Story by Ramesh Subbaraman

In 2014, senior nurse educator Teh Cheng Leng had mulled over quitting her job to take care of her three-year-old son.

Thanks to flexible work arrangements at the National University Hospital (NUH), Ms Teh was able to keep her job and see to her child’s needs.

Part-time Work

The 46-year-old’s job in the last seven years has been to conduct in-house training programmes and guide nurses on the ground.

Three years ago, when she enrolled her son into a childcare centre near her home, he had adjustment problems and cried often.

To try to improve the situation, she decided to enroll him in the childcare centre at NUH.

Ms Teh also requested to work part-time so that she could return home with the child in the afternoon.

“It was a win-win situation for my child, my work and myself. The part-time arrangement was very helpful as my son was able to tide over the period and adjust better to the childcare environment. Instead of quitting my job, my boss said ‘why don’t you try this’, and it helped,” said Ms Teh who subsequently went back to full-time work.

Her son is now enrolled full-time in the childcare centre .

Flexible Work Arrangements

Ms Teh believes having flexible work arrangements in nursing is important as majority of the workers in this sector are women.

“We have to play many roles in the family, among them mother and caregiver of our parents. With a flexible work arrangement, we fulfil our career requirements as well as our role at home. That is very important,” said Ms Teh.

Touching on the topic, NUH said that with the ageing population and an increasing shortage of healthcare professionals locally, retaining talent is important.

Currently, 16.5 per cent of its re-employed staff are on part-time employment and such employees continue to enjoy similar benefits such as annual leave and medical benefits.

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