"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.
Su Yee (first row, second from left) with fellow classmates in Nanyang Polytechnic.
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.