The NUS Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies (NUS Nursing) saw its highest-ever student intake for its Bachelor of Science (Nursing) degree programmes this academic year, demonstrating an increased interest in healthcare as a career option. The batch of 313 students, which includes 279 school leavers and 34 professionals who are looking to make a career switch, represents an increase of 33 per cent over the number of students admitted last year.
Nursing is gaining popularity among school-leavers. The number of A-level holders and polytechnic graduates who listed Nursing as one of their top two choices during the recent admissions exercise increased by 8 per cent to 1,012 applicants.
NUS Nursing’s inaugural two-year Bachelor of Science (Nursing) programme saw tremendous interest from mid-career applicants, with 230 applications received for 20 places. Offered in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Workforce Singapore under the agencies’ Healthcare Professional Conversion Programme, the accelerated full-time programme provides a swift route to registered nursing licensure for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who possess an undergraduate degree in another discipline.
Goh Beng Sim is one of the mature students in the two-year Bachelor of Science (Nursing) programme. An NUS Arts and Social Sciences alumna who graduated 27 years ago, Beng Sim chose to switch to nursing as she wanted to spend the second half of her life giving back to society. “Providing nursing care to the elderly is the most direct way for me to do so, as Singapore’s population is ageing rapidly and more elderly patients will be living with chronic conditions,” she said.
Beng Sim will see at least one familiar face among her university mates — her daughter, Trina Lim will also be embarking on her three-year Bachelor of Science (Nursing) programme at the same time. Hearing about Trina’s experiences during clinical attachments as part of her Nursing diploma was what inspired Beng Sim and affirmed her decision to enrol in NUS Nursing. The duo are the first mother-and-daughter pair in the history of the programme to pursue the same course together.
At 54 years of age, Patrick Zhan is the oldest student in the cohort. Embracing lifelong learning, Patrick jumpstarted a second career in the eldercare sector when he retired from finance six years ago. “My stint as manager of a nursing home and an eldercare centre exposed me to the importance of nurses and nursing skills in geriatric care. Because of their fragile health and multiple conditions, the elderly needs special care,” Patrick explained.
Professor Emily Ang, Head of NUS Nursing, said that they are happy to see more school-leavers pursuing an NUS Nursing degree. “It is clear that students and their parents recognise the value that the programme brings, through provision of evidence-based education, inter-professional training, and its emphasis on innovative pedagogy, quality research, patient advocacy and community service, all of which aim to equip our graduates to be competent, confident healthcare professionals.”
She added that they are also heartened to see more people making a career change to nursing and welcome more mature-entry students at the University. “Second-career nursing students bring work experience and insights, and they enrich our student population. We believe these role models for lifelong learning will also be nursing professionals who will help to make a qualitative difference to healthcare practice and delivery in time to come,” said Prof Ang.
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