A Girl Relates What is Needed to be a Nurse in S’pore

Taking up the role of a nurse in Singapore is basically setting yourself up for disappointment. They are the unsung heroes of the medical sector, hardly getting recognition and appreciation. To make it worse, they get abused by the very people they are working hard to care for.

There were cases of parents telling their children, “If you don’t study hard, you’ll be like that girl (nurse) over there.” If you thought that was made up by us, trust me, it’s not. What happened to those days where young girls wants to become a missy (nurse) when they grow up because the nurse taking care of them seems so cool?

People lash out whenever they’re in pain or embarrassment, at parents, spouses, doctors and nurses among many others, but none feels your anger as strongly as nurses do simply because they spend the most time with you during your stay at the hospital; they have to change your soiled diaper, change your IV tube, feed you your medicine, bring you for a bath, change your dressing and more.

In fact, if you want to call it, they’re the Maria of the hospital (and that statement by itself is pretty degrading, don’t you think?).

Whenever you walk into a hospital and you can’t find a nurse to assist you, you lose your temper and declare that the hospital’s nurses are lazing away in some quiet corner; but when you walk into the ward and see plenty of nurses standing around ready to attend to any patients who needs them, you’d sarcastically comment that it’s a blatant waste of tax money, hiring so many nurses when they’re not needed.

With this, can’t you guess why the number of local nurses in Singapore is decreasing? It’s not just because the hours are crazy and the pay isn’t much. If you were to ask me, the biggest factor behind this is how we, Singaporeans, treat the nursing occupation in Singapore – way, way beneath us.

Do you think nursing is all about “cleaning buttocks” and common sense?
A Facebook user, Charlene Teo, has taken to her Facebook account to air her frustrations. She stated in no uncertain terms why nursing is not just about “cleaning buttocks only”, and detailed out what they have to learn and why they learn them for. Read her post below, it’s extremely enlightening.

Image: Facebook (Charlene Teo) – Click image to go to her original post

Healthcare Services Employees’ Union Responds
Not long after, the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) which represents nurses supported with a call for more appreciation to nurses who often care to go beyond their call of duty.

Image: Facebook (HSEU) – Click on image to go to original post

The HSEU has been around since 1989 and it has been working closely with Ministry Of Health (MOH) and healthcare clusters to protect the interests of healthcare services employees and professionalize the healthcare industry.

An increasing need for nurses
This is an issue that has grown even more pressing in recent years, what with our growing and ageing population, and the need of our public healthcare sector to expand its healthcare services significantly, including nurses who form the backbone of the entire public healthcare system.

A National Nursing Taskforce (NNT) was set up in December 2012 to review and recommend ways to strengthen the development of nursing in Singapore. After feedback from HSEU and 2000 nurses, MOH announced plans to improve the nursing profession.

Due to Singapore’s penchant for finding interesting and relevant acronyms, the 15 recommendations given covers 4 areas – Career Development, Autonomy, Recognition and Education (CARE) and were accepted by the Ministry of Health.

nursing 1
Image: moh.gov.sg

The public has an important role to play too
So, the next time you come across a nurse in the hospital, try to be at least a little bit nicer to her because you know what, she totally deserves it. And think about it, why on earth would you want to piss off the person who’s going to take care of you when you’re at your most vulnerable?

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