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Chasing Dreams – A Mid-Career Switch to Nursing

Giving up a stable, well-paying job to undergo re-training as a nurse sounds like a bold move but for two Parkway College graduates, it was their answer to a calling in healthcare.

My parents didn’t know,” admitted Loh Sze Hua. The 29 year old kept her parents, who reside in Malaysia, in the dark until her second year with Parkway College.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse but I followed my parents’ wishes and got a Bachelor of Science in Medical Bioscience instead. Then I followed in my lecturer’s footsteps and became a medical researcher,” shared Sze Hua. “But I never really gave up my dream. A few years ago, I learnt through a casual conversation with a friend that Parkway College was recruiting. I was tempted but it wasn’t an easy decision to make.”

“I was earning a good salary as a medical researcher. Giving that up to become a full-time student with no income for three years and understanding that, after graduation, I might not earn as much as I used to, was a major worry. I still had to support my family,” she revealed.

After giving it much thought, Sze Hua mustered up the courage to pursue her passion. “I want to enjoy life by doing what I love. There are many ‘real world’ considerations but I don’t think these should be obstacles to pursuing my dream.” “The day I was accepted into Parkway College, I told myself that I’ve given up so much to be here, so I’m going to do my utmost best.” And she did, graduating at the top of her Diploma in Nursing class as Valedictorian (Nursing).

“My parents attended the graduation ceremony. They didn’t say much but from the smiles on their faces, I know they’re proud of me,” she said. Now a Staff Nurse at the Intensive Care Unit of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Sze Hua hopes to keep learning and growing and to eventually become an Advanced Practice Nurse in Critical Care.

“It took me two years to accept my calling,” recounted Caroline Sim. The 40 year old was the head of web publishing with Singapore Police Force when she decided to call it quits in favour of a career in nursing.

“All along, my passion was in arts, design and multimedia. This was until 10 years ago when my grandfather became gravely ill. I nursed him for three months and, in the process, discovered that I enjoyed caring for the sick. I also found that I was able to communicate well with the elderly,” she shared. “Since then, I have come to believe that nursing is my calling but it was tough to give up a 13-year career in multimedia design to start from scratch.”

“Eventually, I left my job because I realised there is greater meaning in life. I love taking care of the elderly. I know I will be happy working closely with them and nursing allows me to do that. Yes, I did forego a higher salary but I also believe that money cannot buy me happiness,” she said.

To start over, Caroline enrolled in Parkway College for a Diploma in Nursing but going back to school after all these years was a challenge in itself. “I’m blessed that my husband and my family are very supportive of my decision.

They believe in me and that was what kept me going in school. Parkway College was a wonderful learning journey. I met many passionate and knowledgeable lecturers and gained valuable experience through clinical attachments,” she said.

Caroline, who is now a Staff Nurse with Ren Ci Community Hospital, is glad that she made the mid-career switch. “Nursing is never an easy job but it is certainly a fulfilling career. I feel like I’m on a journey with my patients, walking with and caring for them through their recovery process. Once they get better, they move on and others take their place. This is an extraordinary career. Watching my patients get better is priceless and that’s the only reward I need.”

Article appeared in MOSAIC Jan – Mar 2016 Edition
By Group Corporate Communication, Parkway Pantai Limited