A DEFINING MOMENT: Transnational Nursing Education by Nirmala ARUNASALAM


A Defining Moment - Transnational Nursing Education by Dr Nirmala ARUNASALAM

A Defining Moment - Transnational Nursing Education
by Dr Nirmala Arunasalam

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For Western universities TNHE can be seen as a cash cow; for receiving countries it can be a cost-effective way of quickly raising the level and status of home produced professionals. But, for the recipients, in this instance Malaysian nurses upgrading from diploma to degree level qualifications, it can be an inter-cultural nightmare, one which the flying faculty charged with its delivery are not necessarily equipped to deal with. The author’s personal and professional experience of straddling and then crossing those boundaries informs this exploration of Malaysian nurses’ perspectives on their TNHE experiences, and the implications that these have for the learning and teaching provided.
– Mary Thornton, Professor Emeritus, University of Hertfordshire, UK

This book is an insightful exploration of an example of transnational higher education which identified some key questions that need to be asked about such programmes. As both an insider and outsider in relation to the culture and the profession the researcher is able to uncover a range of participant experiences and perceptions which highlight the importance of intercultural awareness on the part of flying faculty. Paying close attention to curriculum and pedagogy in terms of assumptions, expectations and prior experience is shown to be essential. The complexity of teaching and learning in transnational contexts and the challenges involved in attempting to use such programmes to bring about practice change are clearly identified.
– Joy Jarvis, Professor of Educational Practice, University of Hertfordshire, UK

This book raises important issues regarding the possible mismatches between the agenda of transnational higher education institutions who are selling their courses across the world. The main attraction of some of these courses tends to be the high status of a western degree, as opposed to the relevance and usability of the course materials in highly contextual local practice settings.
One of the interesting aspects of this research is the unique consideration of the role of researchers who are able to blend an insider’s understanding with an outsider’s overview on the situation concerning Malaysian nurses. The theory practice divide is at the crux of this research. The voice of Malaysian nurses and their experiences of TNHE modules is used to expose the mismatch between the experience, needs and contextual understanding between the nurses in their practice situations and the theoretical positions taught by ‘flying faculty’ western academics. The difficulties the students subsequently have in putting theory into practice is an interesting aspect of this research.
The book demonstrates some of the dangers which are evident in the all too eager embrace by western TNHE providers to offer partnerships in the delivery of higher education. Such advances are equally eagerly embraced by governments eager to heighten the status of their nation by importing western degrees, at times with-out consideration of specific local needs.
– Dr Bushra Connors, School of Education, University of Hertfordshire, UK

A revealing and important book for anyone interested in transnational higher education. At the heart of this book is an in-depth qualitative study of Malaysian nurses’ views and experiences of TNHE. The book will be of crucial interest to educators, policy makers, researchers and students involved in transnational education. – Dr Oscar Odena, Reader in Education, University of Glasgow, UK

Arunasalam delivers a competent and accessible text focusing on nurse education. Within one of the toughest professions to work in, the author provides the spaces for Malaysian nurses to reflect upon classroom training and practical experiences. This is also an exploration and critique of internationalisation and quality control regarding nurse training courses within and between the UK, Australia and Malaysia. Recommended for teaching and learning as well as pedagogical courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
– Dr Richard Race, Roehampton University, UK

I became familiar with Dr Arunasalam as an examiner of the Doctoral thesis produced which informs this text. The nature of trans-national education is a topic that she demonstrates much passion about. The Malaysian context is discussed and dealt with sensitively in relation to the topic, and her cultural, nursing and educational backgrounds contribute to this. The approach taken shows application of qualitative research approaches in data collection, analysis and conclusions derived, making a contribution to the literature in transnational education. – Associate Professor Robert Burton, Griffith University, Singapore.

I am familiar with Dr. Arunasalam’s work, having had the privilege of working with her on a collaborative qualitative research study. The depth of the background for this study, and the intimate self-reflection Dr. Arunasalam provides for this monograph greatly enhances the quality of the study. As a Malaysian, United Kingdom resident, nurse, academic, and practitioner-research, she brought a wealth of understanding and insight into this study as she continued to learn from her interviewees. Her revealing of the influence culture and context have on nurses’ preference to learning, and the time it takes to adjust and adapt to new ways of teaching and learning is clearly explicated. Dr. Arunasalam has a keen interest in the theory-practice connection, and this is evident in her research. Her use of qualitative research as a mode for understanding this phenomenon is clearly appropriate. She is an expert in this field of research and has a grasp for its use unlike any nurse researcher I know.
Important issues emerged in this study that can have an impact on the continued growth of health care in Malaysia and the delivery of nursing education through TNHE. There is a clear gap in assumptions and expectations between the Malaysian students and the TNHE educators. This monograph is a significant contribution to the dearth in the literature about the TNHE post-registration pro-grams, and to the gaps in literature addressing the voice of those involved in this partnership. It is a high quality piece of research that is a significant contribution to the body of knowledge related to nursing education.
– Thayer McGahee, Dean, School of Nursing, University of South Carolina Aiken.

Nirmala Arunasalam’s book is a testimony of a highly qualified nurse with migrant background for nurses´ claim to self-determination in education all over the world. The reader dives into the living world of Malaysian nurses and their perceptions of a Higher Education program. As a German nurse I felt deeply touched by Nirmala´s close description of Malaysian nurses´ perceptions of a state-financed educational program with the goal to get access to the high standard of nursing education in countries with top-level nursing educational programs and strong political representation of nurses. There are economic, societal, political and even cultural requirements for nurses´ education. But only the nurses themselves are allowed and are able to formulate the goals, the outcomes and the contents of their own education, both academic and occupational.
Nirmala Arunasalam’s book is a mile stone in education research with the focus on equal education opportunities and transcultural aspects. Nursing as a worldwide vital profession for sustainable, national healthcare systems and its development as a highly qualified profession is the aim of the programmes evaluated.
It is a must have and a must read in a world of “pseudo factum knowledge” where social and human oriented professions and scientific disciplines such as nursing are getting little attention. It is not only a solid research report but a final speech for self-determination of nurses seeking for transnational accepted higher education degrees.
It is a book not only for nurses but for all of us who feel responsible for the societal challenge to handle socio-demographic changes, worldwide migration flows, globalization and health related external influences such as climate change, high workload, and social disparities. To allow nurses to get an internationally accepted occupational and academic degree is not only a question of equal educational opportunities but a question of the sustainable development of health care systems all over the world.
– Astrid Herold-Majumdar, Professor, Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany

The book’s focus is Transnational Higher Education teaching, learning, theory and practice experiences of the nursing workforce in Malaysia. It shows a new model for post-registration education in Malaysia to improve the education, status and professionalism of the nursing workforce in parity with other healthcare professionals. This book will inspire all individuals who have a commitment to teaching and learning as it is both informative and enjoyable. The author's knowledge and experience on the subject is very impressive. At the same time the deep and trusting experience of the writer on the subject deeply affects us.
– Dr Elif Iskender, Associate Professor, Istanbul Beykent University, Turkey


Dr Nirmala Devi ARUNASALAM is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Plymouth. She was previously a visiting research fellow at Regent's Centre for Transnational Studies, Regent’s University London and Senior Lecturer in the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Dr Arunasalam serves on the organisation committee of the Migration Conference series.

CREDITS: Cover Design: Gizem Cakir

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