New fully sponsored nursing degree programme launched for mid-career Singaporeans

Qiu Bai, a Chinese student who lodged a suit against the Ministry of Education over school textbooks describing homosexuality as a mental disorder, shows the textbooks she refers to before going to the court in Beijing, China
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The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) announced on Saturday that those mid-career Singaporeans who are keen to pursue nursing as a career can now apply for a new degree level programme at the National University of Singapore's Alice Centre for Nursing Studies (NUS Nursing).

In a joint press release, MOH and WSG said that the new degree level Professional Conversion Programme for Registered Nurses is targeted at mid-career Singaporeans with a prior degree qualification in any discipline other than nursing.

The new degree will be offered as a two-year Bachelor of Science (Nursing) programme at NUS Nursing. The course fee is S$74,500 and it will be fully sponsored. Apart from this, the trainees will receive training allowances of S$2,170 to $2,520 per month throughout the two years of training. However, this would depend on their years of prior work experience.

The press release added that the trainees will also receive a one-time career transition bonus of S$2,000 upon graduation. An on-the-job training incentive of S$18,000 per mid-career degree trained registered nurse will also be provided to employers to enable them to better support these nurses in their transition to a new career.

"There has been a growing interest in nursing. In recent years, we have seen an increase of about 33 per cent in our total nursing intake from 1,500 in 2012 to around 2,000 in 2017," Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said at the career preview for the degree.

"The introduction of the new two-year degree level Professional Conversion Programme for Registered Nurses makes it more attractive for mid-career Singaporeans who have a prior degree in other disciplines to join the nursing profession."

He added, "This is aligned with the Ministry of Health's effort to build a strong local core of nurses in the healthcare workforce as we face an ageing population and rising incidence of chronic diseases."

Shefaly Shorey, Assistant professor at the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies who had previously attained her nursing diploma from the PCP at Nanyang Polytechnic, will now lecture degree-level PCP nursing students at NUS.

"This degree will be preparing for future leaders in nursing. Our curriculum is more at a deeper level – better critical thinkers, better communicators, better clinical decision-makers – those who can lead nurses in the future," Dr. Shorey said.

The press release stated that the degree will be in addition to the existing two-year accelerated Professional Conversion Programme for Registered Nurses at the diploma level conducted by Nanyang Polytechnic. It is targeted at mid-career Singaporeans with A-Level and diploma qualifications.

According to the press release, more than 1,000 mid-career professionals have participated in professional conversion programmes for the healthcare sector since 2003. Out of these nearly 800 professionals joined on nursing, while 200 on allied health professions.

The applications for the Professional Conversion Programme for Registered Nurses at NUS Nursing will remain open until March 2.

Meanwhile, MOH will continue to work closely with WSG and healthcare industry partners to explore and develop new PCPs for other professions in the healthcare industry.

This article was first published on February 3, 2018