Malaysian nurses’ views: Local versus Transnational Higher Education

Nirmala Devi Arunasalam


This paper reports the findings of a study undertaken with Malaysian nurses who studied for a locally provided part-time post-registration top-up Nursing Degree versus those who studied on a Transnational Higher Education (TNHE) programme. Both types of programmes are bridging courses that allow registered nurses to upgrade their Diploma qualifications to Degree level. What is not sufficiently explored in available literature is nurses’ rationales for choosing a local programme over TNHE programme. Using hermeneutic phenomenology, six Malaysian nurses (chosen by snowball sampling method) were interviewed, in English and Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian language). Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. The structure of the course and taught theory influenced the nurses’ choice to study on a local programme: the deciding factor was the practice component that ensured a theory-practice connection. The findings principally provide insights to TNHE providers and may guide them to enhance their teaching delivery, support and courses.


Top-up; local; Malaysia; Nurses; Transnational Higher Education; TNHE

Full Text:



Agar, M. (1986). Speaking of Ethnography. Sage. Newbury Park.

Aiken, L., Clarke, S., Cheung, R., Sloane, D., & Silber, J., (2003). Educational Levels of Hospital Nurses and Surgical Patient Mortality. Journal of the American Medical Association. 290 (12).1617-1623.

Arunasalam N.D., (2013). A defining moment: Malaysian nurses’ perspectives of transnational higher education (Doctoral dissertation, University of Hertfordshire). Retrieved from

Banning, M., (2008). A review of clinical decision making: models and current research. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 17(2). 187-95.

Benner, P., (1994). Interpretive phenomenology: Embodiment, caring, and ethics in health and illness. SAGE, Thousand Oaks, California.

Birks, M., (2005). The impact of post-registration degree studies on nurses in Malaysian Borneo—Challenges and changes. University Malaysia International Nursing Research Conference, Quality Nursing Practice Through Research. Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan.

Croxon, L., & Maginnis, C., (2007). Are We Preparing Nursing Students for the Reality of the Clinical Practice Setting? (Online). Available from: (Accessed: 3 April 2017).

Chiu, L. (2005). Motivation for nurses undertaking a post‐registration qualification in Malaysia, International Nursing Review. 52 (1). 46‐51.

Chiu, L., (2006). Malaysian registered nurses’ professional learning. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship. 3. 1-12.

Chong, E. M., Sellick, K., Francis, K., & Abdullah, K. L., (2011). What influences Malaysian nurses to participate in continuing professional education activities? Asian Nursing Research. 5. 38-47.

Chong,M.C., Francis, K, Cooper, S & Abdullah, K.L., (2014). Current Continuing Professional Education Practice among Malaysian Nurses. Nursing Research Practice.126748. Jan 9

Cramer, M. E., Jones, K. J, & Hertzog, M., (2011). Nurse staffing in critical access hospitals: Structural factors linked to quality care. Journal of nursing care quality. 26 (4). 335–43.

Dyess, S, Boykin, A & Rigg, C., (2010). Integrating caring theory with nursing practice and education: connecting with what matters. Journal of Nursing Administration. Nov; 40 (11). 498-503.

Dyess, S, Boykin, A & Bulfin, M., (2013). Hearing the voice of nurses in caring theory-based practice. Nursing Science Quarterly. Apr. 26 (2).167-73.

Estabrooks, C. A., Midodzi, W. K., Cummings G. G., Ricker K. L., Giovannetti, P., (2005). The impact of hospital nursing characteristics on 30-day mortality. Nursing Research. 54 (2). 74–84.

Geertz, C., (1973). The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Egan, T., Jaye, C., (2009). Communities of clinical practice: the social organisation of clinical learning. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness & Medicine. 13(1). 107-125.

Hardwick, S & Jordan, S., (2002). The impact of part-time post-registration degrees

on practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 38(5):p524-535.

Hassan, A., (2006). Current Practices of Malaysia Higher Education. International Forum Globalisation and Integration in Higher Education.

Heffernanan, T., Morrison, M., Basu, P., & Sweeney, A. (2010). Cultural differences, learning styles and transnational education. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32(1), 27-39.

Majesty's Stationery Office., (1998). Data Protection Act. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, United Kingdom.

Ismail, N (2006). The Impact of the Malaysia-United Kingdom B.Ed. Twinning Programme on the Teachers’ Personal and Professional Development: Jabatan Bahasa Inggeris, Institut Perguruan Bahasa-Bahasa Antarabangsa.

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Retrieved from

Jantan M, Chan H, Shanon S & Sibly S. (2005). Enhancing Quality of Faculty in Private Higher Education Institutions in Malaysia. Penang: National Higher Education Research Institute.

Leask, B. (2005) Internationalisation of the curriculum: Teaching and learning. In J. Carroll & J. Ryan (Eds), Teaching international students: Improving learning for all. London: Routledge.

Leininger M., & McFarland, M. R. (2006). Culture care diversity and universality: A worldwide nursing theory (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Levett-Jones, TL. (2005). Self-directed learning: implications and limitations for undergraduate nursing education. Nurse Education Today. Jul;25(5):363-8.

Lim PH. (2012). Current trends, innovations and issues in nursing education to cater for the bottom billion nurses. IeJSME. 6 (Suppl 1), S69-S74.

Malaysian Ministry of Education., (2006). Educational Development Master Plan 2006-2010. PIPP 2006.

Malaysian Nursing Board, (2007). Guidelines on Standards and Criteria for Approval/Accreditation of Nursing Programmes. Kuala Lumpur. MNB.

Malaysian Nursing Board, (2008). Guidelines for Continuous Professional Development Programme for Nurses / Midwives. Putrajaya. Nursing Division Ministry of Health Malaysia.

Mantzoukas, S. & Jasper, M. (2008). Types of nursing knowledge used to guide care of hospitalised patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 62(3). 381-326.

Merriam, S.B., (2009). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. John Wiley & Sons. San Francisco.

Mohamed, M., (1991). The Way Forward – Vision 2020, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Available from: Accessed: 2 April 2017.

Moore, Z., (2010). Bridging the theory-practice gap in pressure ulcer prevention Education. British Journal of Nursing. 19 (15).12-18.

Moule, P., Ward, R. and Lockyer, L. (2010). Nursing and healthcare student’s experiences and use of e-learning in higher education. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 66 (12). 2785-279.

Polit, D.F. & Beck, C.T., (2016). Nursing research: generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Wolters Kluwer Health. Philadelphia.

Tourangeau A. E, Cranley L. A, Jeffs L., (2006). Impact of nursing on hospital patient mortality: A focused review and related policy implications. Quality & safety in health care. 15(1). 4–8.

Tourangeau A. E, Doran D. M, McGillis Hall L, O’Brien Pallas L, Pringle D, Tu J. V, Cranley L. A., (2007). Impact of hospital nursing care on 30-day mortality for acute medical patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 57(1). 32–44.

Van Manen, M., (2014). Phenomenology of practice: Meaning-giving methods in phenomenological research and writing. Left Coast Press, California.

Whyte, J., (2009). The logical solution to PCP shortages. The Clinical Advisor: For Nurse Practitioners. 12. 111.

Yaakup H, Eng T. C, Shah S. A., (2014). Does Clinical Experience Help Oncology Nursing Staff to Deal with Patient Pain Better than Nurses from other Displines? Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Amongst Nurses in a Tertiary Care in Malaysia. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 15(12). 4885–4891.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Transnational Press London

Copyright © 2011-2016 Border Crossing / Transnational Press London | All rights reserved | Contact Us