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A critical view on the professionalisation efforts of nursing in Singapore through a Foucauldian lens

Loke, Jennifer


Dr Jennifer Loke
Lecturer / Programme Director (Dual Award in BSc in Nursing Science)


Singapore was once a British colony and nursing has since been under considerable influence from the dominant western political-medical power. Up till the present day, nursing in Singapore is still looking towards the West for knowledge to guide local practices. The professionalisation efforts in nursing in the local context were aided by the tremendous growth in nursing knowledge and the many advances in nursing in the west. However, other than practising in an environment similar to the West and challenged by the fluidity of an evolving health and social environment and issues of nursing shortage, nursing in Singapore is practised in a more diverse racial and multicultural context. From this perspective, the history and tradition of nursing spanning more than a century can help to explain why nursing—once a low status job—could, in recent years, be viewed less so in the status-conscious society of Singapore. While nurses in Singapore prepare their annual celebration of the profession on this 1st August, Foucault’s genealogical analysis is used in this paper to deconstruct the Singapore nursing journey towards professionalism. Foucault’s notion of the derived knowledge can be usefully deployed to inform future work on the professionalisation of nursing, especially in other parts of the world where a diverse patient profile is increasingly experienced.


Loke, J. (2012). A critical view on the professionalisation efforts of nursing in Singapore through a Foucauldian lens. Singapore nursing journal, 39(3), 43013

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2012
Publication Date Jul 1, 2012
Journal Singapore nursing journal
Print ISSN 0218-2475
Publisher Singapore Nurses Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 3
Pages 43013
Keywords Foucault’s power/knowledge; nursing; political-medical power; professionalism, Singapore
Public URL