Glass George Frederick Jr. received the Health Science Scholarship (now known as the Healthcare Merit Award) in 2008 to acquire a Bachelor of Adult Nursing (Honours) from the University of Edinburgh. In 2019, he pursued a Master of Science in Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology) from the University of Sydney, with the support of MOH In-Service Scholarship. George is now a Nurse Researcher at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
As the holding company of Singapore’s public healthcare clusters, MOH Holdings (MOHH) offers scholarships to develop healthcare talent and groom future leaders in this sector. Being passionate about nursing, George took up the Health Science Scholarship (now known as the Healthcare Merit Award) to obtain a degree in nursing. Not one to rest on his laurels, he pushed the boundaries seven years later to pursue a career in nursing research.
“I was always interested in helping others grow beyond their comfort zones, becoming stronger individuals,” said George. He decided upon a career in nursing after receiving his ‘A’ Level results as he wanted to equip and enable patients and residents in the community with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take charge of their health.
After completing his nursing undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh, George started his nursing career as a Registered Nurse in 2012 and never once looked back.
George is appreciative of his undergraduate nursing training as it had inculcated in him that “a well-trained nurse who is able to effectively explain his rationale of care is a fundamental ingredient towards a positive patient-nurse care relationship”.
Indeed, this has been a mantra that inspires him to always seek to understand how to continually improve healthcare in both the hospital and community.
Taking The Leap into Nursing Research
His nursing training was heavily focused on providing care for the elderly. Driven by the desire to deliver better care for elderly patients and to improve their health behaviours, he took the deep dive into nursing research.
“I realised that while there are many opportunities to bring improvements across healthcare systems, they need to be undergirded by a strong bed of research evidence, the findings of which can guide policymakers and decision-makers on the best road forward,” he said.
In 2019, he attained a Master of Science in Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology) from the University of Sydney through the MOH In-Service Scholarship. Now, he is relishing his role as a Nurse Researcher at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).
Through the programme, he was able to develop specialised research skills in quantitative research methodology and biostatistics. He was also able to utilize programming languages for statistical analysis such as R, Python and SAS.
For George, it is important that nurses drive the discovery of new knowledge in this field and guide the development of new initiatives to better help patients and their caregivers. “What is most gratifying is the delivery and conduct of research that advances care for our patients and their caregivers,” he explained.
Looking Ahead with Confidence
As a Nurse Researcher, George hopes to build systems and structures for the conduct of research and innovation across communities, moving out of the ‘comfort zone’ of academia and hospitals, into households, housing blocks and streets of the residents he serves.
Although the path ahead may be fraught with challenges, George remains unfazed. To him, a research study is like a marathon due to the time taken to collect and analyse sufficient data to make meaningful inferences. Hence, he believes that curiosity, perseverance and endurance are important traits to have as a Nurse Researcher.
Then and Now
George has certainly come a long way. Just ten years ago, he began his nursing experience at a basic clinical level. Now, he has reached an advanced level in his contribution to the nursing profession as a researcher.
Besides leading hospital-wide research studies to advance knowledge on care for patients and caregivers, George is also a colead in the Nursing Research Unit which is responsible for knowledge implementation as well as research talent management in TTSH. He also provides research and coleads in the development of innovation for new approaches of care for caregivers of older patients.
Having spent several years in the healthcare sector, he has witnessed first-hand how it has evolved over the last decade.
“A fundamental shift forward has been the concept of ‘human-centered design’ in healthcare. This is a radical departure from our traditional planning and delivery of care services as it first seeks to place the focus of care from the eyes of the ‘user’, a patient or resident navigating the healthcare system,” mused George.
He also notes that nursing has grown greatly in the opportunities for deep skilling beyond the clinical realm alone. Indeed, through various professional career tracks and development programmes, nurses like George can now expand their leadership skills, develop specialised clinical skills, or choose to grow their capabilities and interest in areas such as education, innovation and research.
Nurturing The Future Generation
According to George, it is important to bring the knowledge generated into practice, which is why he chose to become a Nurse Researcher, focusing on the generation and translation of new knowledge through well-design and executed research studies. “A strong focus on ‘translation to practice’ supports the work done by myself and my team, ensuring that our findings are brought back to the patient’s bedside and the community at large to bring good,” he explained.
But that’s not all. George has set his sights higher – to nurture the next generation of nurses.
“Through my various roles in nursing research, I am better able to develop and grow my own craft as a clinical researcher, with the opportunity to mentor and bring junior researchers on board the projects we embark. As a result, we can both continue the generation of knowledge and lay the pipeline for the next generation of nurse researchers!” he enthused.
So, if you have a passion for healthcare, George invites you to join nursing as a MOHH Scholar and be the next generation of nurse leaders that help shape the future of Singapore’s healthcare system.