More switching jobs to become nurses
62% rise in intake of mid-career workers starting nurse training course with NYP
Even though he had an engineering diploma, Mr Kelvin Pang was aware that the technical skills he learnt would eventually be rendered useless with time.
The 32-year-old, who used to work for the Singapore Armed Forces, felt a job in the healthcare sector would last longer than most careers - a big factor that drew him to the professional conversion programme (PCP) for registered nurses last year.
"The structure of the human anatomy does not change. Having this medical knowledge is a permanent skill," said Mr Pang, a second-year student at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), adding that his career switch was in part inspired by his wife, an enrolled nurse.
Now with the Singapore General Hospital's (SGH) surgical ward as part of the programme, he tries to motivate patients towards the goal of recovery.
"In the healthcare industry, when patients come in, they may not be in the best condition. Having that in mind, no matter what it takes, we will try to nurse them back to health and understand them from their perspective," said Mr Pang.
More mid-career individuals such as Mr Pang are signing up for the PCP for registered nurses, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor yesterday.
"In April this year, 34 mid-career individuals started on the PCP for registered nurses with Nanyang Polytechnic.
"This represents a 62 per cent increase in the intake as compared with the average annual intake of about 21 (individuals) over the last three years, from 2014 to 2016," Dr Khor told reporters on the sidelines of a visit to SGH with Mrs Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Manpower.
NYP is starting a second batch of PCP for registered nurses this year, with classes to start next month, she added.
"We expect with this second intake of PCP for registered nurses, we would probably have about 60 trainees this year, which is about close to three times the average annual intake that we have had over the last three years," she said.
During this training period, there could be a mismatch in skills or wages for the trainees.
Those on the PCP for registered nurses get a monthly training allowance of $1,700 to $2,050, depending on the years of prior working experience.
After graduating, they will be paid a competitive salary that is regularly reviewed, said Dr Khor.
Those who graduate get a career transition bonus of $2,000, she added.
The PCP for registered nurses is part of the ministry's push to attract more people to join the healthcare sector, which needs to attract 9,000 workers in the next three years.
Sine 2009, more than 500 Singaporeans have transited into the healthcare sector through the various healthcare conversion programmes and schemes, said Dr Khor.