More benefits rolled out for nurses in the public sector

A National University Hospital nurse (in blue uniform) cleaning a patient's wound as her fellow nurses watch. -- PHOTO: NUH
A National University Hospital nurse (in blue uniform) cleaning a patient's wound as her fellow nurses watch. -- PHOTO: NUH

SINGAPORE - In a bid to attract and retain more nurses in public healthcare, the Health Ministry (MOH) is rolling out an extensive package of benefits for them.

These include more autonomy for senior nurses, generous pay increases, and greater opportunities for career development across the board.

These recommendations were proposed by the National Nursing Taskforce, and accepted by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday. They will be given to all nurses in public healthcare and MOH-supported intermediate and long-term care institutions.

Enrolled nurses from the Institutes of Technical Education previously had to have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 in order to apply to become registered nurses. This requirement has now been removed as many such nurses gain experience in the course of their career, said the Health Ministry on Tuesday.

Senior nurses will also be given the independence to make certain diagnoses or order certain treatments, which would previously have to be approved by a doctor.

Support staff such as nursing aides will go through skills training to perform routine tasks usually undertaken by a nurse - drawing blood, for instance - freeing up nurses to practice at the top of their skill levels.

Nurses could also get more than 20 per cent increase in their monthly base salary by the end of next year. All nurses will receive an increase of between three to 10 per cent this year, and a similar increase in 2015.

They will also get a annual Nurse Special Payment starting this year. For 2014 and 2015, this payment will be 0.5 months of base salary.

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