Achieving Greater Recognition for Nurses in a COVID-19 World

By UOW Malaysia KDU

Magesvari Subramaniam is Head of the UOW Malaysia KDU School of Nursing and Allied Health

I have had the privilege over the past 9 years of being part, and more recently leading, a dedicated team of health professionals within the UOW Malaysia KDU School of Nursing and Allied Health. As nursing educators, we have always taken seriously our role of not only imparting the technical aspects of nursing, but mentoring the care that is so essential to the social contract we perform in society.

The pandemic, with all its accompanying challenges, has raised the profile of the nursing profession in a manner not previously experienced in the modern era of nursing. Nurses are very much at the front line in the response to COVID-19, and society has responded by applauding our contribution. Yet I am not the one in the trenches fighting this war first-hand. Instead I stand in support of those who do. I may not be delivering direct bedside care but I am facing challenges of my own: providing advanced critical care education to nurses who may never have imagined themselves doing this work during their career. I’m tasked with preparing non-critical care nurses to extend their skills set to care for critically ill patients.

Like so many caring professions, nursing is dominated by women who selflessly give of themselves for the betterment of all. That service has regrettably in the past not always received the professional recognition it deserves. However, the positive contribution that we are able to make in the COVID-19 battle, together with the increased recognition of that contribution, has sparked a new positive energy within me – giving me a greater drive and focus in my role as a nursing educator.  I wake up every morning with this one question in mind: How can I better equip nursing students to thrive in their interdisciplinary role and help them envisage their expanded purpose and role in the world? With the realization that a globalized world has made us ever more susceptible to pandemics I view it as my job, together with my team, to produce not just ordinary staff nurses, but to produce world class nurses, equipped and adaptable enough to serve anywhere in the world.


08 March 2021


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