Making The Case For Longer Studies

Recently there’s been talk about the Malaysian Nursing Board phasing out the Diploma in Nursing programme. As a result, soon all future nursing students that want to practice the profession in the country has to complete a four-year degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).

Many parties have been very vocal about this, citing that many nurses cannot afford the extra costs it takes to study for four years instead of the usual two for a diploma. Some students get into nursing for that reason; it offers a quick pathway to work in a respectable profession, without the added burden of a pre-university programme after completion of secondary school.

While I understand that some nurses have to support their families ASAP, I’m here to argue that there is a hidden benefit to all nurses being required to do their degree in order to be registered practitioners.

That benefit is the extra 2-4 years of age that nurses have upon graduation.

Older… Wiser?

A few days ago there was news of a 19-year old girl who will become the youngest medical doctor in Malaysia this year. The prodigy completed her secondary education at the age of 14, enrolling straight into an Australian pre-U programme, followed by medical school.

While I applaud her achievements (it is nothing to make light of), for the rest of us entering the healthcare workforce at 19 is not the best of ideas.

A doctor fresh out of medical school at the age of 25 is six years older than 19, and will have six years of extra life experiences that will make him or her relate better to patients.

The healthcare line, as we all know, is riddled with a lot of challenges and difficulties that are difficult to teach in training colleges. There are unexpected obstacles from patients, their relatives, and colleagues that are difficult to circumnavigate without emotional maturity. When these are not handled well they lead to burnouts and depression.

Forcing the degree programme for nurses rather than diploma grants student nurses extra time to prepare themselves. Most of the time, maturity comes with age. Being a nurse (or a doctor for that matter) is an arduous endeavor in itself. There will be times when you have to react to difficult situations requiring you to make a choice. Maturity grants the wisdom to make the right ones.

The healthcare line, as we all know, is riddled with a lot of challenges and difficulties that are difficult to teach in training colleges.

Being sure about oneself

As a patient, you would want nurses or doctors who are sure of themselves for your treatment. You want those who believe in what they do and believe in the importance of their work. Not the reluctant ones.

It is common for healthcare practitioners to leave the profession within the first 5 years of working. An extra few years of study provides the extra time to contemplate on whether this career path is really for them or not. This creates better rounded nurses and doctors.

Better clinicians

Better rounded nurses and doctors, who can find the balance between their personal growth and career, make for better clinicians. They are more likely to innovate and push medicine forward. This is why countries like the US and Sweden require prospective medical school students to have a Bachelor’s degree beforehand. These countries have the most number of medical innovations in history.

Removal of bad habits

Better rounded nurses and doctors make for better clinicians.

For nurses, making BSN degrees mandatory in order to be registered means an addition 4-5 years of study; 1-2 years for a pre-university course (like STPM) and another 4 years for the degree. Contrast this with immediately hopping on the diploma programme for two years after school.

The work involved to obtain a degree is very hard. It can only be done by being mentally sound, organized, and effective. These habits are not necessarily attained in school.

An older nursing graduate has more time to become a better, organized person; to know her strong points, faults, breaking points, things she cannot do, and learn how to deal with them knowing that a harder road lies ahead.



Other Articles


 For those nurses serving with  Kementrian Kesihatan Malaysia  (KKM), the start of your work life will present you with one of the toughest choices you’ll make: 

 
 EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund, also known as KWSP), or choose the pension fund? 
 

 Both are viable options in securing your financial health after you retire. Although retirement might seem like ages away, a good amount of planning and successful investments can mean the difference between being able to live comfortably in your golden years, or struggle with daily or medical expenses. 

 So which to choose? We’ll break down the points below. 

 Pension fund 

  What is it?  
It’s a monthly stipend of a set amount, provided by the Public Services Department upon your retirement. In addition to that, you also receive a  gratuity  payment, and medical/health benefits. 

  Calculation  
Here we will be assuming that you start work at 20 years old, with a starting salary of RM2,000, and continue working until you retire at 55 with a salary of RM5,600 (3% annual pay increase). 

 Your monthly pension will be your last drawn salary, divided by two. For example, if your base salary is RM5,000 when you retire, your monthly stipend will be RM2,800/mo. 

 In addition to that, you will receive gratuity payment, which is calculated as such: 

 
 gratuity = 7.5% x 35yrs x 12 months x RM5,600 (final drawn salary) 
= RM 176,400. 
 

 RM176,400 will be given as a lump sum, while RM2,800 will be given per month. Again, this is all assuming you retire at 55, with a final salary of RM5,600. 

  Benefits  

 
	 No subtraction from base pay. 
 

 Unlike EPF, as we will see later, there is no subtraction from your base salary. 

 
	 Guaranteed monthly retirement funding 
 

 Again, unlike EPF, where your money can be withdrawn for other uses, pension takers are guaranteed to have a monthly source of income. 

  Disadvantages  

 
	 You have to start and end your service in the public/government sector. It might hamper your ability to seek work overseas, better base salaries, or even some chances to study. 
 

 EPF or Employees Provident Fund (KWSP - Kumpulan Simpanan Wang Pekerja) 

  What is it?  
EPF is the accumulation of savings generated from deductions of your base salary. Currently, you can choose either 11%, or 8%, as  recently announced . 

 This accumulation of money is further grown by annual dividends. On average the dividend is around 6%, depending on the GDP (gross domestic product) of the country. 

 What makes EPF great as long term savings is due to the magic of  compound interest. . Your employer also contributes to your fund (12% of your pay). These two things make an EPF account grow substantially when properly managed. 

  2 accounts  

 Your EPF savings are divided into two accounts. 70% goes into account 1, and the rest to account 2. Account 1 is your retirement funds. Account 2 is withdrawable, under a few conditions: 

 
	 more than 50 years old 
	 Housing downpayment for your 1st house 
	 housing loan payment 
	 education 
	 medical costs 
	 Hajj pilgrimage 
 

 Upon reaching the age of 55, you will be able to withdraw from account 1. You will have to choose to withdraw one lump sum, or as a monthly stipend like a pension. 

  Calculation  

 Let’s take the same example as just now. Start work at 20, salary RM2,000, retire at 55, salary RM5,000. 

 
 Deduction from pay = 11% = RM220 
Employer contribution = 12% = RM240 
 We will assume no withdrawals are made over entire working period  
EPF annual dividend = 6% 
 

 The interest adds up year over year, and with the help of EPF’s  online calculator , 

 Total EPF savings at 55 years old = RM461,900 

 It is a marginally higher amount than RM176,400 gratuity you will receive from a pension. 

  Benefits  

 
	 Flexibility. At the age of 55, you can withdraw that money and invest in another scheme, venture, or fund that offers greater returns. 
	 Faster growth. As shown, even with a contribution of 11% of your pay, over the course of 35 years it balloons into a large amount of money. 
	 Freedom of employment. You no longer have to work within the constraints of the government or public service. You are free to pursue study or work opportunities as you wish. 
 

  Disadvantages  

 
	 Sometimes things don’t go as planned. You might hit a financial roadblock that forces you to withdraw from your EPF fund. An example of this is a medical emergency. 
	 It subtracts 11% of your base salary. 11% might not seem like much, but for people who live paycheck to paycheck, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. 
	 Annual dividend from EPF can decrease, depending on economic climate. 
 

 Making a comparison 

 Monthly funds 

 Assuming that you live until the mean life expectancy age in Malaysia, which is 76 years old. 

 
 Years to live off retirement fund (pension) = 76-55 = 21 years 
 

 To make a fair comparison, let’s subtract the gratuity amount of a pension scheme from the lump sum of EPF savings. 

 
 EPF at 55 years old - gratuity of pension at 55 years old = RM461,900 - RM176,400 = RM285,500 

 Stipend per month that EPF provides = RM285,500 / 21 years / 12 months = RM1,132.94/month 
 

 Even if we did not subtract the gratuity value, it would be: 

 
 RM461,900 / 21 years / 12 months = RM1,832.94/ month 
 

  It is far less than RM2,600/month from a pension scheme . 

 What if we invest all of EPF savings? 

 Say at the age of 55, you embark on another investment with better returns. We will assume 8%. You pile up all your savings into it. 

 Investment return x EPF savings = 8% x RM 461,900 = RM36,952/year or RM3,079.33/month. 

  It is more than what you’ll obtain from a pension.  However you’ll need to ensure that the second investment has better returns than EPF dividends. That in itself can sometimes be a challenge. 

 Conclusion 

 They both have their advantages and drawbacks. It seems like it is up to you to play it well, to ensure you can lead a comfortable life upon retirement. 

 However the main question of choosing either EPF or pension as retirement savings often boils down to your choice of employer. 

 Will you stay with the government sector for another 30+ years? You don’t want to end up with no retirement fund… No EPF or no pension. That’d be the worst. 

 If yes, go for the pension scheme. It is safe, guaranteed, and offers great peace of mind in your golden years. 

 However, with EPF, you are free to take up opportunities that come your way. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Australia are actively seeking out Malaysian nurses with extremely attractive pay. Opportunities for post-graduate education are more limited in the government sector; if in private, you get to choose when you want to do it. You can also fund it with your EPF savings, something you can’t do on a pension. 

 Choose the freedom of choice. Search for high-paying nursing jobs, and overseas jobs on MIMS Career. Browse, save, and apply for nursing jobs, all in one-click. Take the opportunity for higher pay and better work locations. Our pages are all mobile-responsive, allowing you to take that leap for a better job whenever, wherever you are. All our job postings are heavily screened to prevent scams and mistrustful behavior. 
   

 
 Our Most Popular Articles 

  Think About These 5 Things Before You Decide On A Specialization  

  5 Things Nurses Need To Know To Be Paid More  

  10 Ways Malaysian Nurses Can Increase Their Income

EPF (KWSP), or Pension? Which to choose?

For those nurses serving with Kementrian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), the start of your work life will present you with one of the toughest choices you’ll make: EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund, also known as KWSP), or choose...

Read More



 Geriatrics is the specialty of care of the elderly. The main goal is to assist aging patients to improve their health by preventing or treating illnesses or disabilities. 

 Currently the mean age of the global populace is increasing[1]. Demand for geriatric care has rapidly risen within the past 10, 20 years. This trend is also seen in Malaysia. Unfortunately, it is a profession that not many young nurses or doctors would want to pursue[2]. 



 Definition: 

 The word geriatrics is derived from Greek. “Geron” means “old man.” “Iatros” is defined as “healer.” 

 Gerontology, a word commonly used together with geriatrics, is the study of the aging process itself. 

 Duties: 

 Geriatric nurses assist their patients in their daily life. They help them to live healthily, and improve their independence by treating or staving off disabilities that cause dependency of care. 

 It is not uncommon for geriatric nurses to ensure the comfort of their patients is taken care of as well. They also assist in recognizing and managing syndromes that are common to older adults. 

 Educating the family members of the elderly patient is also a key responsibility in the geriatric nurse. The nurses have to ensure the care provided by the family are only good practices. 

 Ultimately their job scope depends on the institution they work in. 



 Education: 

 The study of geriatrics and gerontology itself is a relatively new branch of medicine. Medical capabilities have progressed to the point where people are now living longer than ever before.  

 The global average life expectancy was at 45[3] years old in 1950-55, and it has now jumped to 76. Recently, the Baby Boomer generation has started to encroach the age of 60-70. As a result there are only a few established centers of learning for the advancement of this field of medicine. 

 Post-basic or advanced diploma courses in geriatrics can also be listed under the name of elderly care[4]. Unfortunately, not many learning institutions or hospitals offer this in Malaysia, as of time of writing. 



 Workload and Working Conditions: 

 It depends on the institution they work in. Geriatric nurses can work in mental health facilities, hospitals, private hospitals, private practices, clinics, and also nursing homes. 

 Some wards may employ geriatric nurses to assist in treatment and recovery of their older patients. For example, renal, cardiology, and neurology all often do this in larger hospitals. 



 Opportunities in Geriatric Nursing 

 As it is a rapidly growing field of high importance, the opportunities for academic study and research are very high. There is a big need for healthcare workers to be trained in the field of gerontology, so local healthcare can keep up with global standards. 

 Some geriatric nurses even can opt to open up their own practices as well. 

  Read more on advancing your nursing career into nursing education HERE . 



 Salary and income 

 The median salary of geriatric nurses is higher than that of a registered nurse[5]. However this depends on many factors, such as duties/responsibilities, experience, and work location. 

 This is expected to increase as demand for geriatric nurses continues to grow ever-rapidly. 

  Read more on how nurses can increase their income HERE.  

 Source:  
    1.  http://today.mims.com/topic/what-are-the-options-for-aged-care-in-singapore-?country=Malaysia&channel=GN-Health-Wellness   
    2.  http://today.mims.com/topic/specialist-spotlight–geriatricians   
    3.  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/Life_Expectancy_at_Birth_by_Region_1950-2050.png   
    4.  http://www.imc.edu.my/elderly-care-setting-standards-elderly-care/   
    5.  http://www1.salary.com/Staff-Nurse-RN-Geriatric-Salary.html  

 Search for high-paying geriatric nursing jobs here at  MIMS Career . Sign up and apply today with our safe, secure, and free site. MIMS Career is an extensive job portal for healthcare practitioners such as nurses, doctors, and dentists throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

 Browse through our vast directory of job vacancies by top healthcare employers. See any jobs you like? Apply with one click, or save it for later if you need some time to think about it.  

 Can’t find what you’re looking for? Set up an email alert, and we’ll notify you when a job vacancy that meets your desired criteria becomes available.

Career Highlight: Geriatric Nursing

Geriatrics is the specialty of care of the elderly. The main goal is to assist aging patients to improve their health by preventing or treating illnesses or disabilities. Currently the mean age of the global populace is increasing[1]....

Read More