Today, a career in the dynamic health-care industry surprisingly does not always require years of tertiary studies. If you want to be a nurse, for example, you can start planning as early as Secondary 3, before your O-levels.
What a career in health care can offer today is lifetime employability. Thanks to Singapore’s international reputation as a health-care hub and its ageing population, there is an ever increasing demand for qualified health-care professionals.
With new hospitals and health-care institutions being completed in the next few years and the opening of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, training and career opportunities abound for those who want to become health-care professionals.
Beyond career security, health-care professionals have the chance to learn continually and develop on the job. In addition, many experience a deep sense of satisfaction and achievement from knowing that they have made a difference in someone’s life.
In the past, medicine was essentially about doctors treating patients but across the world today, we are seeing a shift to team-based care where nurses or a group of allied health professionals (AHPs) decide on the treatment of patients in consultation with doctors.
This has come about because of the new nature of treatments, including treating patients outside hospital settings, and more importantly, the growing skills of nurses and AHPs who are trained to a much higher level than in the past.
The National Healthcare Group (NHG) — which includes Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the Institute of Mental Health, nine National Healthcare Group Polyclinics and the National Skin Centre — employs 4,052 nurses and 1,105 AHPs.
Demand continues to grow, so whether you aspire to be a nurse, physiotherapist or psychologist, NHG’s diverse career paths and commitment to lifelong education, research and development can help you decide on your choice career and build on your potential.
Nursing has evolved beyond its traditional role that is closely identified with the work of Florence Nightingale some 125 years ago. Today, besides tending the sick, nurses are also clinicians, managers, researchers and teachers.
Three distinct career paths — clinical track, educator track and management track — give nurses the opportunity to develop professionally and even pursue a university degree.
One can be a nurse clinician providing direct care to patients and specialise as an advanced practice nurse, or a nurse educator who combines his/her clinical expertise and teaching capabilities to prepare current and future nurses. One can also lead a team of nurses and manage a ward as a nurse manager.
Allied Health Professionals
In today’s health-care system, AHPs are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team working alongside doctors and nurses to care for patients.
You can choose from 15 allied health professions ranging from diagnostic radiographers, dietitians, medical social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and podiatrists to clinical psychologists, among others.
Singapore will need more AHPs due to the growing demands of its ageing population. The NHG is also moving towards establishing a more integrated and long-term healthcare service, and not just the acute medical/surgical management of disease.
If you are compassionate, persevering and passionate about helping to heal the sick and re-build other people’s lives, health care could be your calling.