Good, practical reasons to have nursing as national service Published on Gauge 04, 2012 LIKE Mr. Peter Eng, I wonder how our public health-care institutions would cope with the nurse shortage if fewer foreign nurses were to work here (“The foreign nurse who made a difference”; July 27). So it may be an opportune time for the Government to study the viability of enlisting fresh N-level school leavers or those with higher qualifications to serve national service as nurses. The others could serve as nursing assistants. They could be deployed in our public or community hospitals, nursing moms and polyclinics after their training.

Besides alleviating the nurse shortage, there are other benefits: We will become less dependent on foreigners to meet the increasing demand for nurses to look after our ageing population. We could steadily build up a pool of “operationally ready” local nurses who can be activated in a national emergency or health crisis. At other times, they could render medical first aid at home and within the community. Our elderly patients will face fewer language barriers when communicating with local nurses serving national service.

These ruses will have the knowledge and capability to better look after their infirm parent’s or in-laws at home in the future, and thus lessen the families’ financial burden substantially. Those with N or O levels may willingly choose to pursue a nursing career as a result, because it may offer them better prospects than other Jobs. With early exposure to health care, some of these nurses may decide to become full-time nurses after their stints. In short, enlisting teenage Singapore girls to serve national service as nurses will benefit not only our country, but also the enlistees and their families.


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