What does it mean to be a nurse (overseas)?

Today, we get to talk to Rachel Sum Lai Teng. Rachel graduated from AMC, F6 Sam Tet and obtained her Nursing degree in Houston, Texas USA. She graduated as a Registered Nurse (RN) in May 2011 and has been working at a hospital in the Texas Medical Center in an Intermediate Care Unit.


Can you briefly describe your journey?

My path is slightly different because I went to America for my nursing degree. I did it after Form 6 (Sam Tet).

Requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in the USA is 4 years of study. This includes

  • 2 years of prerequisites (just like 2 years of F6 or 2 years of basic courses at a college), and then
  • 2 years of nursing school

What did you learn at nursing school in the USA?

During the last two years of nursing school, you will go to school on campus, and do clinical rotations at the hospital. These 2 years are very interesting and fun, you get to learn a lot of new things, and deal with patients in a real life situation.

  • In school, you will learn knowledge pertinent to nursing field such as: anatomy and physiology of the body, pharmacology/medications, pathophysiology, psychology/mental health, child development, labor and delivery, nursing research, geriatrics, community health etc. Nursing is holistic and you learn every aspect of a human’s life.
  • In clinical rotations, you will go to different hospitals such as adult hospital, children hospital, cancer hospital, and psychiatric hospital to learn how to take care of different patients. There, you will follow a nurse to learn and practice their routine work.

What do you get to do later on, after you become a nurse?

Being a nurse, there are many different fields that you can choose to have specialty in after you graduate, such as: cardiology nurse, oncology nurse, pediatric nurse, acute care, critical care nurse, pshychiatric, neurology, medical/surgical nurse. This nursing career is so broad and leads you to many choices that you can involve in, it is really awesome!

This is also a career which allows you to work anyhere in the world, as nurses are in demand now, it is easy to find a job too. Hence, people go for this career for job security. It is also very fexible in terms of work settings as you don’t necessarily have to work at a hospital. For instance, you can work at a school as a school nurse, or at a business company where they have employee health clinic, community nurse that deals with epidemic, private clinics, army, etc.. There are many fields out there that a nurse can be involved in.

Are there common misconceptions about the nursing career?

Many people have the fallacy that all nurses do is to clean people up. This is actually not all we do, we actually have a different job description. Over here, we have PCA (Personal Care Assistant) that does all the cleaning for patients. We sometimes help out if they are busy with other work.

Nurses mainly monitor patient’s condition (such as listen to their heart, lungs, assees their pulses, monitor EKG etc), intervene immediately if there is any change in their conditions because doctors are not at the bedside at all times, critical thinking, do lab works for them, comforting family members, deal with patient’s emotions and feelings, administer medications, advocate for patients, etc…You will learn so much in this field and you will never cease learning after being a nurse because there are always new technology and knowledge to learn to enrich yourself so you will be more successful in your career.

If you feel like you want to be a doctor, you can always pursue a higher degree in nursing called DNP (Doctorate in Nurse Practitioner). You operate as a doctor, depends on which area you are in, and you can prescribe medications for them and be able to help people more.

What are your thoughts after having worked as a nurse for the past few years?

You will feel very rewarding being a nurse. If you are passionate in science, biology, helping and caring for people, this is a career that is worth considering. If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to contact me! I would love to answer any questions you have.

Here are several ways to contact me:
Email: rachelsumlt@gmail.com
Facebook: Rachel Sum (laiteng@hotmail.com)
Skype: Rachel Sum

Good luck! :)


Leave a Reply