If you are looking for a career switch and want a job that offers greater satisfaction, consider health care. The outlook for nursing and various allied health professions such as therapists and diagnostic radiographers is excellent. 

The Government is rapidly expanding its health-care delivery services. This year saw the opening of the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in the north of Singapore. Come 2013, the new 20-storey National University Hospital Medical Centre will be completed, and from 2015 , the new Jurong General Hospital will cater to the needs of patients who live in the west.

With these facilities and new community hospitals and nursing homes in the pipeline, the demand for skilled health-care professionals will increase.

Across the world today, there is a big shift to team-based care where nurses or a range of allied health professionals decide on the treatment of patients. This has arisen because of the new nature of treatments, which includes treating patients outside acute hospital settings, and, most importantly, the growing skills of nurses and allied health professionals who are trained to a much higher level than in the past. Health-care careers, therefore, are promising.

Here are reasons why you should choose a career in health care:

1. Wide range of specialisations

The career paths of health-care professionals are varied and provide opportunities for career development. For most health-care jobs, you can choose to work in acute hospitals, community hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care institutions.

After attaining your basic qualification, such as a diploma in nursing, you can choose to specialise in a particular field like critical care nursing if you like the challenge of working in the intensive care unit, or gerontology nursing if you desire to care for the aged. Visit www.healthcareers.sg for details on nursing and other health-care professions.

2. A meaningful profession

Health-care professionals work as a closely knit interdisciplinary team and are highly regarded and appreciated. People who enter this field often do so because they have a steadfast desire to help people improve their lives. The training they undergo prepares them to serve others in a professional and optimal manner.

3. Never a dull day

Each patient is different, and every day holds new and exciting challenges. The life of a health-care worker is never mundane.

Working as a team, nurses and allied health professionals each play an important role in diagnosing, treating and caring for patients. Often, case sharing and collaboration across an interdisciplinary team is necessary to ensure seamless and effective care to patients.

Requirements

Depending on your educational qualifications and area of interest, a range of training opportunities is available.

For mid-career professionals who are interested in health care but have no prior health-care experience, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) offers training and work conversion opportunities under the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) and Place-and-Train (PnT) schemes.

Training is conducted at Nanyang Polytechnic or the Institute of Technical Education respectively.  Apart from classroom and simulated lab training, trainees will be posted to hospitals to hone their skills and deepen their knowledge through clinical practice. 

If you have a diploma, you can apply for the new intake for PCP for registered nurses (accelerated), physiotherapists, diagnostic radiographers or occupational therapists.

If you have N- or O-level qualifications, you may consider a National ITE Certificate (Nitec) in Nursing course under the PnT scheme. Participating employers include restructured hospitals, private hospitals, community hospitals and other voluntary welfare organisations.

If you think you have what it takes to make a difference in people’s lives, a rich and fulfilling career in health care awaits you.