Forum: Entry criteria for poly nursing course should focus more on passion and experience

I agree with the appeal from Mr Abdul Rahim Darman to review the entry criteria for polytechnic nursing courses (Review entry criteria for polytechnic nursing courses, July 21).

I, too, have a daughter who is passionate about nursing and healthcare. She was an O-level express stream student, who, because she scored a D7 in mathematics, was posted to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

As an O-level holder, she had to choose a Higher Nitec diploma programme.

However, ITE offers only a Nitec in nursing. She could therefore choose only a non-nursing programme at that time, and has since graduated with a Higher Nitec in chemical technology, in the hope that she can work in a hospital laboratory, which may be a stepping stone to a nursing career.

At the same time, she has taken on a job as a healthcare assistant for the past 21/2 years, providing home care services to elderly patients recovering at home, and has also occasionally done stints in government and private hospitals as an in-ward nursing assistant.

She is hoping that these help to build up her nursing experience, and fulfil her passion for nursing.

She has also continued to advance her studies by taking a part-time polytechnic course in food science, which she expects to graduate from by the end of this year.

Recently, she applied to a polytechnic nursing programme, and was told that she would have to retake her O-level mathematics.

She has already moved on from secondary school, graduating with a Higher Nitec in a technical programme, and is about to obtain her polytechnic diploma in a technology programme.

Do the polytechnics not recognise a Higher Nitec and their own diploma?

Can the authorities explain why O-level mathematics is so critical to nursing?

If Singapore is so short of nurses, I feel the polytechnics' entry criteria should focus more on a student's nursing and healthcare experience, as a passion for nursing and the aptitude for healthcare responsibilities are so much more important for the making of a good nurse, not O-level mathematics scores from five years ago.

Wong Hong Meng