The National University Health System (NUHS) is an integrated Academic Health System and Regional Health System that delivers value-driven, innovative, and sustainable healthcare in Singapore. NUHS scholarships serve to develop skilled healthcare professionals of good character through holistic education.
Charmaine Bay is a 25-year-old NUHS scholar in her final year at the NUS Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies. We find out what motivates her towards a nursing degree.
What made you decide to go into nursing?
I have always wanted to be a nurse. I have travelled to several third-world countries to help build churches since I was 11. During those trips, I saw that the locals lacked access to even basic healthcare and that built a desire in me to make a difference.
I have never been keen on a deskbound job. I prefer a profession whereby I can see the fruits of what I have been studying and be able to apply the knowledge that I acquire. I decided that nursing was the best fit for my goals and character.
Healthcare Merit Award
Bachelor of Science (Nursing) – Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies
National University of Singapore (NUS)
What was your motivation in applying for the Healthcare Merit Award?
Besides helping me financially, the scholarship helps me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. I come from a big family and had to work part-time to support myself when I was in the polytechnic. I decided that I should try to get a scholarship for university so that I can focus on my studies and ultimately fulfil my dream of helping others by becoming a nurse.
What are some of the valuable experiences you’ve acquired through this scholarship?
MOH Holdings funds NUS exchange summer programmes, which give students exposure in different hospitals overseas. I was sent on a fully-paid overseas community involvement project to Nepal with other healthcare professionals. The experience was very fulfilling as it gave me many new insights and I learnt a lot. It also allowed me to assist people without easy access to medical care. I love the feeling of being able to step forward to help a stranger with the knowledge I acquired in school. The experience is priceless and it reminds me of why I chose nursing.
I also enjoyed working with my fellow scholars on our trip, discussing how our efforts could be made sustainable. We did not want to just do what we could there and then, pat ourselves on the back and leave; we wanted to equip the community with the know-how they needed to upkeep basic healthcare.
How do you think your scholarship is preparing you to succeed in the future?
The scholarship training has taught me to be a critical thinker and leader. Under the scholarship, I have been sent for leadership programmes, induction programmes and workshops. As ironic as it sounds, being a nursing scholar has shown me that studies are not everything.
For a scholar, there is pressure to excel. When people know that I am a scholar, they tend to have greater expectations. But I found that I could harness that pressure to ignite a fire and fuel my passion for nursing.
What do you hope to do once you’ve graduated?
It will be an honour to help build Singapore’s healthcare landscape. The standard that we have is amazing but it can always be better. I will be working at Alexandra Hospital, which aims to deliver holistic and integrated care as well as innovative practices.
In the long run, I wish to be active in missionary nursing work. I hope to travel to different third-world countries and use my nursing skills to help those in need, and ultimately make a difference.
Any words of wisdom for those planning to apply for the Healthcare Merit Award?
Firstly, know what you want to do in life and stick to that goal. Nursing might sound good, but there are pros and cons, and it is not a bed of roses. You need to be certain why you want to go into nursing and why you want the scholarship, so that you can keep the resolve in your heart when the going gets tough.
Secondly, if you never try, you will never know. I was in the Normal (Technical) stream when I was younger. I never thought that I was “smart” enough to be a scholar. I felt that the dream was out of my reach. But with encouragement, I decided to fight for it and here I am, pursuing my goal in life. So my advice is: if you really want it, fight for it. The worst is not getting rejected; it is not even trying and never knowing if you could have achieved what you wanted if you had just tried.