Sunday, November 25, 2012

Questions about PCP Nursing in Singapore

In my previous (unrelated) blog entry, I received some questions from a reader Sue regarding the Singapore government WDA's PCP (Professional Conversion Programme, a.k.a. Accelerated Diploma) Nursing programme in Singapore. [Note: The PCP programme was previously known as the "Strategic Manpower Conversion Programme" (SMCP).] Since there may be other readers who may be interested in the programme, I shall post her original questions and my replies here.


Anonymous wrote on Monday, November 19, 2012 3:58:00 AM:
Hi, I just came across your blog and would like to know a few things, hope you can help me with it.
For your PcP Nursing programme, did you get to choose your specialisation? Which is the specialisation that requires the least physical strength? What is the dropout rate for the programme?
Thank you (Sue)

Winking Doll replied on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 1:22:00 AM:
Hi Sue, 
Thanks for visiting my blog. 
> For your PcP Nursing programme, did you get to choose your specialisation? 
Just to confirm, are you are referring to the Singapore WDA PCP Nursing Conversion Program? If so, during my time, the determination of one's specialization depends on one's sponsoring agency and its procedure. E.g. Some classmates are sponsored by nursing homes, and thus their specialty is already fixed (i.e. long-term care facility). E.g. In my hospital, my buddy stated clearly during her sponsorship interview that she is only interested in O&G, so they arranged for her to be interviewed by the O&G ADON. In my case, during the sponsorship interview, I stated that I had no particular preference (since I truly knew very little about nursing at that point). It was only near the end of the course that I played some politics and pulled some strings to get me transferred from Med/Surg to Paeds. E.g. My classmates at a restructured hospital received a form towards the end of the PCP course asking them to list their 1st to 5th preferred choice of specialization. That said, I don't know if the system has been changed since our time, it's been 5 years now. 
> Which is the specialisation that requires the least physical strength? 
Well, if you can get into Nurse Informatics, that ought to require the least physical strength. I wonder if my reader CK can help on this, since he is in the Nurse Informatics specialization. But then, there wasn't anyone in my cohort who ended up in that specialty. At one point, the Institute of Mental Health was looking for someone to go into that area. That said, I am not sure if how often such opportunities present itself in Singapore. 
Other areas that usually doesn't require much strength would be Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Polyclinic nurse, Day Surgery, Endoscopy Centre (e.g. TTSH), and School Health Nurse. Avoid the Intensive Care Unit, Neurology Unit, and similar such areas where the patient is likely to be too sick to help you with their care by bearing/lifting some of their own weight.
I wonder how little physical strength you are expecting to put in. After all, the PCP training requires you to undergo Medical, Surgical, O&G, Paeds, Mental Health, OT and Emergency Dept clinical, so some physical strength is required to complete the training. That said, I think most able-bodied persons would meet the physical strength requirement. E.g. I was an underweight 40-43kg at height 155cm -- petite even for Asian females. Yet I managed to survived through Med/Surg, etc through "teamwork". IMHO, the killer isn't the physical work per se, but the bitchy female-dominated environment (especially of nursing in Singapore). 
> What is the dropout rate for the programme? 
My cohort started with 28. After the 1st test, 2 dropped out. After 2nd semester, another 1 dropped out. At the last semester, 2 deferred and another 2 did not complete the course (if I remember correctly). Amongst those that deferred, I heard that only 1 of the 2 returned to complete the program in the end. There were others from previous batches who joined our class along the way, so the ending numbers don't quiet synch. If you were to strictly count amongst the 28 who were at the same starting line, how many of those completed within the expected (scheduled) 2 years time-frame, then the answer for my cohort is that 21/28 or 75% completed as per original schedule. 
I think you have asked good questions. As I have mentioned above, I don't know if the system has been changed since my time. I think that it is best that you raise your questions at the WDA PCP talks promoting the conversion training. 
Cheers, WD.

Just FYI for those who are interested. 3 (including me) of the 21 in my cohort mentioned above migrated to Canada. Note: That said, I did not do the nursing conversion programme to qualify for immigration to Canada. I already qualified for Canadian permanent residency based on my previous career and the Canadian immigration point system back in end-2006. I believe the same is true for my 2 other classmates who immigrated to Canada as well, for they too had submitted their PR application around the same time, before/near the start of our nursing programme.

IMHO, the WDA staff did their best to give me trouble when I tendered my resignation before completing my bond. Please read your contract carefully if your true intention is to leave Singapore with your newly acquired nursing qualifications. In addition, please be careful not to leak to others about your emigration plans, unless it is someone you can trust 100% to be on your side and who would be discrete about not accidentally leaking your plans to your workplace management and/or to WDA. Finally, be prepared to face "friends" who turn into jerks just because you choose to leave the little red dot.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Hi inspiral,

      Thank you for visiting. I have deleted the contents of your comment to protect your privacy. My answer to your question can be found in the link below.

      The Art of Bond Breaking

      All the best!

      Cheers, WD.

  2. Hi, I have this thought of taking up the diploma in nursing that was promoted by WDA. I think the same as what you had taken during those years.i have no experience in the medical line. i have plans to get this diploma and migrate to elsewhere. however, with the years of study and 3 years bond, i will be reaching the age of early 40s. Do you think there is a possibile to ask for sponsorship from the countries since it is foreseen that there will still be a shortage of nurses (experienced ones)in the future? btw, how do they calculate the pay back in the event the bond is broken?

    1. Hi Anonymous at Friday, September 20, 2013 1:10:00 AM,

      Thank you for visiting and posting your question. Before you embark on the WDA course, first think about where you want to migrate to.

      If you're thinking of migrating to Australia, then please check out the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia website for registration requirements for Internationally Qualified Nurses and Midwives. Note: Previously Singapore RNs are recognized by New South Wales, AU, but now the Aussie national nursing board requires "Degree" level education. You will need to check directly with the board if NYP's "Diploma in Nursing" is acceptable as "degree level" by the Aussie national nursing board.

      If you're thinking of migrating to NZ, then the answer is "No", NZ does not recognize Singapore's RNs immediately (based on 2009 status when I last checked).

      If you're coming over to BC, Canada, then my advice to you is to do your nursing education in Canada instead wasting your time in Singapore... assuming you have the moolah ($$$) to do so. I will explain more when I get further along the "Migrating via Student Visa" series.

      Times have changed. It is getting harder and harder to immigrate to these popular host countries. E.g. Canada has dropped RNs (registered nurses) and LPNs (i.e. Enrolled Nurses) from its list of wanted skills since May-2013.

      My advice to you is to rely on yourself... Google and do your research to be sure that your target host country is really indeed in need of nurses. Do NOT rely on hearsay. E.g. If you speak to Canadians here, everyone will tell you B.C., Canada is short of nurses, but the truth is many freshly graduated nurses find it hard to get jobs, most work casuals (some for years) before they land on a part-time/full-time job. So is there really a "shortage of nurses"?

      As for breaking your bond, check out my blog post on "The Art of Bond Breaking".

      Cheers, WD.