Meet Paul Tang, a staff nurse in Raffles Hospital and an RMG scholar.
Paul had just graduated from the Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Honours from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Currently, he is working at Ward 10. His hobbies include trekking outdoors, training in gym, playing the piano, and reading non-fiction books. He is interested in nursing research, specifically on mental health of nurses.
Read on to find out more about Paul’s nursing journey as an RMG scholar.
What inspired you to be a nurse?
It was not an immediate calling to me. Back then I was studying Diploma in Biomedical Science at Republic Polytechnic. Like many young bright minds, I wanted to be a doctor as it was an honourable career, and doctors are highly respected in healthcare. However, things took a turn when my mental health was affected by the high expectations of academics and co-curricular activities (CCA) that I was involved in.
My parents refused to let me enrol into NUS medicine and that led me to consider other professions in healthcare. After exploring different professions introduced by my friends and school fairs, I was inspired to join nursing as I was fascinated by the idea that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare team where decisions are communicated to nurses as the main point of contact, and care is mostly delivered by nurses to patients.
What encouraged you to sign up for the RMG scholarship?
At the time I was considering scholarships. The scholarships that attracted me were from MOHH and RMG. Both provided monthly allowances and four years of sponsored tuition fees among other benefits. However, what stood out to me about the RMG scholarship was the Raffles Management Associate Programme (MAP) where I get to rotate among different nursing departments in Raffles Hospital, Raffles Medical GP clinics, and even non-nursing departments in a short span of two to three years. This was unlike the MOHH scholarship where one is posted to a ward and can only rotate upon request after working there for one year. It was in a sense more difficult if I wanted to explore different nursing specialities before I commit to one. Hence, I decided to sign up with RMG.
How has your journey as an RMG Scholar been?
As an NUS student, I was posted to Raffles Hospital for most of my attachments. I have been to Ward 13, Ward 10, Ward 9, OT, and Ward 8 (paediatric ward). I also did my temporary job attachment at the intensive care unit during the holidays.
The experiences I gained during my student attachments had been pleasant. The work culture here was very positive, and my colleagues were kind and friendly. My clinical instructor was supportive of my learning and the preceptors I was tagged to were patient and provided helpful guidance when I took on cases. As part of the MAP programme, I was tagged to Chief Nurse, Lilian Yew, as my mentor for professional growth. Despite her busy schedule, she made time to meet up at different stages of my learning, provided her perspectives on certain topics that I am interested in, and guided me on career paths in Raffles Hospital that I am considering. As a result, I felt very prepared to take on the role of a staff nurse knowing what to expect from the work environment that I will be posted to at the start of my career.
What is one thing you would like to say to students considering the RMG Scholarship?
The RMG scholarship is worth considering if you aspire to make an impact in the private sector. There are many opportunities to expose yourself to different specialities in both acute and outpatient settings. Furthermore, there are career progression and tracks in Raffles Hospital that you can consider. The working culture here is positive and the management is very supportive in developing their staff. Being a relatively smaller hospital as compared to the restructured hospitals in Singapore, this would mean a greater sense of camaraderie among your colleagues and superiors.
How did you become the valedictorian of your cohort?
It happened when I was told that I was nominated as one of the candidates and had to submit my curriculum vitae for it. Without much thought, I went for it and the rest was history.
In hindsight, I was grateful to have been selected as the main valedictorian for my school, which included graduates from Bachelor of Science (Nursing), Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Honours, Bachelor of Science (Nursing Practice), Master of Nursing, and Doctor of Philosophy – Nursing.
I believe that my involvement in the school community, passion for service, and academic excellence made me a suitable candidate as a valedictorian representing the graduating class of 2022/2023.
Through my journey as a student nurse for four years and taking on leadership roles in my CCA, I was able to reflect on the struggles and accomplishments that my cohort achieved. Hence, I could represent the voice of my cohort in speaking to the public at the end of our learning journey and a new beginning of our careers.
You received a total of 8 awards during your graduation ceremony. What do these awards mean to you?
It came as a surprise to me because I assumed that there were candidates better than me. However, it came as a double blessing on top of being a valedictorian. I felt these awards were a testimony to the efforts and the degree of passion I have put into my studies. It was also a testimony to my contribution in providing a positive impact to these underprivileged groups in both the local and international communities as the president of my Community Service Club.
Nonetheless, these achievements were not by my efforts alone, but also the higher power and the circle of people who had supported me through my ups and downs during my student journey. They include my mentor, clinical instructor, preceptors, Raffles Hospital, family members, friends, lecturers, and the people from my church who had kept me in their prayers.
How do you think you can value add to RMG post-graduation?
Having been equipped with the knowledge and skills I learnt from my school curriculum, and leadership roles in my co-curricular as well as attachments in healthcare institutions, I aim to be a competent nurse at the start of my career journey. I hope that with my nursing skills, research experience, and creativity I can value-add to RMG from my primary role in providing the best care to patients using the Group’s core values of CCETV (compassion, commitment, excellence, team-based care, and value). At the same time, I strive to impact my workplace by creating research initiatives with the intention to innovate and streamline work processes for nurses on the ground and increase the quality of care for our patients.