While attracting more newcomers to the nursing profession is great, it is more important to keep existing staff happy by creating a good work environment (More mid-career professionals making switch to nursing; ST Online, Aug 3).
Unhappy nurses leave the profession or seek work overseas in places like Britain and New Zealand, where the work environment is better and the pay is higher.
It is more cost-effective to keep existing staff happy than to recruit and train new staff.
There are a few ways we can retain our nurses and keep them happy.
First, doctors must treat nurses as equal and essential partners in patient care, rather than as subordinates.
Second, patients and their relatives should be understanding and respectful of the nursing staff.
Third, hospital administrators could find ways to enhance the work environment, such as providing more assistant nurses, ward clerks and patient care associates, as well as provide ward nurses with meals and refreshments.
An experienced and happy nursing team is key to good clinical outcomes for patients.
Desmond Wai (Dr)