If you caught the recently ended Mediacorp Channel 8 medical/nursing drama “You Can Be An Angel Too”, you would have known that the show revolves around the lives of a group of dedicated nurses at a hospital, and how they balance the passion for their job with the challenges they face in their personal lives.
One of the characters in the show Fu Jiaren completed his National Service and went in search for the ideal job, after suffering setbacks, he finally realised that the greatest meaning in work lies in helping others and he plucked up the courage to join his elder brother in the nursing field.
Indeed, applications into the nursing courses in the polytechnics have seen a 12% jump this year.
Under the Joint Admissions Exercise to allow GCE ‘O’ Level certificate holders to apply for polytechnic courses, there were 1,094 applications to nursing course this year, compared to 973 in 2014.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said at the sidelines of an event on dementia that the number of applications are “encouraging”, compared with the slight drop in 2013.
She shared that the reasons for the increase include the efforts to raise public awareness of nursing and allied health jobs, such as the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) “Care and Go Beyond” Campaign.
The MOH announced pay hikes of 5% to 20% to attract and retain nurses last year. Steps were also to ensure that healthcare institutions have family-friendly work arrangements for nurses.
Dr Khor also highlighted the need to expand the nursing workforce. “…beyond just looking at the training pipeline, we also need to develop as well as equip them with new skills, for new roles that they could play,” she said.
Perhaps one way for those who wish you switch careers but do not have the financial means to enter the nursing field is to tap on funds to upgrade their skills and even take up a second skill such as nursing.
One example of such a funding scheme is the recently mooted Skillsave Account. The NTUC proposed the idea of creating a learning and training account for every Singaporean worker in order that every worker can take care of his or her own learning needs.
The Skillsave Account will empower workers to make their own learning decisions. It will help to plug current gaps for some workers who do not have access to the Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme and fund Continuing Education and Training (CET) programmes.