The NUS Education and Learning Blog

Month: July 2018

What to Know Prior to Pursuing a Medical Career


There is a common (and vaguely insulting) assumption that, because most nurses work three days a week on average, they are not putting in as much mental and physical effort. What most people may not realise is that, on average, a nurse’s shift is twelve hours (sometimes being dragged out to thirteen or even fifteen, if the shift gets particularly busy). It is impossible to account for everything that will happen in a single shift. There is too much margin for error, too many shifting variables. Every shift is different than the last, and being a nurse demands that the individual can not only master all their own daily tasks and the tasks of the doctor on call, but the unexpected as well.

While doctors undeniably earn their praise, nurses often get shoved to the sidelines and regarded as merely the people that write up the charts and check the vitals (as if these tasks are not important enough on their own). The individuals that nurse people back to health when they falter are literally the nurses. After the surgeries and the diagnosis’ are through, it is more often than not the nurses that are charged with the follow up, with ensuring the stable recovery of the patients in their care.

The nursing profession has been referred to many times as the “Navy Seals” of the healthcare industry. this statement alone signals the emotional, mental, and physical strain that nurses endure every time they walk into the hospital in their scrubs. On an average day, a nurse will admit patients, check vitals, write up charts, measure, dose, and administer medications to patients, and do their multiple rounds checking in on said patients. On a busy day, in addition to all their regular daily tasks, a nurse will be thrust into emergency admission procedures. They might not even get time to eat their lunch. The life of a nurse is often a tired one, but it is a worthy and incredibly rewarding career path.

Individuals that opt to study a Bachelor of Nursing take it upon themselves to assume accountability for the wellbeing and general health of not only their patients, but themselves as well. Generally, the kind of person that builds a career as a nurse is the kind of person that is compassionate, determined, and strong – a cocktail of personal traits that do not often register on the same scale when looking at a prospective career. It takes a special kind of person to become a nurse, and building a career in such a people-centred industry is bound to be one of the most rewarding career paths that an individual can embark on.

The demand for nurses is always consistent, and with the healthcare industry calling for a new generation of individuals who want to be innovators of the industry, having a career as a nurse and dedicating one’s life to improving the health and lives of those around them has never been more honourable.


Is a Degree Still Important in Employment?


Over the years the battle between whether or not a university degree is necessary has been fought. People believe that school, university, a job, and marriage is the way life is supposed to be, and even today many want to live up to those societal standards. Education as a whole doesn’t refer to just acquired knowledge from institutes or online courses, more broadly it describes acquired learning on a day to day basis. In a way, one can get an education without ever going to school or university. However, many believe there is still a requirement for degrees in order to get employed full time and get a better salary.

When some of the most successful people are talked about many times the most common characteristic is that of autodidactism. These people strongly believe that it is necessary to learn every single day, they also usually read a lot. Even then, it is seen that big companies and other employment opportunities come easier to those with higher education qualifications. That is when the question about the importance of degrees arises. Most successful people have proven to be intelligent and capable without a degree, for example through taking online education instead. However, even in the world of millennials, where everything is available digitally, where social media dictates actions, people are still judged on their ability to avail higher education.

What a formal education indicates is one’s availability to dedicate time and effort into learning about their chosen careers. Some people believe that people with a degree have acquired better skills in terms of writing and speaking. However, in today’s world where everything can be outsourced, where companies can get professional writers just by looking online or freelance digital marketers in a span of minutes. Therefore, where skills can be so easily found, and even more easily acquired the real importance of a degree can be questioned. Yet there is still a higher employment percentage and earning potential for those with a degree, even today.

However, how important are a formal education and a degree in times where every bit of information is readily available in people’s fingertips? Online courses as education are becoming more lucidly accepted publicly by day, even some of the most highly acknowledged institutions are providing online courses. Online education seems to be the future as it is convenient and demonstrates the skills one can acquire by simply dedicating ones attention to the knowledge one wants. It is important to realize that online education requires an amount of disciple which can be difficult to practice for a lot of people. Concentration is also a big factor in autodidactism, one must be willing and able to learn. These characteristics, in general, make for better employment positions.

While degrees continue being a major factor of employment a lot of big-name companies are starting to allow it to dissolve as a requirement. This is because more and more of the job positions available are internet based and training for them is available everywhere. Places like Edx, Coursera, Udacity and more are creating a big shift in terms of formal education. Some companies like HubSpot and Google are also starting to provide courses for their particular features like CRM or analytics. Overall, it is necessary to not that in today’s world a degree won’t be as important as it used to be because people are coming to accept that it, in reality, doesn’t portray a person’s caliber.

Education of the Future: Mental, Philosophical and Technological Investments

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Of all the changing and developing industries of the modern world, education remains to be one of the most challenging and demanding ones as it directly interferes with human lives at a very fundamental level. All the jobs require some sort of a formal education while the society itself values and promotes higher learning and therefore education is an integral part of modern living. Technology, another highly valued and promoted element of modernity, has infiltrated into the education sector from a very centralized point of view and the marriage between modern day education and technology promises nothing short of efficiency and success for students, educators and the markets alike. As the collaboration strengthens between these camps, it becomes obvious that the society as a whole will also benefit from it, which means that it will be increasingly important in the future to consider technology as an integral part of education and vice a versa. Whether it be science departments using state-of-the-art laser systems, computer departments providing lightning fast internet connections through top notch servers or students being able to afford high quality bullet journal notebooks, the given relationship will surely help both students and their institutions achieve more in terms of discovering, understanding and applying information.

Alejnadro Paniagua for The Brookings Institute reports on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s new project “Innovative Pedagogies for Powerful Learning (IPPL)” which intends on bringing innovation to urban schools of the world which are at large stuck up with everyday realities to pay attention to the issue. The system considers teachers to be important individuals with innovative educational ideas and not simple technicians and therefore the current education paradigm limits their capabilities. In order to overcome this issue, the system seeks to create a common international framework of pedagogies to include “hundreds or even thousands of innovative cases and experiences coming from diverse sources” in the name of equipping such teachers with the right type of educational information and experience. IPPL also intends to bring new and promising educational practices and approaches to integrate them into the grander learning theory by paying attention to their inclinations such as “play, emotions, creativity, collaboration, and inquiry” as the system’s “innovative clusters consciously promote the engagement of learners and match the fundamentals of learning to better understand how people learn best.” The theoretical innovation will be applied to the educational systems in the OECD countries to initiate collaboration between them to attain more reliable and constructive results. Once a grand information network is established, the new generations of educators will have access to crucial information and data to be able to directly target key issues emergent in their systems but more importantly to communicate with others to come up with plausible remedies.

Mike Slagadze for Forbes Magazine considers the move towards a more integrated and efficient future in global education through a philosophical prism to outline three major innovations in approaching education. The first innovation is how learning in the new age will “mirror how we learn outside of the classroom” meaning that high-tech devices and software will be utilized to replace the traditional modes of learning. Since we are already using such gadgets and programs to learn outside the classroom, it will be match in heaven for schools to integrate them into their actual curriculums to help the struggling students continue their learning curves into the classrooms by using the same methods and approaches. Slagadze also underlines the fact that the new age of learning will be more interactive to bring dynamism into the classroom experience to create group work and peer collaboration. This way, students will be encouraged to interact with one another to learn from each others’ rights and wrongs to eradicate their fears related to the process of learning and its possible glitches and outcomes. Finally, Slagadze notes how learning will take a lifetime by becoming a lifelong effort as the job markets are constantly evolving which demands the future employees to constantly renovate themselves and develop new skills and capabilities to adapt to the changing working environments. Apart from employment, the general social paradigm will shift towards a more liberal and accepting outlook within which critical thinking and communication skills will play an integral role in establishing social relations. This scenario will also demand that individuals will be prone to learning and embracing new ideas while communicating them with one another to be able to succeed in the actual life itself.

John M. Eger for The Huffington Post reports on technological progress as a great participant to the modern day educational system to emphasize the role of investment by big firms and corporations in this pursuit. Eger begins his argument by stating that with more and more sophisticated artificial intelligence and robotics popping up daily, the labor market has significantly changed and that in the next 20 years 43% of the existing human jobs today will perish. The author then claims that regardless of this trend, individuals and their education will still matter while the colleges and universities need to focus on more precise, accurate and productive means and methods of teaching to save time, money and effort. Eger then states that Oracle has already invested $43 million to start the Design Tech High School to help ambitious and talented students produce prototypes while Google also has donated $50 million to organizations which focus on developing technical expertise in students with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook also having donated $100 million already. As businesses become more technically specific and demanding, there will be further investments of this sort not only for publicity related reasons but also for practicality reasons, investing into schools and institutions that will educate potential employees for their companies to carry out sophisticated processes. As this system become more popular and begins to have more direct impacts on students’ careers and their placement in the workforce, the education of the future will benefit significantly from technological investments and related business development for sure.

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