PENANG: The Health Ministry plans to attract more non-Malays to join the nursing profession as 80% of the country’s 60,000 nurses are Malays.
Describing the gross imbalance as unhealthy, its parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said the ministry would embark on a publicity and promotion campaign to target fresh school leavers.
“Nursing offers a promising career. Qualified nurses stand a chance to be promoted up to the U54 senior officer post, with a monthly salary and allowances amounting to RM10,000,” he said.
Nurses with commendable achievements and experience might even be considered for the hospital director’s post, he said.
Lee opened the Penang Nursing College Convocation on behalf of Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek yesterday.
Lee also noted that non-Malays seemed to shy away from nursing as a profession.
“If we have a healthy mix of nurses from all races, leave applications can be more easily approved,” he said, adding that it would also enhance better communication with patients, who are of various races.
He said the ministry had targeted a nurse to population ratio of 1:200 by the year 2020. The current ratio is 1:600.
Of the 3,000 nurses who graduated each year, he said, about 1,000 were trained by private hospitals.
Trainee nurses now receive a monthly allowance of RM621, Lee said, adding that the Government spent RM17,000 a year just to train one nurse.
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