SINGAPORE — Nurses will be given a retention payment as part of efforts to retain them in Singapore amid the major burden that they continue to face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (29 July).
Speaking at an event to award healthcare scholarships, Ong said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be planning an enhanced package for nurses for this year and 2023. MOH will announce more details on Nurses’ Day on 1 August.
The retention payment comes after the authorities awarded special bonuses in 2020 and also a COVID-19 healthcare award in 2021 due to the pandemic.
Ong called for a supportive work environment to enable nurses to perform at their highest level and manage their workload, such as deploying healthcare attendants, encouraging family members to help in the daily activities of patients, and reducing unnecessary administrative work.
There is also a need to attract younger people in Singapore into nursing, Ong said.
“The good thing is that I believe the standing of nurses has risen significantly in our society over the years. They are often seen as heroes and role models, and it is now common to meet young people, both men and women, who aspire to be nurses or allied health professionals,” he added.
According to Ong’s estimate, about 5 per cent of every cohort of about 35,000 students are going into nursing, which he said is a “very fair share” of Singapore’s precious and limited local talent pool.
There is also a need to attract foreign nurses to complement the local healthcare workforce amid the intense competition in many countries for their skills due to the pandemic, Ong said.
Foreign nurses, who are now a third of practising nurses in Singapore, should be made to feel that they are an integral part of the healthcare family, and can continue to develop their careers here, he added.
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