Dr Shirley Ching, PolyU programme leader of the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Nursing, says the shortage of nurses means the employment rate for fresh graduates is 100 per cent.
To promote nursing and in response to the four-year tertiary education reform, the HKU and PolyU plan to launch both new and revised programmes. These include replacing the current four-year programmes with a five-year bachelor of nursing and a five-year mental health nursing programme.
"One of the attractions of our new programme is the flexibility for students to study different areas of nursing care. For example, community health care," says Ching. "Students will still need to complete on-the-job training to gain expertise, but at least they will be able to get a taste of nursing areas they might like to specialise in."
PolyU also offers a three-year, full-time master's programme in nursing for students who already hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject, such as biology. The same programme is offered over two years for students who have already completed their bachelor in nursing degree.
"Our programmes are developed to provide students with a comprehensive and holistic nursing education which strives to achieve professional excellence in nursing," says Ching.
According to Frederick Yeung, PolyU programme leader of BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Nursing, a growing awareness of the need for psychiatric health care is also driving demand for nurses specialising in the field.
He says job opportunities for qualified mental health care nurses are excellent. In addition to the Hospital Authority - the city's largest mental health nurse employer - non-government organisations which operate hostels and community care facilities, as well as the Social Welfare Department, are in need of psychiatric nurses.
Another big employer is the Correctional Services Department, which needs nurses to care for prisoners with mental health problems. "As society