Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Unemployment among Graduate Nurses in Malaysia: A Case Study

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Unemployment among Graduate Nurses in Malaysia: A Case Study

Article excerpt


Linguistic and cultural communication skills are essential for nurses as they are at the fore front in public and private hospitals, physicians' offices, clinics and other outpatient care facilities. Indeed nurses provide the human touch for patients seeking medical advice at a particular medical centre before consulting a physician. Recently, the Ministry of Higher Education has released statistics on unemployment among nurses - about 8000 nursing graduates have not secured jobs. As such, a study was carried out to examine the reason for such a serious situation in Malaysia when other parts of the world are in dire need of nurses. A quantitative methodology was adopted to determine the reason for unemployment among nurses as well as to find ways to relocate these unemployed nurses to parts of the world where their service is needed. This study draws several conclusions about the unemployed nurses and ways to enhance their communication and English language skills to make them more 'marketable' as well as be able to execute their duties effectively at workplace. The results indicate a need for a special English language course-design for theses trained nurses.

Keywords: unemployment, nurses, fore front, communication, language skills

1. Introduction

In Malaysia there are many private and public nursing colleges. Statistics show that private colleges alone produce about 1,200 trained nurses though there are only 1000 to 1500 nursing jobs in private sector each year. This makes Malaysia, apart from the Philippines, as one of the countries in Asia to export nurses to countries like Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. The government hospitals mostly hire public university graduates while private hospitals employ their own nurse trainees, for example Pantai Medical Centre has its own nursing college which serves as a feed centre to the hospital. Other private hospitals prefer to hire graduates from public universities since these graduates are perceived to have the necessary academic qualification and skills which are important for the prevailing job environment (Latisha, 2010). As the production surplus the demand, this results in many fresh graduate nurses being jobless.

Unemployed nurses are facing the burden of repaying study loans, which will affect both loaners and their parents who have sent their children for further studies in the hope that they will have a secure future (Qualifying exam, 2013). As English is still the main language used in the medical field, graduate nurses are required to sit for qualifying examination with the Malaysian Nursing Board (MNB) before they could register and practise nursing. Public Health Assistant Minister Dr. Jerip Susil said that poor proficiency in English among graduates could be another factor contributing to their unemployment (Qualifying exam, 2013). He stressed that graduate nurses must enhance their command of English to carry out their duties as well as to perform in interviews.

1.1 Importance of Communication and Linguistics Skills for Nurses

Potential pain-reducing implications and increasing recovery rates is greater when patients are provided with additional information about their diagnosis, prognosis, care and treatment (Dougherty & Lister, 2007). Nurses can facilitate successful and therapeutic patient contact through questioning, listening, summarising, reflecting and paraphrasing information received from patients (Harrison & Hart, 2006; Northouse, 2004). Thus it is essential for nurses to have good communication skills to expedite their employability. Nurses use communication skills on a daily basis to gather information, reassure, facilitate patient expression, views and opinions; encourage critical thinking, and promote continuity in patient care (Berry, 2007; Murray et al., 2006; Bury, 2005; Bayne et al., 2002). Therefore, they must have the critical thinking skills as well interpersonal skills that are necessary to recognise and manage emerging patient problems and life-threatening conditions. …

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