Nurses, midwives want opportunities to gain experience

National 2 minutes, 53 seconds


NURSES and midwives are still being under appreciated by many sections of society in Brunei Darussalam said President of the Brunei Association of Nurses (PENJURU).

Datin Paduka Hjh Suraya Noraidah Abdullah told The Brunei Times that many do not fully recognise the importance of nurses and midwives and their contribution to the healthcare system and well-being of the society as a whole.

“Our nurses and midwives are very competent but unfortunately, they still lack recognition in the country,” she said on the sidelines of the Women’s Contribution to Development forum held recently in conjunction with the International Women’s Day at Mabohai Complex.

She highlighted the issue of how these personnel are often stereotyped as only “helpers” when they have so much more potential and capabilities.

She went on to say that the government should invest more in “upgrading” local nurses and midwives by providing them with more opportunities such as sending them on attachments and studies overseas to improve their working experiences and capabilities.

“If only our nurses and midwives are given the chance to develop themselves, they are also capable in doing work pertaining to health care that some of the specialists and doctors are doing,” she said.

In doing this, it will be cost-effective for the country as it can also reduce Brunei’s dependency on foreign workers and professionals, while enhancing the local manpower of nurses and midwives, she added.

“Ofcourse we do need doctors, specialists and health professionals but we also need nursing staff who are on the same level as these experts so that our country can be sustainable,” she said.

In a separate interview, a Special Grade Midwife from the Ministry of Health (MOH), who wanted to remain anonymous, echoed the same sentiments, noting that most civil servants in the same profession as her are often overlooked.

“I don’t think we are being appreciated enough. Honestly, the ones who are doing the work are actually the nursing staff. We cater to the patients, interact with them and care for them before they deal with the doctors,” she said.

Working as a midwife since 1985, she said that it is difficult for midwives to be recognised despite the amount of years they have served with their salary scales capped at a certain amount.

She also said that it is very rare for nursing staff or midwives to be sent for attachment outside of the sultanate.

“I think there is a need for the government to reassess their strategies because if the (nursing) staff are not exposed to the outside world and experience, we will (remain limited in our experience and knowledge),” she added.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Fatin Khadijah Hj Puteh, a second year Diploma in Nursing student at the Institute of Health Science said that she would like to further her studies if given the opportunity to do so.

“I know some of my coursemates want to just stay working here with diploma qualification, but for me personally, I would still want to continue studying even after I work as a nurse in the future,” said the 22-year-old who is currently undergoing attachment at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital.

“This is because I do want to experience the outside world, I don’t want to limit myself. I know I can do better, deserve better, so I am striving for that if the opportunity is there,” she added.

The Brunei Times