From the dead to the living

January 2018

From nursing to funeral planning – and back again! To fulfil her childhood ambition of becoming an embalmer, Jeridiah Tan worked as a funeral planner for a year after her Nitec in Nursing. She has since come full circle in her nursing journey and is now a year 3 nursing student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Her passage to nursing might have been derailed by a couple of bumps along the way, but Jeridiah is now back on track and fully dedicated to her role as a nurse.

Jeridiah (second from right) and her classmates during their nursing course at the Institute of Technical Education College East.

A fresh graduate from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East, Jeridiah was neither used to the routine tasks of a nurse, nor her patients' anxious relatives who did little to quell their bursts of anger at the hospital. The challenging work, coupled with the sense of being undervalued, prompted Jeridiah to join the business of funeral planning upon her graduation from ITE.

However, the year spent in funeral planning was not smooth sailing either. "My parents were opposed to the job," said the 25-year-old. "They held on fiercely to their traditional beliefs, and didn't like the idea of their daughter having to be in contact with dead bodies. We had plenty of quarrels at home."

"My parents encouraged me to continue pursuing nursing instead. They wanted someone in the family to work in healthcare."

Jeridiah (second from left) and her classmates during their polytechnic clinical attachment at the Emergency Medicine Department of National University Hospital.

With that, Jeridiah returned to nursing and pursued a diploma at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. As an experienced nursing student, she found herself better equipped to deal with her work, as well as the challenging patients and their family members. She has since fallen into step with the fast-paced job and grown to love nursing. To gain more knowledge and provide better care for her patients, she also intends to further her studies with a degree in nursing.

"I've never regretted returning to nursing and pursuing my diploma. There's an incredible sense of achievement for being able to impact someone in such a life-changing way."

When asked about the one thing the public misunderstand about nursing, the chirpy 24-year-old remarked, "The public have the misconception that students choose nursing because they can't get into any other course. That can't be any further from the truth! I have plenty of classmates who were eligible for junior college and chose to pursue nursing because of their passion."

"Don't ever think that nursing is a boring job; there are so many progression routes available. Education, research, management… Just take your pick! The nursing world is your oyster."

To find out more about the nursing course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, visit http://www.np.edu.sg/hs/courses/hsn/Pages/HSN.aspx.