"Girl … You can be in any profession but nursing!"
My mother objected when she found out about my dream to become a nurse. Thinking back, I would have never, in a million years, thought I would be able to fulfil my childhood ambition – what more at the age of 40!
After graduating from university in my twenties, I started out as an accounts assistant and continued treading the accounting path for the next decade. I even completed my master’s degree in economics management along the way.
However, I never forgot my childhood dream of wanting to help others. Even with my busy schedule, I find time to volunteer at the Sree Narayana Home for the Aged Sick while juggling my job and looking after my three children. The desire for a life full of meaning was very important to me – and I could not find it in my accounting job. Volunteering at the home made me realise again how much I loved caring for others and reignited my passion for nursing.
The moment of truth came when my brother was admitted to the hospital for an eye injury. I saw first-hand the professionalism, dedication and compassion of the nurses who were caring for him. These nurses also made me realise that with the proper nursing training, I could provide better care for the needy.
When I learnt about the Professional Conversion Programme for Registered Nurses, I knew that this was life’s way of giving me a second – and probably the last – chance at going after my dream. With blessings from my husband and family, I enrolled for the diploma in nursing course offered by Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)’s School of Health Sciences.
Despite my age, my young classmates and I had no problems communicating with each other. After all, we share the same dream of caring for others. Although I needed help with grasping certain concepts or using new technology in the classroom, I received ample assistance from my understanding classmates and lecturers. It did not hurt to be hardworking at my studies, too. I am proud to say that I am now officially a full-fledged Registered Nurse after graduating from NYP!
Do I have any regrets? Yes. If I had joined nursing earlier, I would probably have been able to provide better care for my late mother.
My name is Choo Su Yee. Do not let your age stop you from chasing your dreams.