Hospitality is more vital than ever in the healthcare industry, thanks to the growth in medical tourism.
Malaysia is currently the only Asian country named in the report titled “4 Countries With The Best Healthcare In The World” by International Living magazine.
The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council expects the medical tourism industry in the country to grow a further 20 to 30 per cent and generate RM1.3 billion in revenue this year.
“We cannot afford to rest on our laurels in this increasingly competitive industry,” said Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College chief executive officer Shanaz FH Mawji.
“To stay as the best, we need professional staff who are able to provide the appropriate healthcare-focused services and management in areas like marketing, finance, international relations and the front office.”
With Malaysia becoming an increasingly popular healthcare destination, and more among the local population aging or facing lifestyle issues, the demand for more nurses, physiotherapists and medical assistants continues to increase.
Shanaz said that healthcare education is the ‘in’ thing right now, and graduates will have the world as their oyster.
“There is so much going for those in the nursing profession, yet many still need to be persuaded of that,” she said.
“Looks like we need to make nursing and physiotherapy more ‘sexy’ so as to appeal more to the younger generation.”
She added that not enough people realise how nurses are equally important healthcare practitioners in the patient’s recovery process.
“The nursing profession serves as the backbone of the healthcare system. Doctors rely on nurses for feedback on their patients,” said Shanaz.
“And it’s not just hospitals that employ healthcare professionals, but also nursing homes, community centres, dialysis centres and patients under home care.
“Opportunities for employment also abound in workplaces like factories, plantations and within the oil and gas industry.”
Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College offers courses that the healthcare industry requires.
“We don’t just teach course content but also stimulate critical thinking, so our students will have to share why they recommend a particular treatment over another,” said Shanaz.
“Jobs are readily available for our graduates, as there is a shortage of fresh graduates who are ready to practise their skills and apply what they have learned.
“What the industry requires are those who not only have head knowledge but also those who can make patients feel comfortable and confident under their care.”
There are also many options available for those who choose to specialise.
“Our qualifications are a passport to the world,” said Shanaz.
“Our graduates are not only guaranteed employment, they are in great demand in places like Saudi Arabia and Dubai.”
There is a clear education and career pathway for healthcare industry students and graduates.
It begins with a three-year diploma course where the required skills for healthcare practitioners are taught.
At Ramsay Sime Darby, this can be followed by a two-year degree course under the University of Hertfordshire in the UK.
The degree course, which involves more analytical thinking, is fully based in Malaysia, and faculty members from the university will be flown in to teach.
This makes the cost much more affordable than what students would pay to do it in the UK.
Shanaz further added that working as a healthcare professional is more than just about earning a decent income.
“Ramsay Sime Darby hospitals set the benchmark salaries for those working in the industry. At the same time, our professionals are expected to possess virtues like selflessness and a commitment to knowledge upgrading in order to provide better patient care,” she said.
“Our nurses are the pulse in their wards, and they deserve to be rewarded accordingly for their experience.
Internship opportunities are also available at Australian hospitals, where the students will be intellectually stimulated while also picking up cultural experiences.
“We have science-based programmes that are uniquely designed for medical tourism, focusing on hospitality in the healthcare industry,” said Shanaz.
“Our graduates will be armed with recession-proof qualifications. They can work locally or abroad, they can work in hospitals or even hotels.”
Last month, Ramsay Sime Darby Medical College graduated 846 of its students who earned the BSc of Contemporary Nursing, Diploma in Medical Assistant, Diploma in Healthcare Service, and Advanced Diploma in Trauma and Emergency Care, among others.
To apply for bursaries or for more information, go to http://www.ramsaysimedarbycollege.edu.my/