33 Years in nursing and still learning
At 56 years old, Nurse Clinician Hafizah Ismail from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) was one of the oldest graduates in her nursing degree course last year. Despite her age, she got along well with her younger classmates. In fact, they consulted her during discussions because of her wealth of knowledge in psychiatric nursing and she found out more about the use of new technologies from them – it was a two-way learning experience.
Pursuing a nursing degree had always been in Hafizah's mind, but family commitments as a mother of three meant that she had to put her aspirations on the back burner. The desire arose again when IMH's Chief Nurse Samantha Ong encouraged senior nurses to upgrade themselves. With that, Hafizah took up the challenge of studying for a degree after more than 20 years away from books.
"My family had been very supportive. I was a little worried about being able to juggle studies, family and work when I first applied for the degree course. I talked to my eldest son about my concerns during his graduation ceremony and he assured me that everything would be fine. He made me wear his mortarboard and told me that my turn will come soon," she said with a smile.
Nursing is Hafizah's first job and she has been a nurse for 33 years. "I have always liked to help people and thus decided to choose nursing," she said. She picked psychiatric nursing despite the stigma attached to it in the past because she found it interesting and wanted to do something different.