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Thursday, May 13, 2004


In Defence of Nurses

::International Nurses' Day was celebrated yesterday. How many patients are aware of that? How many patients wished the nurses taking care of them "Happy Nurses' Day" yesterday? Sitting in the waiting space while waiting my turn yesterday, i noticed only a handful of patients were aware that yesterday was not exactly like the other days and had smiles and wishes to pass on to the nurses. The rest had the glump and/ro impatient looks on their faces. So can we really expect the nurses to in return smile and be more people-friendly as they go about their work?
When launching the International Nurses'Day celebration themed "Working with the Poor , Against Poverty", the Deputy Health MINIster commented that the majority of nurses are not people-friendly these days. This was reported by Bernama. He urged the nurses to enhance their communication techniques and skills to create a more conducive working relationship when attending to patients.
The Star reported that the Deputy Health Minister said that the majority of nurses now were not as efficient as their predecessors and lacked expertise, professionalism and communication skills and were not people-friendly. He sounded like he is lamenting of the 'good old days' or is he complaining of the poor training given or the poor application of training?
Rather then just making sweeping statements, the deputy Health MINIster might want to look deeper into thhe state of affairs of things and then come out with a better understanding of why things are so.
The smiling and people-friendly civil servants are something of the by-gone days, the civil has been removed from the "civil service." By the Deputy MINIster own admission there is a shortage of nurses in service, coupled with the heavy workload and the increased expectations of the increasingly unsmiling clientele, things can only deteriorate. In any situation there are always two sides of the coin to be considered--that of the provider and that of the receipient of the service.
As for the training aspect, the MINIstry is the main provider of training of the nurses and if there is any shortcomings in the training, the MINIstry should first look at itself. As Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye rightly pointed out :: “The Government should consider from various angles as to how to improve the nursing profession and give them a better deal.” Only then may we expect better people-friendly service from them.


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