Koh Ying Xi was a promising student from Raffles Institution who scored straight As in her school's Integrated Programme (IP). However, life's blips and bumps – including an episode where her grandmother suffered a stroke – prompted Ying Xi to rethink her path and make an unconventional decision. With the encouragement and support of her family, Ying Xi dropped out of IP and pursued a diploma in nursing at Nanyang Polytechnic.
"Nursing has never been the last option for me. It is a platform for me to actively care for others while furthering my interests in healthcare. To this day, I'm convinced that I made the right decision and I've been told that I'm now more independent, mature and caring." said the thoughtful 18-year-old student.
Ying Xi (first row, third from left) posing with her classmates during their clinical attachment at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s sub-acute ward.
Though Ying Xi is still in her first year, she feels that the course has already equipped her with essential skills and competencies in patient care. This proved to be useful during her first clinical attachment, where she was undaunted in the face of an aloof patient who refused assistance.
"I did not let that patient faze me, and continued to offer help whenever I could. As the days went by, his cold demeanour melted and he began gesturing towards me whenever he needed help or just wanted to share his feelings. Seeing the changes in my patients' attitudes has made me realise the impact I can make on another individual."
For those who are keen to be a nurse, Ying Xi advises, "Start with finding out everything you can about nursing by talking to student nurses, nursing lecturers or actual nurses. The key is to gain as many perspectives as possible.
When you have a better picture of what nursing is like, try to imagine yourself in the industry for say, five to 10 years. If you think you will enjoy the work, get your family's approval! Convince them with the reasons that make you want to pursue nursing. I can't say the same for everyone, but in my case, having supportive family members really makes a difference when the going gets tough.
As my lecturer once said, doctors cure and nurses care. There may be times when cure is no longer an option, but care will always have its place."
To find out more about the nursing course at Nanyang Polytechnic, visit