Graduates Learn the Meaning of Resilience at NUS Nursing

11 July 2017

Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Honours graduates Tarcisus Ho (left) and Cheng Ling Jie

151 graduates from the NUS Nursing Class of 2017 received their scrolls on Saturday.

Four years ago, Cheng Ling Jie's application for a spot in the NUS Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies’ Bachelor of Science (Nursing) programme was turned down.

Undaunted, he decided to strengthen his credentials to secure a second chance at convincing faculty members of his serious intent to pursue a Nursing degree.

He put himself through months of intensive training to be certified as an International Phlebotomy Technician under the American Society of Clinical Pathology, and also qualified as a Pharmacy Assistant under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification system.

His never-say-die attitude paid off. He not only secured an interview with NUS Nursing through the appeal process, but was also accepted into the programme.

"I was tremendously overjoyed when I received the long-awaited acceptance letter. I promised myself that I would make my four years in NUS a meaningful one," he said.

His "never-give-up" spirit prevailed throughout his four years at NUS Nursing, even at times when the temptation to surrender was strong. These occasions popped up when he and his team had to juggle event planning, classes and clinical attachment to organise the inaugural NUS Nursing Class of 2014-2017 reunion dinner, an event he had proposed to strengthen alumni relations.

151 graduates from the NUS Nursing Class of 2017 received their degrees on Saturday.

Last Saturday, Ling Jie graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Honours (Distinction) degree, and also won the NUSS Medal for Outstanding Achievement.

"Continuous learning and improvement has guided me to where I am today, and I am grateful to be given opportunities to learn and improve myself at NUS," he reflected.

Ling Jie will serve his bond as a registered nurse at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for the next three years, after which he hopes to pursue a post-graduate degree in the field of education and public health. His aim is to be a clinical and academic educator to inspire future nurses.

The importance of professional integrity

Tarcisus Ho, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Honours (Highest Distinction) degree, also described his journey in training to be a nurse as one requiring resilience and getting back up after each setback.

One of Tarcisus' most memorable moments took place in the simulation lab when he was a first-year student. During a lesson on feeding patients with swallowing difficulty, he and his partner had to practise tube-feeding on a manikin. They got carried away and continued to feed the "patient" after conducting the necessary checks.

"As our lecturer was known to be very strict, we were in a bind as to whether to inform him about our mistake," he said.

After much consideration, they confessed, and he remembers watching in dismay as the technicians were called in to dismantle the manikin and dry the feeds.

"We were surprised our lecturer did not reprimand us, but used it as a teachable moment to emphasise the importance of assessing a patient, and more importantly, of admitting our mistake. Exercising integrity in nursing has been one of my main learning points at NUS Nursing," said the winner of the Thio Kok Foe and Choo Kim Beng Medal and Prize in Nursing.

Tarcisus has started working as a nurse at the Health Promotion Board, where he will continue to develop and expand his passion in promoting public health and preventing at-risk individuals from developing chronic conditions.

Class valedictorian Tan Pei Wen

Equipped to be thinking nurses

In her speech, class valedictorian Tan Pei Wen, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Merit degree, also underlined the importance of staying resilient and steadfast in her fellow graduates’ long days and nights ahead as registered nurses.

Pei Wen, who bagged the Lee Foundation Medal in Nursing and Thio Kok Foe and Choo Kim Beng Prizes in Nursing, believes that NUS Nursing graduates, who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be thinking rather than functional nurses, have already gotten a good head start.

Like Ling Jie, Pei Wen will go on to work as a registered nurse. She hopes to be posted to the oncology ward at the Singapore General Hospital. “If that turns out to be a discipline I am interested in, I plan to get an advanced diploma in oncology, followed by a masters in Nursing a few years later,”she said.