From Hospital to Classroom: SingHealth Adjunct Faculty Inject Real-World Expertise into SIT's Healthcare Programmes


Experts from SingHealth bring real-world experience into SIT's healthcare programmes, empowering the next generation of healthcare professionals.

BY and SK

SingHealth staff Adj A/Prof Tan Bee Yee (right) and Adj A/Prof Sabrina Koh (left) have been newly appointed as adjunct faculty at SIT. (Photo: Tan Bee Yee and Sabrina Koh)

Among the professors and lecturers that SITizens in the Health and Social Sciences (HSS) Cluster interact with are practitioners whose days outside campus are spent treating patients and solving problems in the healthcare sector.

These experts include SingHealth therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, radiographers, senior nurses and nurse educators who are eager to impart their knowledge and practical experience to SIT undergraduates and postgraduates.

This collaboration is part of the five-year agreement between SingHealth and SIT signed in September 2022. Both institutions have enjoyed a strong partnership since 2016, working together to deliver practice-oriented education and innovation for the healthcare sector. 

Fostering Work-Ready Nurses

For Ms Sabrina Koh, Deputy Director of Nursing at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) and a nurse educator with 30 years of clinical nursing experience, these adjunct faculty appointments mark an exciting era for both the healthcare and education sectors. Ms Koh, who has been newly appointed Adjunct Associate Professor of the HSS Cluster in SIT, not only conducts classes, but also develops curriculum for new programmes under the SingHealth-SIT partnership.  

One such programme is the integrated 3+2-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Pre-registration and Specialty Training) – Master of Science in Nursing unveiled in January 2024. Using a Term-In Term-Out approach, students will undertake modules on campus (Term-In) over one to two trimesters and spend at least 12 months in clinical residency at a SingHealth institution (Term-Out) during their 3-year degree programme, where they will apply their knowledge and skills in actual clinical settings. A two-year Master’s-level study follows this to prepare them for specialist nursing roles and groom them to be future nursing leaders. 

“SIT’s integration of clinical attachments in the programmes equips graduates with a stronger theory-practice application. This helps to produce a higher quality of nursing graduates, which is much needed on the ground, especially when we face a manpower crunch,” said A/Prof Koh.  

She is happy to get more opportunities to share her field experience in the classroom so students can deepen their learning about real-world operations. Adj A/Prof Koh is also a strong advocate for simulation-based education (SBE), which emphasises re-enacting clinical situations in class. Students role-play as nurses and practise handling the problem using their clinical and decision-making skills. The facilitator then conducts a debrief to explore the consequences of the actions and test students on how well they understand both theory and its applications.

Sab Koh

Adj A/Prof Sabrina Koh at SKH (Photo: Sabrina Koh)

“Part of our collaboration with SIT will be designing spaces for SBE so that we can bridge the theory-practice gap in students,” added Adj A/Prof Koh. 

Planting the Seeds for Future Healthcare Leaders

Another first-time adjunct faculty member is Adjunct Associate Professor Tan Bee Yee, who teaches SIT students about Singapore’s health systems, leadership and management in healthcare.  The SingHealth Group Chief Allied Health Professional, a physiotherapist by training, oversees 30 different allied health professions. These include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, diagnostic radiographers and radiation therapists. 


 Adj A/Prof Tan Bee Yee was the Guest-of-Honour speaker at SIT Community Care Industry Networking Day (Photo: Tan Bee Yee)

Adj A/Prof Tan, who used to head the physiotherapy team at the Singapore General Hospital, was tasked in 2017 with setting up the allied health services at SingHealth community hospitals. In 2021, she took on a cluster portfolio at SingHealth Allied Health as a deputy group director, looking at allied health professionals' academic and professional development. Besides taking on the Group Chief Allied Health Professional role last year, she was also appointed Senior Principal Project Administrator under the part-time professional scheme in the Chief Allied Health Officer Office at the Ministry of Health. 

“Since I’ve gone into administration and management of allied health services after spending 25 years in the physiotherapy department, I’m looking forward to sharing with students about leadership and career opportunities beyond clinical work. For example, how they can develop other valuable skills and go into education, research, innovation and management,” said Adj A/Prof Tan.

In class, she enjoys sharing stories of her work experiences, both the successes and the failures. She also hopes to help students understand some of the socio-economic factors affecting patients – a broader perspective she has gotten since working in hospital administration.

A/Prof Koh and A/Prof Tan are part of the 24-strong SingHealth staff who have been appointed adjunct faculty. Together, they inject real-world experience into SIT's healthcare programmes, and nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals.

For fresh healthcare graduates looking for career success, Adj A/Prof Tan’s advice is: “Be prepared to work hard. The more patients you see, the more you build your knowledge because every patient is different. Build the clinical foundation in the early years, and then stretch yourself to do other projects such as improving work processes, organising events, holding talks, etc. From there, you can decide which area you’re best at and further your development down that career pathway.”

Adj A/Prof Koh advises her students: “Be proactive in your studies and invest in career development. Students must also be empathetic in dealing with day-to-day matters.”

As Singapore’s population ages and our healthcare needs increase, SIT will continue to build a strong pipeline of healthcare professionals who are clinically well-trained and equipped with the right skills to galvanise innovation and technological advances to support the local healthcare sector.

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