As early as the 1800 an, nursing in Malaysia began with the arrival of the East India Company where hospitals for the sick were established in Penang and Singapore.These hospitals were run by the Catholic nuns and which were later replaced by the nurses from England.
Nursing practice in the pre-war era in Malaya then was carried out by nurses who received, on the job training, with lectures given by expatriates i.e. by European sisters, matrons and doctors at the hospital level. Each state/straits settlement organized its own nursing services, training and conducted its own examination, resulting in a varying standard from state to state. The emphasis of nursing practice then was the curative aspects of patient care.
The chronology of events in the formation of Nursing in Malaysia 1923 – introduction of legislation for the control of the Practice of Midwifery and the training of midwifes in the Straits Settlement and subsequently in the other states of the Malay Peninsular. The Nurses Act and Nurses Registration Ordinance were enacted to control the practice of nursing. This provided to the setting up of the Nursing Board which controls nursing education and registration of nurses and carrying out the following activities:
- Development of syllabus and curriculum for the Basic Nurse Training.
- Conducts the final examination for registration.
- The issuance of the Nurse Training Certificate.
- Development of the regulations to control the practice of nursing through registration and issuance of the Nursing Registration Certificate and Registration Badge.
- The development of the Nurses Registration Regulation.
- Extension of the Nurses Act to Sarawak. Extension of the Nurses Act to Sabah.
1985 -Revision of the Nurses Registration Regulation 1985 and the Implementation of the Annual Practicing Certificate.
1966 -The Midwives Act 1966 was enacted and a Midwives Board to provide for the registration of nurse – midwives and to regulate the practice of midwifery in the country.
The Midwives (Registration) Regulation,1971 was established whereby all midwives were required to apply for registration . the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) were registered up till 1st August 1972)
The Midwives Act, 1966 was revised in 1990. The regulation reopened its doors to allow TBA to register for the next 10 years.