PETALING JAYA: The attitude of fresh graduate nurses is still one of the biggest hindrances in obtaining a job locally.
Kelly Services marketing director for Singapore and Malaysia Jeannie Khoo said fresh graduate nurses, like most of the other fresh graduates wanting to enter the job market in any industry, sometimes have an unrealistic expectations of the industry.
"This has to be nipped in the bud through education," she said, adding that career placement counsellors who are academicians by training could be giving misguided advice about the industry.
She agreed with Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai that most of the nurses who could not get jobs are those with minimal qualifications and hardly have any working experience.
"We get a lot of candidates who come in with only a one-year nursing certificate with zero practical training experience.
"Unfortunately, we find it hard trying to place them with jobs," she said.
Kelly Services, as the highest profile staffing company in Malaysia, counts three major medical conglomerates as their clients.
"With the private universities, the minimum qualification that they will accept is still someone with one or two years' experience," said Khoo.
Despite that, there is still a demand for high-quality nurses in Malaysia due to the booming healthcare business in the country.
She also said the trend of nurses going overseas was not as high as several decades ago because of the increasing job opportunities here as well as the current global economic recession.
"But they still need nurses in places like Japan because of their ageing population," she said. Checks at the Australian Immigration Department website also state that nurses are currently in high demand.
Meanwhile, Health Department director-general Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said he was informed by nursing colleges in a dialogue session last month that their graduates usually obtained jobs within six months.
"But I'm sure they can obtain work faster if they are willing to work in government hospitals and are not choosy with where they want to work," he said.