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RECENTLY, Nilai University School of Nursing senior lecturer, Lee Xui Xian met up with Thana Dass, an alumnus from her class in 2008 for a catch-up. Thana had always wanted to be a nurse. She started her career in the pharmaceutical industry and moved on to work with a specialist clinic. She accumulated 13 years of experience learning and observing medical procedures while assisting in the operation theatre.
Then Thana decided to focus on her daughter, so she temporarily put her career on hold. However, she felt restless and thought of returning to work as she knew she had more to contribute and learn. Soon after, she was hired as an assistant renal nurse. Her supervisors noticed her initiative and professional dedication.
Not long after, she was granted a sponsorship to pursue the Diploma in Nursing at Nilai University. “Can you imagine, I was in my mid-40s, among coursemates in their early 20s,” recalls Thana. It took her awhile to adjust to her varsity environment. “My coursemates assumed I was one of the lecturers. On my first day, some staff even asked me where my daughter is, thinking I was sending her to class,” said Thana with a laugh. The education she received gave her a clear understanding of protocols and policies in nursing. Being armed with the right skills and knowledge gave her the confidence to perform her duties well.
Now, Thana is a charge nurse in the renal hemodialysis unit at a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, working overseas presented another set of challenges. She learnt that as a caregiver, one should understand the culture and try to speak the local language. She confessed that she is still poor in her Arabic, but she can still connect with her patients. Thana feels the best part of her life is when her daughter Jey Neesha, enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Nursing in January.
While a career in nursing may reap lucrative rewards and benefits, it is not easy. Thana advises those who would like to follow her footsteps to be proficient in English – she has witnessed a hospital rejecting a group of recruits who were not fluent in English. At Nilai University, English is the primary medium used during lectures to ensure students graduate with commendable proficiency in English.
Thana adds that overseas, it is part of the requirement that nurses complete both skills competency examinations and the English language proficiency test annually. Lee and Thana agreed that to be successful in the nursing profession one should be open and cultivate lifelong learning as medical science continues to advance. Lee emphasised that nurses must approach this profession with their heart and mind. “Students must have a caring heart and be extremely patient. They also need the right knowledge and skills,” she said. “It is imperative to have the right attitude when caring for the sick.” While career pathways in the nursing profession are extensive and ever-evolving, career opportunities are abundant too.
A student has the opportunity to become a nurse in a specialised area, ward manager, director of nursing or even rise to become a chief executive officer, if one establishes a career with a medical centre. Other career paths would be in the pharmaceutical, insurance or even education industry. Nilai University’s School of Nursing offers both diploma and bachelor’s degree in nursing recognised by the Malaysian Nursing Board and internationally accepted by universities worldwide.
Students must, however, complete the requirements of respective programmes and then pass the Malaysian Nursing Board examination. After this, they will join the employment circuit as registered nurses in Malaysia. Students who complete their diploma will need two years of experience before advancing to a degree in nursing. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree could proceed directly to the MBA in Health Care Leadership offered by Cleary University. Cleary University guarantees entry to its programme for Nilai University Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Nursing graduates with a minimum CGPA of 2.5.
Through a linkup with Nilai Medical Centre, interested students may apply for sponsorship from Nilai Medical Centre. Nilai University also offers scholarships up to 100% for all its foundation and undergraduate programmes. Aside from nursing, Nilai University provides an array of foundation level, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in business and science-related fields.