Nursing: A Holistic Education For Holistic Care
The mention of nursing calls to mind Florence Nightingale who tended the sick and the wounded on the battlefields of the Crimean War. Nurses nowadays work in more diverse settings and their training is all the more sophisticated, but the qualities that constitute the making of a nurse have not changed over the decades. As Prof. Chair Sek-ying, Director of The Nethersole School of Nursing, explained, ‘We look for applicants who are enthusiastic and committed to serving in the healthcare field.’
There are good reasons for Professor Chair’s high expectation of the applicants. Each year, around 6,000 applicants compete for 200 places on offer at the CUHK’s nursing programme. In one Quacquarelli Symonds ranking by subjects, CUHK came first in nursing locally and third in Asia. The Nethersole School of Nursing was named in honour of the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Charity Foundation, and it has been offering training in nursing since 1991.
CUHK’s nursing programme is known for its professional education and academic rigour. To prepare students for a successful nursing career, the programme provides a comprehensive range of courses including biological and behavioural sciences, health promotion and maintenance, nursing research and information technology.
As with many other disciplines, the first months of university life could be quite ‘tumultuous’ for school leavers.
First-year students participate in a mentorship scheme which helps them settle in. Novel teaching and learning technologies such as Clickers and UReply are used to enhance student interaction in class. Small tutorial classes are conducted to consolidate learning through thorough discussion.
Kevin Yau, a year 4 student majoring in nursing, is ready to vouch for the benefits of such tutorial classes to his academic and professional education.
‘Small-class tutorials are the ideal platform for nursing students to exchange and evaluate their experience in clinical practice,’ Kevin said.
Another unique feature of the CUHK nursing programme is its emphasis on whole-person development. The School sees to it that students are equipped not only with professional skills, but also the cultural competency to see how nursing adapts to different societal conditions.
‘Student Exchange’ is one of the major elective courses of the nursing programme, and nearly half of all final-year students visit an overseas university for two to three weeks. Participants can learn more about other cultures, as well as how nursing education and practices are conducted outside of Hong Kong. With the support of the Nethersole Endowment Fund, the School sponsors 75% of the airfare, accommodation expenses and fees for lectures and clinical visits.
Nurses work in diverse healthcare settings, ranging from general practices and clinics to hospitals and nursing homes. They also work in correctional facilities, schools, and NGOs, or participate in humanitarian aid in war zones and disaster-struck areas. While administering to the needs of patients is the most commonly known duty of nurses, other lesser known roles include management, training, and research. The opportunities available to nurses are as many as the challenges facing them, given the versatility of the profession.
Such a view is echoed by Kevin.
‘A nurse’s job is not only about handling documents or medical tools. Nurses focus on the overall well-being of their clients. People may think that nurses are just assistants to doctors, but I think they do much more than that. Nurses must possess critical thinking and decision-making skills as well as empathy when delivering holistic care to clients,’ he said.
‘The programme provides students with a lot of practical training beneficial to our future career in various healthcare settings. I am sure I can apply what I’ve learnt here to my nursing career, no matter what position I will be posted to.’
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2018