Malaysian Medical Association president Dr S.R. Manalan said many fresh graduates were jobless and did not have the right skills.
“The quality of nursing graduates is not up to par. Many take up nursing thinking they can get a job easily, or as a last resort because they can’t get into other courses.
“When they go into the field and realise it is a difficult job, they get disillusioned,” he said.
It was previously reported that some 8,000 nursing graduates are still unemployed as there are only places for 1,500 nurses in the private sector.
While Dr Manalan said their training had to be improved, the attitude of fresh graduates had been found wanting too.
“They don’t seem to understand instructions and they generally don’t care about the patients’ well-being.
“In nursing, half the battle is won by just being kind,” said Dr Manalan.
He criticised the number of institutions offering nursing programmes.
“The Government has to be strict. Look at the number of nurses required by the industry,” he said.
The Higher Education Ministry has imposed a moratorium on new nursing programmes since July 2010.
At the moment, there are 106 higher education institutions offering nursing programmes, of which 66 are privately-run and 11 are in public universities. The rest are run by the Health Ministry.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said steps had been taken to ensure that the nursing graduates were of high quality, including increasing the number of SPM credits needed from three to five.
“We are also looking at encouraging present colleges to offer more Bachelor’s degree courses. We know the market demand has changed and there is a higher level of skills needed,” he said.
The Health Ministry also announced the formation of a committee back in February to place unemployed nurses in public hospitals.
By REGINA LEE