The Hospital Authority is recruiting a significant number of enrolled and registered nurses for both new and replacement positions to meet demand and head off a shortage. 'People should realise this is a challenging and tough profession,' says Sylvia Fung, the authority's chief manager of nursing. 'It requires professionalism and commitment in order to deal with escalating public expectations and advancing health care technologies.' Ideally, candidates should have a caring attitude, good interpersonal skills and be able to work under pressure. They should also be resilient and show they can apply critical thinking, as successful applicants will be required to work in public hospitals. The authority has reopened nursing schools to meet the increasing need for well-trained professionals. About 600 new nurses will qualify next year, but there will be steady demand in the years ahead. 'School leavers and other people who want to change careers can apply for enrolment in the nurse education programme at various universities,' Fung says. 'After graduation as qualified nurses, they can progress from frontline positions to become managers, senior nursing practitioners or clinical team leaders.' Career prospects are also good for registered nurses willing to upgrade their skills by taking knowledge enhancement programmes. Those planning to focus on providing clinical services at a higher level can move up as advanced practice nurses and then nurse consultants.