Discover SIM GE

Darren Inspires Guys To Be Angels-In-White

Darren inspires the guys to be angels-in-white - Article Image 1
Darren with fellow nurses at NUH

NURSING seems to be difficult. It doesn't seem to offer much career advancement. Only women are suitable to enter this profession.

These are some misperceptions that Advanced Practice Nurse Darren Goh Zhongwei is seeking to dispel since graduating with a Diploma in Nursing in 2002 and an SIM-University of Sydney BSc (Nursing) in 2008.

“People think that nursing is difficult, but you will get used to it and like it,” says Darren, who describes his heart-warming experience of seeing patients becoming physically better from nursing care. “I like the opportunity to interact and do something for others.”

As for career advancement, there are several pathways – clinical nursing, nursing education and nursing management. Darren chose the clinical route when he went for a Master in Nursing (Critical Care) in 2010 at the National University of Singapore. He is now an Advanced Practice Nurse at the National University Hospital (NUH), a member of the National University Health System, which groups NUH, the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, the NUS Faculty of Dentistry and the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health under a common governance structure.

“The various career tracks are opportunities for our nurses to progress,” says Darren. For him, his job includes receiving new patients, assessing them at the point of admission, and managing them throughout their stay in the ward. He collaborates closely with nurses, the medical team and allied health professionals to provide holistic patient care.

“Patients and their family are also our partners to make it possible for them to get better physically and emotionally,” he says.

Inspiring More To Join Nursing

By chance, Darren was approached by MediaCorp early last year to contribute a script to the TV drama serial, You Can Be An Angel Too (Chinese: 你也可以是天使). Production began in June 2014 and wrapped up in September and the 20-episode show began airing on January 5, 2015.

Darren acted as “Alan”, taking on his own professional nursing role among a group of dedicated nurses at Ai De Hospital. “I acted in four or five cameo parts, which included a scene when one of the main characters’ father collapsed and I had to resuscitate him.”

The reason Darren took on this acting role was that he wanted to inspire people to join nursing. Although it is a profession traditionally dominated by women, more men are taking up this calling. “I have seen an increased in the number of men joining us as their first profession, as well as mid-career switchers,” says the tall, personable 32-year-old.

The First Steps

A nursing career starts when one earns either a Diploma in Nursing (and qualified as a State Registered Nurse or Staff Nurse), or a NITEC in Nursing (and qualified as an Assistant Nurse). As one gains experience in nursing work, one may choose to enrol in a Bachelor programme. Darren, for instance, enrolled with SIM-University of Sydney which offers one of the earliest nursing programmes in Singapore. “I was encouraged by Sydney’s well-established reputation and the positive feedbacks from my seniors in the course.”

Among the modules in the Sydney programme that caught his strong interest was patho-physiology, the study of the human body in reaction to diseases. “The course provided a theoretical foundation to understand why patients developed symptoms,” he says.

But it was not easy to work and study at the same time, he recalls. “I had to request changes in my shift duty in order to attend classes, and it was physically and mentally tiring.” He paid his own fees but “it was money well-spent.”

From his own successful work and study stint, he has this parting advice to other young people (especially males) considering a nursing career: “You can do more than you think.”

Darren inspires the guys to be angels-in-white - Article Image 2
All in a day's work's work... checking a patient's case notes at the ward’s nurse station

- Posted online, 9 March 2015