Job satisfaction of foreign-educated nurses in Malaysia: A cross-sectional study


job satisfaction
transients and migrants
nurse administrators

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Lee, S. Y., Soh, K. L. ., Japar, S., Ong, S. L., Soh, K. G., & Tsujita, Y. (2021). Job satisfaction of foreign-educated nurses in Malaysia: A cross-sectional study. Belitung Nursing Journal, 7(5), 361–369.
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Accepted for publication: 2021-09-16
Peer reviewed: Yes

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Background: The transition process of migration to work abroad can be challenging and, depending on how it is handled, can impact the job satisfaction level of these foreign-educated nurses. A clear understanding of migrant nurses’ job satisfaction is critical for effective translation of nursing practice across the health systems and cultures.

Objective: This study examined the job satisfaction of the foreign-educated nurses in Malaysia, which includes the job satisfaction dimensions and the significant difference between sociodemographic status and job satisfaction.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 102 foreign-educated nurses working in private hospitals, clinics, hemodialysis centers, nursing homes, and private homes in Malaysia was conducted from September 2017 to March 2018. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, Mann-Whitney U, and Kruskal Wallis tests were used to analyze the data.  

Results: The study revealed that the participants had a median satisfaction score of 22 (IQR = 19 to 24). Serving the sick and needy and participants’ self-respect were the highest satisfaction dimensions among the participants (Median = 3, IQR = 3 to 3). Moreover, the job satisfaction was significantly higher for registered foreign-educated nurses (mean rank = 62.5) than for unregistered foreign-educated nurses(mean rank = 48.65) when working in other countries (p = 0.02). Indian nurses (mean rank = 60.36) also expressed higher satisfaction in terms of working in other countries than Filipino nurses (mean rank = 46.88; p = 0.02). In addition, positive relationships with colleagues and superiors led to higher satisfaction among Indian nurses (mean rank = 61.02) than among Filipino nurses (mean rank = 47.24; p = 0.04). The job satisfaction of male foreign-educated nurses was significantly higher than their female counterparts in terms of self-respect, relationship with fellow nurses and superiors, working in other countries, career development, and ease of finding employment (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The overall job satisfaction among the foreign-educated nurses in Malaysia is high, mainly when serving the sick and needy, and their degree of self-respect. Understanding job satisfaction among foreign-educated nurses in Malaysia enables the management team to develop effective strategies for addressing nursing shortages and improving the quality of patient care.

Supporting Agencies

Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO)


Copyright (c) 2021 Su Yen Lee, Kim Lam Soh, Salimah Japar, Swee Leong Ong, Kim Geok Soh, Yuko Tsujita

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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