Nursing task force finalising proposals

Singapore's nurses would like a better work-life balance, more career opportunities and greater recognition of what they do.

These hopes are expected to form some of the recommendations being finalised by the National Nursing Taskforce (NNT) which has met more than 2,000 nurses in 18 dialogues since December last year.

Set up in December 2012 to review and recommend ways to develop the nursing profession, it is expected to make its recommendations to the Government soon.

The NNT sought their views on areas such as enhancing their role, strengthening their education and professional development, career advancement and improving recognition for the profession.

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, held her third and final dialogue with 15 nurses at the Ministry of Health yesterday.

By 2020, Singapore will need about 20,000 more health-care professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals.

There are about 36,000 nurses today.

"Nursing is the backbone of the health-care sector," said Dr Khor. "We need nurses in the implementation of our Healthcare 2020 Masterplan... as we expand our health-care facilities, including building more community hospitals, nursing homes and senior care centres," she added.

Ms Reysham Kaur Gursharan Singh, 27, a senior staff nurse at the National University Hospital, said that better recognition will go a long way in attracting people to the profession.

"Our job scope includes value-added duties," she said. "Behind the scenes, we assist doctors, develop protocols and guidelines to help patients."

On the preliminary recommendations made by the NNT, she added: "They echo the sentiments of nurses in improving our image and improving the attraction and retention of nurses."

This article was first published on July 15, 2014.
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