f Six Hundred & Fifty Four; My thoughts on the increase in salary for nurses.


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Six Hundred & Fifty Four; My thoughts on the increase in salary for nurses.

August 14, 2014 / ,

Chanced upon this post by SGAG on Facebook..

Hmmm.. I don't know if there are really many Singaporeans complaining about it,
but I just felt like jotting down my thoughts on this 'increase in salary for nurses' topic.

Basically, the gist of this piece of news is:

"About 23,000 nurses in public healthcare institutions 
and Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) institutions supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) 
can expect their monthly pay to increase by up to 20 per cent over two years.
Nurse Special Payment will also be made every December starting this year. 
For 2014 and 2015, this payment will be 0.5 months of the base salary." 

Was I glad to know about this piece of news? 
Most definitely yes.

Let me first share with you my personal encounters with some nurses over the years..

Encounter 1:
Years ago, someone close to me was admitted to the hospital due to an accident.
To cut the story short, 
I was looking for a doctor/nurse to ask about the patient's condition, but to no avail.
Finally, when a nurse entered the ward, 
I walked towards her and asked her politely for the patient's conditions.
Her response? 
She shrugged, then she said that she 'don't know because she is not in charge'.
And excused herself to another ward immediately.
I tried to give her some benefit of doubt that maybe, just maybe,
she was rushing off to attend to another patient. 
But really?

Her response showed me that she didn't even bother to at least help me to
look for 'someone who knows'.
I was anxious to know about the conditions, yet this was what I received.

I was angry.

A short while later, another nurse came into the ward because apparently, 

there was a patient who pressed the bell to call for help.

I didn't know what help she needed, but I heard the nurse clearly,
"Aiyo auntie. You don't always press the bell can? We are very busy you know?"
I was taken aback by her statement,
and undeniably, that added on to my frustrations.
So that was the day when I had negative impressions of that hospital and their nurses.

Encounter 2
Another person whom I am close to was admitted to hospital via an ambulance,
due to breathing difficulties.
I was worried and panicky, 
because I was the only one who accompanied her to the hospital.
I was told to wait outside while she was wheeled in to the A&E.
After waiting for what seemed like forever, and not receiving any update of her situation,
I approached one of the nurses to ask about the situation.
She replied, "Just wait. We will update you."
Okay, so I continued waiting.
Did she update me eventually? Nope.
The person who was in the A&E did. 
She texted me to tell me that she was fine,
and was lying on a bed and waiting for the doctor to come to her to check on her again.
Sigh.. seemed like my encounter with the nurses were all pretty negative right?
You can't blame me for being skeptical of how the nurses work,
especially in the wards when there are doctors and no relatives around, 
when it is just the patients and them. 
I know it is unfair to judge base on the the nurses which I met, but I couldn't help it.

Encounter 3
So the person who was mentioned in Encounter 2, stayed in the hospital for observance.
This time, when I visited, it was a pleasant experience. 
The nurse who was in charge of the ward came into the room to check on the patients.
She appeared very caring and gentle to all the patients.
And, she gave us a bright and cheery smile when she walked towards us.
That was the moment, when my impression of 'nurses' finally changed for the better.

It then made me wonder. 
Why? Why the differences in the attitude?
Was it the work environment? 
Was it the stress that they have to deal with everyday?
Being a nurse is definitely not an easy task at all, 
especially when they need to ensure accuracy and productivity is kept high for every patient. 
One wrong move could potentially put a patient’s life in danger..

While it is obvious that the increase in salary is a way to attract people to join the workforce,
I think what is more important, 
is whether the implementations of the other measures can target the root of the problem: 
With the increase in demand of healthcare services, 
how do we make sure that the healthcare system can work more efficiently?

I was glad when I came to know that besides the pay hikes

there will also be wider job scopes and improved career progression 
for the nurses in the public sector. 

This comes in line with what our Labour Movement (NTUC) 

has been pushing for the workers in all sectors all these while:
"..that productivity growth and wage increases should go hand-in-hand
to achieve and sustain a virtuous cycle of higher productivity and gain-sharing, 
not only in terms of wages but also in skills and jobs." 

With a tight labour market, 

companies need to continually invest in their workers to ensure productivity growth. 
This is also reflected in NTUC’s “call to improve skills, productivity, job prospects and wages through 
the Progressive Wage Model for all workers in all sectors”. 

One of the new measures implemented includes the addition of a new role -
Assistant Nurse Clinician (ANC), 
to allow experienced nurses to take up clinical leadership roles, 
as well as enable them to help provide overall supervision and guidance 
when delivering care to patients. 
With the increase in leadership roles provided, 
I believe that this will be a good source of motivation 
for the nurses to be eager to equip themselves with higher skills and knowledge for progression.
When there is a target to work towards to, the enthusiasm level increases naturally.

Most importantly, I hope to see an improved work environment for the nurses, 
and also improved solutions to help make nurses’ work more efficient and productive. 
In turn, hopefully this creates a better working attitude 
towards the patients and their loved ones, given the decrease on the stress-o-meter.

I think it is very important that the nurses (& doctors) must truly love their jobs, 
in order for their genuine care and concern, and patience 
(which are qualities that are so important in this line) to be reflected in their daily tasks.

I am looking forward to see the improvements in the healthcare industry :)
(P.S Not that I would like to visit the hospital anytime soon,
but I do hope that the next time I do, I will have a pleasant experience!)
  1. i happen to be a nurse at a&e and we all see where you are coming from for sure. in an ideal situation i'm sure everyone would be happy to have some time to update families about their relative's condition as early as possible, but the situation in public hospitals is like that - it's flooded in the a&e and in a situation (every day) when there's still 10 more new patients coming in who are sick, the priority (i'm sure you'll agree with me) is to make sure all is done for the 10 new patients, rather than to update the anxious families, which we unfortunately have to leave hanging, sometimes for hours. at least the patients are being attended to! i mean if you ask me to focus on the medical or service aspect of my job, i definitely will choose the medical aspect, because there's where the life and death situation lies. in public hospitals and in the a&e, we get shouted at all the time by family members who ask 'why the doctor take so long to come' 'why no update' 'why no bed in the ward yet'...trust me, no one is slacking and everyone is busy especially in public hospitals. when i'm sick, i go to private hospital if i want things done faster and don't mind paying. this is the unfortunate situation.

    1. Hi Rach!

      Thank you so much for sharing your side of the story with me. :) It provided me with an insight of your job. I truly understand that your job as a nurse is really not easy, and thank you for the lives that you have saved in the course of your work. I hope your passion will guide you far in this field! All the best to you :)