According to the International Council of Nurses, the theme for this year’s International Nurses Day (12 May 2022, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth) is: Nurses: A Voice To Lead – Invest In Nursing And Respect Rights To Secure Global Health.
Like everywhere else, nursing in Singapore is considered to be a noble profession that demands selflessness and kindness. While the main motivation for nurses is often not the salary, it is undoubtedly still an important factor to consider especially with rising costs and inflation. The salary for nurses need to be kept competitive such that healthcare systems all around the world can retain and attract competent nurses.
If you are thinking of joining the nursing profession, or if you are a nurse looking to see how you can further your career, it might be useful to note on which nursing role in Singapore would get you the highest pay and what roles you can consider as you progress in your nursing career.
General job scope of a nurse
For the uninitiated, nursing is a highly-skilled and well-rounded profession with a diverse range of responsibilities possible depending on the nurse’s seniority, skills and medical specialisation.
The general job scope of a nurse entails the following:
- Managing patient care
- Training caregivers in basic care provision
- Educating patients and their families
- Assessing the patients’ physical and mental wellness or triaging
- Performing clinical procedures
Specific nursing responsibilities may also differ among the different nursing specialties available to our nurses. They include:
- Community health
- Critical care
- Ear, nose and throat
- Mental health
- Palliative care
Pros and cons of being a nurse
As with all professions, being a nurse in Singapore comes with its pros and cons.
Pros of being a nurse
1. Making a positive impact
Nursing is one of few professions that allow you to make a direct positive impact on others’ lives. Direct care and engagement with patients and their families makes all the difference in ensuring that they receive timely and adequate healthcare. From aiding people in recovery to helping to save lives, nursing provides literal powerful opportunities for you to help others reshape and remake their lives.
2. Immense job satisfaction
The tremendous impact that you have on others and the nature of the work also means that most nurses get immense job satisfaction. Those in the nursing profession typically are already predisposed to helping others and finding joy in doing so. To be able to tangibly help others with their healthcare needs and aid patients can often be a great source of job satisfaction and motivation for many nurses in the field.
3. Shift work
The nature of nursing means that shift work is a norm for nursing, giving nurses the chance to have a flexible work schedule that can accommodate their other social and family needs. Extra perks therefore further come in the form of allowances and the opportunity to negotiate and renegotiate a work-life balance as and when they are needed.
Cons of being a nurse
1. Intense and stressful job environment
Working in the healthcare sector can be especially stressful and intense, given possible encounters with emergencies, accidents and other gory, unpleasant, or life-and-death medical situations. That’s not to mention that nurses are often the subject of abuse as they are often the frontline patient-facing staff, responsible for patient communication and therefore bear the brunt of unhappy patients.
2. Possible job-related trauma
Prolonged exposure to stressful and traumatic situations over the course of the job can also predisposed nurses to job-related trauma such as stress disorders and decreases in mental well-being without adequate staff support networks or benefits.
3. Job inconveniences
While shift work promises flexibility, the nature of nursing work itself can be gruelling when it comes to patient care management or boring when it comes to administrative work. Shift work itself may also bring with it perils; manpower shortages may result in unanticipated requests to clock in and result in long hours. After all, nurses often find themselves hard pressed to refuse work, given societal expectations of selflessness and altruism from nurses.
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Job outlook of nurses in Singapore
Nurses in Singapore remain highly in demand, with fierce competition from employers for prospective employees. Some nursing positions are also hard to fill given that workers tend to generally prefer more regular work arrangements. The COVID-19 pandemic’s added stress on Singapore’s healthcare system have also led to many nurses exiting the nursing profession in Singapore due to long hours and fears of catching COVID-19.
The shortage of nurses in Singapore is further compounded by a rapid growth in population, rapid aging of the population, and increasing burden of chronic diseases.
The concurrent increase in demand for nurses also means that Singapore’s healthcare sector is working hard to attract and retain staff, with jobs being redesigned to take into account worker’s needs in a more comprehensive and holistic manner.
Top 5 nursing jobs by salary in Singapore
According to the 2020 Graduate Employment Survey, the median gross starting salary — which includes starting base salary, fixed allowances and overtime pay — for Enrolled Nurses was S$1766, while those for Registered Nurses were S$2600 and S$3500 with diploma and degree qualifications respectively.
Singapore’s Healthcare Services Employee’s Union have also negotiated collective agreements that help ensure that nurses’ salary ranges remain within acceptable bounds.
The nursing jobs with the top five salary ranges in Singapore are:
- Nursing Officer (Manager/Educator/Clinician): S$4,560 – S$9,230
- Assistant Nurse Clinician: S$4,060 – S$6,860
- Senior Staff Nurse: S$3,100 – S$6,300
- Staff Nurse: S$2,200 – S$4,450
- Principal Assistant Nurse: S$2,590 – S$4,400
Are such wage and labour conditions, however, necessarily adequate for Singapore’s nurses in the current climate of a post-COVID-19 world? Seeing that the last time the National Nursing Taskforce laid out recommendations for nursing in Singapore was in 2017. This International Nurses Day, a simple thing that we can do to support our nurses is to encourage discourse about improving the welfare for our nurses, and to encourage our healthcare systems to take action. Let’s also show our appreciation for our nurses whenever we can and let them know that their hard work certainly does not go unseen.
Alternative nursing roles
If you are looking for a nursing job that allows you to work at your own pace while still leveraging your professional nursing skills, Homage might be a great place for you. Here at Homage, we offer freelance, part-time, and full-time roles depending on your preferences and you can choose to work at different care settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, or private homes.
For more information about what you stand to benefit as a Homage Care Pro as well as our various job opportunities and roles, click here.
- International Nurses Day. (n.d.). ICN – International Council of Nurses. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://www.icn.ch/what-we-do/campaigns/international-nurses-day
- Teo, J. (2022, January 30). Nurses in demand as hospitals try to attract, retain staff. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/jobs/the-great-resignation-nurses-in-demand-as-hospitals-try-to-attract-retain-staff
- Chua, G. P. (2020). Challenges Confronting the Practice of Nursing in Singapore. Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing, 7(3), 259–265. https://doi.org/10.4103/apjon.apjon_13_20
- IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON RESIGNATION AND RECRUITMENT OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS. (2022, January 10). https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/impact-of-covid-19-on-resignation-and-recruitment-of-healthcare-professionals/
- HSEU Portal—Our Collective Agreements. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://hseu.org.sg/wps/portal/hseu/home/resources/ourcollectiveagreements/!ut/p/a1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOI9PF09Xd08jAwsDMJMDTyNDU2CQ4JDTf0DjYAKIoEKDHAARwOw_hBHf6h-UyNLA88QT68wIzdPIzNHmH48CgjYH64fBVaCzwVYzTB39_YL9bEIMjOFKsDjhoLc0AiDTE9FAD-mhck!/dl5/d5/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS80SmlFL1o2X0hJRUlFRkgyMDgwVjUwSTMxNFNUU1U5S00z/
- CARE FOR NURSES. (2017, August 31). https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/care-for-nurses