PAS MP draws flak from union, MMA over remarks on nurses’ attire
“Wan Razali’s comment is unprofessional and politically motivated. When we expect MPs to focus on debating important healthcare reforms in the health white paper, the PAS MP was focused on the cut of the uniforms.
(FMT) – The Malayan Nurses Union says their uniforms are designed to be functional and to make it easier for them to carry out their duties.
Several organisations and individuals today slammed Kuantan MP Wan Razali Wan Nor for saying uniforms worn by nurses were too tight and not shariah-compliant.
While the nurses’ union defended the uniform, saying it was not figure-hugging, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said it was a shame that the PAS MP was more concerned about the nurses’ dress code at a time when the public was concerned about the sustainability of the country’s healthcare system.
Malayan Nurses Union president Nor Hayati Abd Rashid said the uniforms nurses wore were designed to be functional and to make it easier for them to carry out their duties
She maintained that the uniforms were not tight and that they adhered to guidelines set by the health ministry.
“It is up to the nursing supervisor to look out for this. Normally, the sisters or matrons will advise nurses if their uniforms are too tight,” she told FMT.
She pointed out that back in the 1980s, nurses used to wear skirts but the dress code changed to pants to be more shariah compliant.
“I am not sure what the MP was thinking to make such a statement. This (uniform) is not new, we have been using it for a long time,” she said.
In debating the much-awaited white paper on public health reforms, Wan Razali had commented that nurses’ uniforms were figure-hugging.
He said the current uniforms followed the Western mould and should be “relaxed”, pointing out that nurses in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, and the Sultan Azlan Shah Medical Centre in Kuantan, Pahang, were given dress code options.
Former Universiti Malaya (UM) nursing lecturer Rasnah Abdul Rahman said nurses’ ability to carry out their duties required significant education, training and experience, and should not be diminished based on their uniforms.
“Nurses can function effectively in any type of clothing – tight or not. There is no research to suggest that tight-fitting clothing worn by nurses has a negative impact on patients,” she said.
She added that a hospital’s dress code policy might vary depending on the hospital’s culture, mission and values.
Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye agreed, saying nurses’ uniforms were comfortable, functional and decent, allowing for variation to cater to each institution and individual preferences.
“Wan Razali’s comment is unprofessional and politically motivated. When we expect MPs to focus on debating important healthcare reforms in the health white paper, the PAS MP was focused on the cut of the uniforms. What a joke,” he said.
Meanwhile, MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said: “All nurses in the public sector adhere to the civil service dress code. We believe the current health ministry (approved) nurse uniforms are practical as it does not seem to restrict movement when nurses carry out their duties. In healthcare, everyone needs to be fast on their feet.”
It was a shame, he said, that when everyone was concerned about the future of healthcare, Wan Razali was concerned about the nurses’ dress code.
Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy CEO Azrul Khalib said although it was a shame that the MP was more concerned about nurses’ uniforms and whether these were body hugging or not, a switch to scrubs should be considered.
He said: “With the increasing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance and the importance of infection control, switching to scrubs can promote a clean environment. They are designed to be simple, easy to launder and cheap to replace if damaged.”