While there were openings across all sectors, nursing was one of the professions where talent was highly sought after but unpopular among Singaporeans, the Ministry of Manpower’s latest annual report on job vacancies showed.
In fact, as at September last year, the number of vacancies for Registered Nurse (660) and Enrolled/Assistant Nurse (590) that were unfilled for at least six months were the highest among PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) jobs. These two posts also had the highest incidences of vacancies among PMET jobs that employers reported were hard to fill by Singaporeans.
Tanjong Pagar GRC Member of Parliament Chia Shi-Lu, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committees for Health, noted that some nursing positions are put up in advance. For instance, the planning for a new hospital’s manpower needs is done two to four years ahead of time. “We actually put (the hired nurses) in other hospitals while waiting for the new hospitals to come up,” said Dr Chia, a consultant at Singapore General Hospital. The Government had previously announced plans to build two acute hospitals, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital, and four community hospitals by 2020. The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, for example, will open in Jurong East by July.
Dr Chia acknowledged that hospitals have difficulties in filling nursing positions. Citing the high turnover rate and the setting up of more hospitals and clinics, he added that demand for nurses remain high even though the supply has been increased. One way to improve the situation is through redesigning the job, such as expanding the role of the nurse, and using technology to make the work more efficient, Dr Chia said.
news source & image credits: todayonline.com