as well as processes involved in research and evidenced-based nursing.

Briefly tell us what is this particular programme you enrolled in all about?

The optimal lecturer-student ratio for each class allows personalised coaching and facilitates discussions as well as encourages opportunities for students to learn from each other. My classmates are made up of students from multi-nursing disciplines and possess wide varying years of experience.

Lecturers are specially flown in from the Adelaide campus to conduct classes and to provide one-on-one guidance to the students for their assignments and clarifications on areas of improvements. Students at NAA undergo the same curriculum, receive the same sets of lecture notes and sit for the same examinations as those over at the University in Adelaide.

How long is the whole programme duration? Do share with us what your schedule is like when you were on the programme?

A two-year programme, we were given flexibility to choose which modules we wish to sign up for in each semester. The consultant in-charge of the programme at NAA was very helpful and provided us with examples of what modules to take up in each semester. Classes commenced at 6pm on weekdays with lectures conducted in the morning on weekends. This arrangement suits my work schedule well as I am then able to attend classes.

Why did you choose this school’s programme as opposed to so many other similar programmes out there?

The schedule of lectures and tutorials suit my work schedule well which allows me to attend the classes. The optimal class size and lecturer-student ratio provided opportunities for many fruitful discussions and sharing of valuable experiences. The University also provided optional additional classes to help better prepare students in the course of the programme such as how they can avoid plagiarism in their report writing, summarising a report, etc.

Is the programme flexible in catering to your individual needs? For example, are the modules flexible or it’s basically one-course-fits-all, take it or leave it?

The programme was flexible in that we were able to choose which module we would like to take up for each semester.

In your opinion, what are the most interesting modules you have studied so? And why? What do you love most about your learning experience so far?

Knowledge Translation in Nursing stands out the most for me. It covers processes involved in research and evidenced-based nursing. We had strong support and guidance from our lecturer, Ms Tiffany Conroy and tutor, Dr Emily Ang on the actual process of a writing a research proposal.

Foundations of Nursing Practice covered topics on culturally competent health care, giving the students additional insights to the values and needs of the culturally diverse patients. This is relevant as we get to care for patients hailing from various countries in the private healthcare sectors.

Genomics and regenerative medicine (stem cell technology) is a topic unique in this programme. It generates awareness on issues to consider and its potential impact on nursing practice, especially on working in a transplant unit. Overall, the programme has been an insightful learning experience, which challenges me to consider other points of views and has made me more inquisitive to desire to explore further when searching for information.

Do you work as well as study?

I am currently a senior nurse educator at Gleneagles Hospital, a private tertiary acute care hospital.

How has the programme helped you in your current job and career?

The programme has helped me adopt best practices and incorporate evidence-based practice in nursing care and continuing nursing education programmes.

What are the biggest challenges you faced while studying-working? How were you able to overcome the challenge?

One of my biggest challenges faced while working full-time and studying on a part-time basis, is seeking to strike the best balance of the two. In addition to the support and encouragement from my husband, I was also able to apply for official leave from work to complete my assignments whenever I needed to. Gleneagles hospital allows nurses who are pursuing their degree to apply for examination leave when necessary.

Would you recommend the programme to others, and why?

Yes, I would definitely recommend this programme to others. The structure of the courses encourages and facilitates class and group discussions and provides opportunities for students to learn not only from the lecturers and tutors but also from fellow course mates. The additional learning guides also help prepare students better cope in the course of program.

Who do you think this programme is best suited for?

Practicing nurses in Singapore who are registered with SNB and qualified with a nursing diploma, who are interested to further their education with a nursing degree.

Approximately how much did you pay for your programme?

(Did you have any financial support from the school? Pls elaborate)

The cost for the full programme is about $ 21,000 for 8 courses. I was fortunate to be a recipient of the bond-free Ngee Ann Kongsi Scholarship.

What would you say to others who are hesitant about investing in further education? Do you think it is worth the investment? Why?

Most hospitals encourage nurses to pursue a higher nursing qualification to upgrade themselves and for continuing nursing education. The further education would also serve as a stepping stone for nurses who plan to continue establishing their career in nursing and/or to move up the corporate ladder.

Do you feel there is a strong alumni / student-teacher mentoring support at your school? Why, or why not?

We receive strong support and guidance from our lecturers and tutors whenever we need some mentoring or guidance.

Do you feel positive about your aspirations upon graduation? Why, or why not?

Yes, after graduation, I hope to continue my pursuit of high education – a Master degree in Education which is also offered by UoA through NAA.