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PETALING JAYA: The government will not prevent nurses from working abroad or limit the number of foreign nurses coming into the country, said deputy minister of Health Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shirlin.
She said the government was looking at ways to handle the glut in nursing students such as a moratorium on new nursing colleges and increasing the requirement to at least five Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia credits compared to three previously.
"Apart from handling the glut, the move also aims to produce better calibre and educated nurses," she said at a press conference after closing a health camp at Sekolah Kebangsaan Section 6, Kota Damansara here today, in conjunction with International Nurses Day which is on May 12.
Apart from providing free health checks, the one-day camp also included a speech on the government's 1Malaysia policy by deputy minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
Rosnah explained that among the factors which caused the glut was the refusal of private hospitals to employ nursing graduates with the excuse that they were inexperienced, even though most of them were from institutions of higher learning.
"We have asked the private sector to employ them and set aside the matter of experience on the basis that experience can only be gained if they're given the jobs," she said.
Commenting on the ministry's target of achieving a one to 200 nurse to patient ratio by 2015, Rosnah said it was possible as the current ratio was one to 347.
Earlier during the day, Ahmad in his speech on the 1Malaysia policy said that it was initially considered rhetorical and not grounded but is clearly being accepted and absorbed by the people.
He said after three years, the idea based on the philosophy of 'People First, Performance Now', is being accepted as an efficient product which could be held, felt and enjoyed.
"Through 1Malaysia all races in the country are considered as friends and not foe, assets not liability and as the nation's most valuable treasure," he added.
He also drew attention to how the Prime Minister was inspired by the episode of Prophet Muhammad uttering "ummati, ummati, ummati" before he passed away.
"In current times, that can be interpreted as "my people, my people, my people" and the Prime Minister has translated it into People First and that's why his administration puts the people first in all matters," he concluded. - Bernama