Monday 17 September 2012

Assistance for non-practising nurses to re-join workforce

By Alice Chia, Channel NewsAsia, 16 Sep 2012

Non-practising nurses can tap on training courses by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to equip them with skills to re-join the nursing profession. 

This will help meet the long-term requirements of the healthcare industry where some 6,400 nurses are needed by 2020 to staff an additional 3,700 hospital beds.

Currently, there are around 32,000 registered nurses in Singapore.

52-year-old Chua Bee Lan is a homemaker who returned to work after a 15-year break where she was a nurse for 14 years, before taking a break to look after her three daughters.

She re-joined the workforce five years ago, when her daughters were older, to be more financially-independent.

Madam Chua, who said that she initially lacked the confidence, added: "After leaving nursing for 15 years, more or less, I had a phobia. So I thought, 'why don't I start from the beginning as a patient service clerk'. When I assist the doctor, when he is explaining to the patient, I can also update myself on the latest technology, and what are the changes in the treatment for patients."

Madam Chua then enrolled in the Return-to-Nursing programme by the WDA and SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Nursing.

Her course fees were co-funded by WDA and the Singapore General Hospital.

After a two-month course, including lectures, e-learning and attachments, she was re-certified to work as a nurse.

Madam Chua had to pick up new skills such as inserting intravenous drips and drawing blood, as nurses' responsibilities have since grown.

She is thankful to her family for their support.

"Nursing is a two-shift profession, I need full concentration in this career. I discussed with my husband and my children first. My husband gave me his full support. When I'm not around, he will take care of the children. Even my children said, 'Mum, don't worry. We know how to take care of ourselves," she shared.

She plans to get an advanced diploma in nursing to upgrade her skills and further her passion.

To date, 90 nurses have returned to the nursing profession through the programme since it started in 2000.

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