The generous donations have paved the way for nurses at Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) to be trained to perform eye injections and give advice to patients to ease the burden on doctors as demand for specialist eye care increases.
Having an injection in the eye is a scary thought, but for a growing number of patients it is the best way to save their sight.
In 2017, doctors at SNEC performed 14,000 eye injections (intravitreal injections) to manage potentially-blinding conditions such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. That is double the number of eye injections given in 2007, and more patients are expected to need such treatment in the coming years as Singapore’s population ages. One way to manage this is to build capability in administering eye injections.
Two recent gifts from the DS Lee Foundation, totaling $75,000, have paved the way for nurses to be trained to perform intravitreal injections. The gifts enabled a nursing and allied health professionals training bursary to be established. One immediate gift impact was providing bursaries for a pioneer group of four SNEC nurses to attend a nine-month part time Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing (Ophthalmology), offered by Curtin University and SNEC. This course was launched in 2017 and includes training on how to do basic eye examinations and learning more about eye conditions such as glaucoma, AMD and diabetic retinopathy so they can provide more effective patient education.
Ms Chitra Vallei d/o Govindasamy, Assistant Director of Nursing, SNEC believes that this focus on upskilling experienced ophthalmic nurses improves efficiency in SNEC and has direct benefits for patients.
“Currently our doctors perform these intravitreal injections whilst also running clinics with high patient volumes. Armed with these new skills, our trained nurses can run the intravitreal clinics, so that our doctors can devote their time to seeing other patients in their clinics. More importantly, patients who need these injections will also have shorter waiting times.”
Ms Nazurah Loh Binte Mohd Ridwan Loh, Senior Staff Nurse, SNEC, was one of the nurses who took the course. “This course has allowed me to enhance my knowledge of the various types of eye conditions. It has also shown me how nurses can play an important role in eye care. I’m very grateful for this training grant which has enabled me to learn new skills.”
Up to four more SNEC nurses will undergo the ophthalmic nursing course this year. With this Graduate Certificate, nurses can also further their knowledge and studies by pursuing a Diploma, Masters programme and a PhD in nursing.
This story was first published in Inspire.
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