Are Indonesian Nurses Ready for Medical Tourism with their English Competency?: Attitudes and Perspectives

  • Perti Rosanda Walailak University
  • Edwin Zehner Walailak University
  • Wipawan Pensuksan Walailak University
Keywords: Nurses, medical tourism, language policy, international hospitals, Indonesia


The growth of medical tourism has drawn worldwide attention, with Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia being Southeast Asia’s most attractive destinations whose outstanding qualities pulling millions of visitors annually. However, at some point, English language competency can be assumed to play significant roles in medical tourists’ choices of destinations. This study discusses Indonesia’s potential to become an additional medical tourism destination, as indicated by recent
government policy declarations. The author investigated this issue by studying a hospital in Indonesia that was recently internationally certified, especially the English readiness of its nursing staff. Specifically, she studied nurses’ attitudes on the importance of English communicative competence and their perceptions toward their abilities on the four English skills and to perform English in nursing jobs. Research methods included use of questionnaires, along with semi-
structured and informal interviews. Even though the nurses much likely have positive attitude on the importance of English, the research showed that the nurses were poorly prepared in English and were aware of this problem. The overall finding is that Indonesia appears to be trying hard to improve its readiness for medical tourism. However, more effort needs to be done to improve the nurses’ English competencies. The final portions of this paper will draw on the nurses’ expectations to the government so that the Indonesian nurses and hospitals might better prepared.