Explore more ways to retain trained nurses

I read the Ministry of Health's letter with interest (Career progression pathways, training opportunities in place for nurses; July 6).

Much has been done to attract people into nursing, including increasing nurses' wages and providing career progression for them.

And rightly so. With an ageing population in Singapore, the demand for medical care will only increase, and with it, the need for nurses.

While it is important to attract more to join the profession, it is equally important to minimise turnover in the industry. Retaining nurses should be a top priority for the MOH, as it takes years to train nurses. This would also quickly address the manpower shortage in this area.

The healthcare industry has been widely acknowledged to be a stressful industry, with manpower shortages, long working hours and demanding job responsibilities. These have led to experienced nurses leaving the profession for a whole range of reasons.

Perhaps the Ministry could consider some suggestions.

First, create job-sharing opportunities, for example, allowing two nurses to share one shift of work. This will allow nurses with family commitments, such as taking care of young children or elderly parents, to continue working with shorter hours.

Second, reward those who have made nursing their long-term career with free healthcare benefits for life. This could apply to those who have worked as a nurse for more than 30 years.

Che Pei Chin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'Explore more ways to retain trained nurses'. Print Edition | Subscribe