Friday, October 7

Shortage of nurses trained in specialized medical fields in Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: There is a shortage of nurses, especially those who have had post-basic training in specialized medical fields, in the public healthcare sector here.

Hajah Tomblow Ngadiran, chief supervisor of nurses in Sabah, said there was an increasing demand for nurses to work outside clinics in the public healthcare industry, such as in domiciliary care and providing medical treatment to communities.

Tomblow said many nurses were also forced to relinquish their duties on reaching retirement age despite them being still fit and healthy to work.

These factors have contributed to the shortage of nurses in government hospitals or the public healthcare sector, she said.

Tomblow pointed out that the shortage of nurses was not as serious compared to the lack of nurses trained in medical specialties. Hence, Tomblow said she and her colleagues at the State Health Department and hospitals were working hard to encourage more nurses to undergo post-basic training for specialized fields in order to meet the demand of hospitals in Sabah.

She mentioned this at the state-level celebration of International Nurses Day here yesterday, in which she was the organizing chairperson. The inaugural Nurses Colloquium and Nursing Seminar was also held in conjunction with the celebration.

The event was graced by Assistant Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Anita Baranting who represented the minister, Datuk Hajah Jainab Ahmad Ayid.

Tomblow pointed out that the importance of the nursing profession was often neglected despite being an important and noble career. She said nursing was rarely considered as a career for most people, unlike doctors, which was a highly regarded profession.

The fact is nurses made up a huge portion of the employees in the healthcare sectors, be it in government hospitals, clinics and private hospitals; some of them were even assigned to work in mountainous areas, islands and rivers, she said. Hence, Tomblow stressed nurses should be given due appreciation and recognition as the profession required patience and dedication.

On another note, she said the nursing profession in Malaysia had been enhanced whereby nurses could now be promoted to the highest grade of Jusa C.

She went on to say that many high positions and grades have been created to allow nurses to be promoted, especially diploma and degree holders.

Sabah is also fortunate as it is one of the first few states with nurses promoted to Grade U48, she said.

To date, Tomblow said 11,485 nurses in Sabah were between Grade U14 and U48, an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to 2014. In addition, she said 92.8 per cent of the positions across all grades have been filled, while 91 per cent of the positions of Grade U29 have been filled.

She said nurses with Grade U29 were important due to an increase in medical specialties and sub-specialties with the latest technologies, as nurses who have undergone post-basic training in specialized fields would have to work with the specialists to provide medical care to patients.

“Nurses play an important role in order to sustain the medical specialty services, such as in obstetrics, public health, pediatrics, renal and critical care such as intensive care units, operating theatres, heart treatment and more,” Tomblow said, adding that these specialized nurses could also guide new nurses and junior medical officers.