More Non-Malay Nurses

It seems that the low numbers of non-Malay nurses in public hospitals is giving a ?headache? to hospital administrators. Come festive holidays like Hari Raya, Malay nurses are denied their leave and cannot spend time with their families as this is a critical period for hospitals ? when road accident casualties step up their rate and nurses are needed most.

Currently, Malay nurses make up 85% of the entire nurse population while 6% are Chinese, 4% are Indians and 5% are bumiputra non-Malays.

But the problem is not just about Malay nurses not being able to go on leave or that there is an unequal racial composition of nurses in the country. Malaysia is facing a huge shortfall of nurses on the whole, and this is a less-than-ideal situation for the country especially when it is trying to achieve a standard of healthcare befitting its developed nation status by 2020.
As it is, few SPM and STPM school leavers want to join the profession. The country needs at least 8000 new nurses every year but at present, only 3000 recruits have signed up at the 19 training colleges nationawide.

?At this rate, we may not achieve the target of 130,000 nurses in the country by the year 2020, ?says Lee Kah Choon, Health Ministry parliamentary secretary. ?The impact of this is we will not be able to achieve the standard of healthcare expected of a developed nation by then.?

The ratio that is desired is one nurse for every 200 people but currently, there is only one for every 600, a figure which Lee describes as, ?way too low.?

To urgently correct the situation, the ministry is going to hold a campaign to attract the recent SPM and STPM school leavers to join the profession. It?s a good paying one with salaries that range from RM1200 for fresh graduates to RM6000 for senior nurses.

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