Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tipping the balance to nursing

At end-Jan 2011, I wrote on my Facebook status "IT or nursing? 聽天遊命! [Follow heaven's will]".

At that point, I was really in 2 minds about my career direction. I loved problem solving in IT. And I love working in the male-dominated environment -- I am so used to it. Nursing? Well, to use an understatement, "My initiation into nursing could have gone much better."

Given my past experience, the winner would seem to be clear -- "Build IT solutions for the health care industry" as several friends have suggested. However, somehow I felt that it was not the answer for me now, and the right answer will appear eventually. I don't know why or how, my gut feeling has always been quite strong. And thus, I delayed making a firm decision.

Slowly, I come across things that would tip the balance towards nursing.

Firstly, a minor but factual aspect. The Working In Canada website states that nurses will be in demand and short in supply for the next 10 years.

Secondly, in recent weeks, I suddenly recalled a Gallop Clifton "StrengthsFinder 2.0" test that I did back in March 2007. My key strengths in descending order were
  • Ideation
  • Activator
  • Connectedness
  • Relator, and
  • Strategic
Thus, my roles in IT fulfills the Ideation, Activator and Strategic fronts, somewhat fulfills the Relator front, but less so on the Connectedness front. As a nurse advocate in a professional environment (IMHO, not possible in Singapore's hospital settings), all 5 of these strengths may be utilized more evenly.
I know from past experience that the Connectedness and Relator fronts matter a lot to me. At a recent volunteer services interview in B.C., the interviewer asked me why I wanted to be a volunteer. I replied candidly, "I have been volunteering since not long after I started working. It's a way to give back to the community, [and] to be part of the community. However, as you can see [referring to the volunteer information form], I stopped volunteering some time in the mid-2000's as work ate up more and more of my time, [and] my life. That was a mistake. It upset my life-balance and made me wonder what I was working so hard for." The interviewer nodded and smiled.
Finally, the most important piece. As Bone Collector correctly predicted in response to my FB status, "WD, troubleshooting computer will be too boring my friend."

True enough, in the recent weeks on my IT job search, I found that when I read IT job descriptions, things that used to excite me in the past no longer do. It is like a young love that had died. Especially for the jobs for which I have relevant domain-specific experience, "Been there, done that" kept popping to my mind. On the other hand, when I read nursing job descriptions, I still find some aspects of the job interesting.

I think that it is time for me to move out of IT and focus on nursing. Well, we will see what the IEN SEC test (Internationally Educated Nurses Substantially Equivalent Competency) report indicates.

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