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Pay rise, special bonus for about 23,000 nurses

Changes recommended by National Nursing Taskforce will see more nurses get more training and step up to leadership roles.

SINGAPORE: 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.

A 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.

These changes are part of the 15 recommendations the National Nursing Taskforce has submitted to the Health Ministry to enhance the growth, professional development and recognition of nurses. The taskforce, which was set up in 2012 to review and chart the future direction of the nursing profession, had all of its 15 “wide-ranging” recommendations accepted by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Wednesday (Aug 6).

"It is an exciting time to be a nurse as opportunities abound across care settings. More nurses will be needed and we must equip our nurses with higher skills and knowledge and allow them to practice at the top of their license and lead the change in our healthcare system," said Mr Gan. 

With these changes, more Enrolled Nurses - nurses who are trained at the Institute of Technical Education - will have the opportunity to be upgraded at polytechnics to become Registered Nurses. The part-time bridging course, currently offered at Nanyang and Ngee Ann Polytechnics, is for those who did not meet the academic requirement in their NITEC nursing course and would like to enrol in nursing diploma courses. 

Under the taskforce's recommendations, the GPA criteria of 2.8 for this course will be removed and nurses can use at least three years of post-enrollment nursing work as well as an employer's testimonial to move on to become a Registered Nurse.

MORE LEADERSHIP ROLES

A new role - called Assistant Nurse Clinician (ANC) - will also be created 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.

Ms Zarina Ahmad, a Senior Staff Nurse at Changi General Hospital, welcomed the move: "The introduction of the ANC signals strong support for Senior Staff Nurses like me, and it empowers us to create a great learning environment for our nurses."

Nurses' roles will also be expanded to enable them to make more diagnoses and investigations for certain diseases and to order treatment.

For example, MOH will work towards granting Advanced Practice Nurses and Nurse Clinicians the ability to prescribe medicines in the future, so patients need not see a doctor. The Advanced Clinical Education of nurses and Advanced Practice Nurses internships will also be enhanced to better equip them with such skills.

MOH will also set up a National Council of Nursing Education to oversee and enhance nursing education and training.

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