S'pore nurses allowed to wear uniform in public, explained

Hospitals and nurses observe strict hygiene protocols.

Belmont Lay| February 11, 05:33 PM

Nurses in Singapore are being shunned by some members of the public who are worried that healthcare workers are carriers of the novel coronavirus.

However, there is no basis for this belief as hospitals here have in place protocols that prescribe the strict hygiene standards nurses have to adhere to, some details of which were reported by Today.

As unfathomable as it is that healthcare professionals should be suspected for being virus carriers, more light shone on this topic will enable the public to dispel any irrational fears of contamination from those whose duty is to be clean.

What is the general rule regarding nurses wearing uniform in public?

It is understood that nurses working in the general and mental wards of some public hospitals are allowed to travel on public transport in their uniforms.

Nurses from emergency wards, on the other hand, have to wear personal protective equipment and are told to shower and change out before returning home.

Moreover, not all hospitals allow nurses to wear their uniforms in public.

Some make it mandatory for nurses to change out first, regardless of wards.

What kind of apparel are strictly not allowed in public?

The hospital washes scrubs worn by nurses.

Scrubs, which are hygienic, protective clothing, are not allowed to be worn casually outside of hospitals, which are typically worn in the emergency department.

Those in scrubs would have to change out of it before leaving the hospital.

Why do nurses choose to wear the uniform in public?

Primarily because they are allowed to.

And also partly for convenience.

One nurse said she wears her uniform home as she already does not have enough time to eat and use the bathroom at work, and she would just want to go home swiftly.

Moreover, nurses in Singapore these days are putting in more hours at work.

Today reported that nurses' regular nine-hour shifts have been extended to 12 hours.

Rosters are also changed more frequently, leading to erratic work schedules.

It was reported that nurses are able to claim rest days and take leave, but some nurses have volunteered to give up their leave in the event they are redeployed to other departments in need of manpower.

What are some of the antics that have irked nurses?

A member of the public took a picture of a nurse and questioned why she was outside of the hospital in her uniform.

Others keep their distance on public transport.

Nurses also have to deal with unreasonable members of the public at work.

Family members of those warded have approached nurses to demand the maximum visitor count allowed to be increased.

This occurred after the Ministry of Health implemented a policy to limit the number of people visiting each patient at hospital wards.

However, nurses interviewed said spirits are still high in the hospitals.

One of them said they feel validated knowing they are putting themselves out there in times of crisis: “I think one quote from the doctors in China resonates well with me: ‘We don’t want to be martyrs, but we will not be cowards’."

Top photo via