The number of healthcare scholarship applications received this year has more than doubled compared to last year, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Healthcare Scholarship Award Ceremony on Wednesday (July 30). A record 283 healthcare scholarships were given out in 2014 - a 12 per cent increase from the number awarded in 2013. This is a strong affirmation of the growing awareness and interest in public healthcare careers among Singaporeans, said Mr Gan.
Key enhancements were made to the scholarship framework in 2013. These included the renaming of scholarships ( as Healthcare Merit Scholarship and Healthcare Merit Award for nursing, pharmacy and allied health professions) and the launch of a one stop scholarship portal for interested students to find out more about the opportunities available.
Mr Gan said such efforts contributed to the increased number of scholarship applications received, and emphasised the need to build a strong pipeline of talented individuals who can transform the public healthcare sector.
This is especially so as Singapore faces significant healthcare challenges with the rise in chronic conditions due to an ageing population.
Said Mr Gan: "We are stepping up efforts to enhance the attractiveness of healthcare services to Singaporeans. A good example is the setting up of the National Nursing Taskforce. It will be announcing its recommendations soon on the future direction of nursing, particularly in the areas of role enhancements, education and professional development, career advancement and recognition."
Ms Victoria Teoh, who was awarded the Healthcare Merit Scholarship, said she was motivated to pursue nursing as she really wanted to walk with patients through their roads to recovery.
"I really wanted to be there with the patient every time they had any problems to just help the patient in whatever way I could, in any small capacity that I could, I just wanted to impact their lives," she said. - CNA/do