Forum: Nurses’ welfare must continue to improve

Hiring foreign nurses will alleviate our current manpower shortage, but improvement in nurses’ welfare must continue in tandem (Singapore to hire about 4,000 new nurses by end-2023, Nov 22).

Healthcare workers have professional obligations, but they must be granted enhanced privileges too. 

It is gratifying that the Government has recognised the sterling service of public sector nursing staff during the past three trying years, giving them a well-deserved special payment package.

However, the challenges nurses face will continue, and those who are in this line are aware that they never end.

Nurses follow a medical career parallel to doctors and deserve a similar professional status. They must not be taken to be of lesser worth by disrespectful patients and arrogant doctors.

A stint in Singapore often earns foreign nurses credibility in the eyes of overseas hospital employers, and they then depart for greener pastures in the Middle East or the United States. Are the pay and incentives we give them competitive enough?

Remuneration and respect aside, we should all do our part to properly integrate foreign medical personnel into our society. One way to do that is to overcome personal biases or cultural and language differences.

Only then can we inculcate loyalty and commitment in nurses who are able to take on the work here, and also benefit from their life experiences.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

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