Interview With Assoc. Prof Che'an Ahmad
by Jimmy Teo Hui Thian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ASSOC PROF CHE'AN BINTI AHMAD has been in
OUM for almost two years now as Head of the School
of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences (SONAHS).
Previously, she was with University Malaya Medical Centre
(UMMC) for many years assuming many different roles there,
particularly in the training of nurses.
Jimmy: To many people, nursing is considered a "feminine" vocation. What is your opinion on this?
Che'an: I think this is old thinking (laughs). I think people
are beginning to accept that nursing is no longer reserved
for women. Modern society is more open and we do have
men enrolling in our diploma and degree courses now. In
fact, male nurses are common in developed countries like
England, United States, Canada, Australia and others
Jimmy: Why would someone choose to be a nurse? Is there a career path in nursing?
Che'an: Nursing as a profession has progressed tremendously
in our country. Previously, there wasn't much prospect for
nurses to advance in their career, but now it is a different
story. Nurses are now in demand and there are plenty of
career opportunities for them. As they say: the sky is the
limit. You can even do PhD in Nursing nowadays. In fact,
OUM is planning on offering a doctorate-level programme
in Nursing and will be the first private institution in Malaysia
to do so.
Jimmy: Many have remarked that nurses are becoming more mechanical nowadays. Any comments?
Che'an: (Laughs) That is not a fair comment. These remarks
are not peculiar to nursing alone. I think doctors and teachers
get a lot of these as well. As I see it, there are still many
committed, good and caring nurses around but they are not
highlighted. People usually take for granted all the good that
you have done, but make one mistake and it would make
headlines right away. I guess this is human nature. Caring
is one of the most important requirements for becoming a
nurse. This is why caring is incorporated into all the subjects
that we offer here in OUM.
Jimmy: What are the courses offered under your school?
Che'an: Currently, we offer three courses: (1) Diploma in
Pre-Hospital Emergency Care, (2) Bachelor of Nursing
Science with Honours, and (3) Master of Nursing. As I
mentioned earlier, we are now preparing to launch our PhD
in Nursing soon.
Jimmy: How are your programmes different from others?
Che'an: Anyone who views our curriculum will notice
that though we offer online courses, we also have what we
call the clinical component. This consists of actual clinical
practices that learners have to go through at our partner
hospitals. This will provide our learners with real challenges
which will prove invaluable to them.
Jimmy: As the Head of SONAHS, what is your greatest challenge?
Che'an: My greatest challenge now is to get more qualified
and experienced staff to join us. Many qualified people have
applied, but not many with the relevant experience.
Jimmy: How do you ensure that your learners are in touch with current trends and practices in their respective fields?
Che'an: To begin with, we ourselves have to keep touch
with current trends, especially when it relates to new
technologies. The lecturers or tutors should then share their
experiences and observations with the learners. We are now
working on what we call "e-clinical" which is actually a
web portal to provide learners with additional resources to
complement their learning.
Jimmy: In your mind, what is the way forward for your school?
Che'an: As you can see, there is a lot of demand for nurses
at the moment, judging by the number of colleges offering
nursing programmes. I think it is high time for us to grow
into a full-fl edged faculty.
Jimmy: What is your advice to all the aspiring nurses out there?
Che'an: I think they should just apply and not have any
doubt in their mind. As I said earlier, the sky is the limit.
This is a good profession to take up and the future is bright.
My advice is for them to visit http://sonahs.oum.edu.my/
and sign up.