Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nurses' Day 2011

Re: Nurses’ Day 2011

Dear Friends,

Nurses working in Singapore’s hospitals are an under-appreciated lot.

They often encounter abuse from those around them: patients,  patient’s relatives and sometimes even from over-bearing doctors.

Is it any wonder that Nursing is seldom the vocation of choice for many of Singapore’s youths?

Hence, Singapore is fortunate that nurses from the Philippines, India and even China continue to come to our shores as we are competing with the rest of the developed world for these “Florence Nightingales”.

Truth be told, we are seldom the first choice for these foreign nurses. Most would have preferred the USA, Australia, Canada or the UK.

Some eventually go onto their “dream” destinations but many do sink roots here and have become Permanent Residents or even citizens.

They face the same problems as other new immigrants namely integration, discrimination, isolation and loss of identity. ( but that is the subject for another day).

I want to wish all Nurses working in Singapore’s healthcare – hospitals (public/private); clinics; Nursing homes, a meaningful and happy Nurses Day 2011.

You are an important and indispensable part of the medical team.


Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan

Related links/news:


Anonymous said...

A big Thank You to all the care-givers no matter where You are from.
May You yourselves be healthy and happy to continue to care for others.

Fr: patriot

Anonymous said...

A big Thank You to all the care-givers no matter where You are from.
May You yourselves be healthy and happy to continue to care for others.

Fr: patriot

Winking Doll said...

Dear Dr Huang,

I am one of the Singapore-trained nurses who has left nursing in Singapore rather quickly, after 1+ year.

Frankly, I don't think the situation will improve much based on the "solution" mentioned in the 2nd link of your blog. The problem with the current (political and government organizations) is that the "standard" solution to problems is money. Raise pay, increase fee, add fines, give rebates, whatever. However, changing the money aspect alone will not solve the problems faced by nurses.

IMHO, what I wrote on Nurses' Day 1 year ago still holds true. [shameless plug here]

Nurses in Singapore do not have an effective union. [In fact, IMHO, there "an effective union" is an oxymoron in Singapore.] Nor do nurses have an ombudsman to investigate when problems occur. The unreasonableness of some nursing management orders that I encountered as a nurse can only be laughed-off by treating it as black humour.

While it is critical that foreign nurses are recruited to augment the local nurses numbers, the relatively free-flow of nursing labour brings other problems. From employment discrimination (imagine your pay depends on the passport you hold... how skilled are you compared to a maid?), significant variances in nursing standards, to cultural differences (e.g. in how new nurses should be precepted), to out-right nationalistic cliques and bullying.

My experience as a rookie nurse may be that of only 1 person. However, based on sharing with others, I know that I'm not alone in my experience. To this day, I count myself blessed, for I knew right from the start that I had the means to leave.

As far as I know, Dr Huang, you're spot-on that for many foreign nurses, Singapore is not their first choice. Many cannot make the cut directly from their country of origin to their ideal country and thus made Singapore their stepping stone. In addition, a significant group of locals are joining nursing nowadays only as a means to leave Singapore.

Whatever their reasons for becoming a nurse, IMHO, they still deserve thanks -- for nursing in Singapore is tough indeed.