Many people yearn for nursing jobs, lured by the attractive public image of nurses as angels in white, the stability of the jobs and the decent wage provided. A survey conducted by the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong and the City University of Hong Kong shows that nursing is one of the top three vocational tendencies among secondary school students. Yet, there is an excess of nursing students, generating a series of problems in the sector.
Years ago, recruitment of nurses saw large expansion in part due to the aging trend of practitioners. However, with a large inflow of fresh workforce, the turnover of nursing positions has gradually decreased. For this year, the Hospital Authority (HA) has received job applications from up to 186 fresh graduates of psychiatric nursing. Meanwhile, the number of registered nurse admitted by the HA this year has dropped, with only 69, or 10%, of all applicants recruited by the authority in its first-phase employment. This indicates the market demand for nurses is close to saturation.
In addition, overseas graduates should consider the difficulty in landing a nursing job in Hong Kong. Local graduates are not required to take the licensing examination as local nursing courses are approved by the Nursing Council of Hong Kong (NCHK), but overseas graduates can secure a place in Hong Kong only if they pass the licensing examination. But the passing rate of the Nursing Council licensing examination for registration was only 4.95% last year, and only five people passed all assessment for the whole year. Only about one fifth of candidates have obtained qualification for the practical test in the past four years. Analysts contributed it to the inability of overseas nurses to adapt to the examination system in Hong Kong.
Fairy tales may be on the verge of collapse, and those who are interested in becoming nurses should take the reality into account, instead of blindly following the trend.