Former engineer turns nurse at age 60 through professional conversion programme

Former engineer Clement Ng Cheng Chuan decided to make a career switch at 60, and now works as a staff nurse at St Luke's Hospital.
Former engineer Clement Ng Cheng Chuan decided to make a career switch at 60, and now works as a staff nurse at St Luke's Hospital.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - At age 60, most people are busy planning their retirement.

But former engineer Clement Ng Cheng Chuan decided to make a career switch at that age and become a nurse.

Having just been retrenched after spending more than 30 years in the oil and gas industry, Mr Ng felt he was not ready to retire.

The father of three adult children wanted to do something meaningful.

Eventually, he enrolled in a two-year professional conversion programme (PCP) for registered nurses in 2017 and started studying for a nursing diploma.

"I wanted to keep learning and help others, especially the elderly," said the now 63-year-old, who works as a staff nurse caring for the elderly at St Luke's Hospital in Bukit Batok.

"I felt that I still had more to contribute and it is better to do something rather than sit at home."

Mr Ng now spends his time ensuring patients receive the right medication, looking after their well-being and following up on doctors' orders.

"It can be quite busy. We cannot predict what could happen next, so we need to react to situations fast," he shared.

His interest in a nursing career started after a three-month stint as a healthcare assistant at a public hospital in 2017. He later decided to pursue a PCP for registered nurses, where he studied topics such as the human anatomy and picked up lifesaving skills such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillation procedures.

His family was concerned he might not be able to cope with the work at his age, but he managed to convince them not to worry.

"They supported my decision and encouraged me," said Mr Ng, who hopes to work for as long as he is able to.

He noted that age is not a barrier for those who want to take up a career in the healthcare sector.

"It is rewarding when the families appreciate what we have done for their loved ones," he added.