Nurses are specially trained: Health Ministry medical services director

SINGAPORE - Prof Satkunanantham's post comes after Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean apologised in Parliament on Friday for a footnote in the Population White Paper that referred to nursing, retail and personal services as low-skilled jobs, and asked for it to be deleted.

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Below is a Facebook posting on the Ministry of Health Facebook page by the Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong:

DPM has clarified in Parliament that the footnote was a factual error. I regret the emotional distress that it has caused for some of our nurses. Nursing is a profession that requires a high level of clinical skill, dedication and passion. Nursing capabilities and scope of practice have also expanded to keep up with the increasing needs of the population. Our nurses are constantly stretching the horizon and seeking new ways to meaningfully contribute to our healthcare and social fabric.

The growth and development of the nursing profession in Singapore remains our priority. As we celebrate the Chinese new year, it is important that we pay tribute to our nurses and healthcare workers as important backbone of the health-care system.

Gan Kim Yong
Minister for Health


Below is a Facebook posting on the Ministry of Health Facebook page by the Ministry of Health's medical services director, Professor K. Satkunanantham:

To all our nurses

As a doctor and as the Director of Medical Services, MOH, because of the events that have unfolded over the last couple of days, I feel I have to say this.

Nursing is not a job that just anybody can do - it is a profession.

It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse - someone who is compassionate, caring, and who is willing to put the interests of others above their own. Nurses are often specially trained, and need to keep up with new developments in their field. They work in difficult situations, and have to remain professional in the face of challenges.

As a surgeon, I work with very highly trained nurses, without whom much of my work would have been impossible. In the operating theatre, nurses ensure that the most complex operations are carried out smoothly.

In the wards, nurses work to ensure the well-being of our patients and continue to do so long after everyone else has gone home. I daresay they are often under-appreciated and taken for granted - but our healthcare system would not function without them. Whether it is our hospitals, clinics or hospices they rely on our nurses.

Nurses, even though we don't always remember to say it - we appreciate you and your expertise.

Thank you for being a nurse.

Professor K Satkunanantham
Director of Medical Services