All St. John Ambulance of Malaysia members are required to be trained in Basic First Aid and only accepted as a uniformed member upon passing the Basic First Aid examinations. Members are also required to pass the annual re-certification to maintain efficiency. SJAM follows the latest First Aid practice worldwide and keep members up to date through frequent training sessions and practice sessions.
Nursing members follow the same first aid and foot drill training as ambulance members. They must learn nursing procedures to care for the sick before they are qualified as members. In nursing procedures, members learn to attend to the sick and help them in daily routines such as taking meals and medication, and bed sponging. Members also must learn to communicate with patients besides exercising patience and understanding the patients’ needs.
The competition originated from the St. John Ambulance in England, which can be traced back to the British Transport Commission (Railway and Docks) Competition in 1897. The first Federal (now National) First Aid and Nursing Competition was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 1957. It was opened to all states in Malaya. Competitions at State- and Area-level were held at their respective headquarters. In 1960, teams from Singapore were invited to participate.
Teams competing at national competitions were selected from winning teams from respective State and Area competitions. Medical officers and nurses from local hospitals or health clinics acted as judges. Winners of Area-level competitions represented their Area for State-level competitions. Similarly, State-level champions represented their States in the National-level competitions. The winners of the National competitions represented Malaysia in the biennial Malaysia-Singapore First Aid and Nursing Competition. Each competition team consists of five members of which one member is a reserve. The team leader is usually the most senior member of the team. The teams are categorised into Nursing Cadets, Ambulance Cadets, Nursing Adults and Ambulance Adults.
There were four events in the original First Aid and Nursing Competition – Foot Drill and Uniform Test (50 points), Short Case Test (100 points, previously known as Dual Test), Stretcher Drill Test (100 points) and Long Case Test for Ambulance members (previously known as Team Test) or Practical Nursing for Nursing members (150 points). The Stretcher Drill was removed from the competitions in 1999 due to time constraints and changes in the organisation’s routine operations.
The Malaysia-Singapore First Aid and Nursing Competition was first held in 1961 at Gay World (Happy World) Stadium in Singapore between the Adult Ambulance teams from Singapore and Malaya. A well-known philanthropist Dato’ Lee Kong Chian donated the Gold Challenge Trophy for the inaugural event. The Maltese Cross on the trophy was made of pure gold with engravings in Jawi, English, Tamil and Chinese. The primary objective of the Malaysia-Singapore Competition is to enhance the standards of first aid and nursing through friendly competition. At the same time, it promotes goodwill between the members and officers of the St. John Ambulance movements of the two countries.
Between 1961 and 1964, the competition was held annually with the two countries taking turns to host it. From 1965, it was changed to a biennial affair. In 1967, the competition was expanded to include the Nursing Adult teams and the Challenge Trophy was donated by Puan Sri Saadiah Sardon. The Ambulance Cadet and Nursing Cadet teams were added to the competition in 1981. The Ambulance Cadet challenge trophy was donated by YB Tan Sri Abdul Kadir bin Shamsuddin, the then SJAM Commander-in-Chief and named after YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra while the Nursing Cadet challenge trophy was donated by Tan Sri Dr. Rumme Shaw, President of Singapore St. John Ambulance National Council.
In recognition of outstanding leadership and performance of team leaders during competitions, a Best Team Leader Trophy was introduced in 1995. As an incentive to the competitors, from 2005, two Best Team Leader Trophies were introduced; one for Male leader (Ambulance) and the other for Female leader (Nursing).
Dato’ Lee Kong Chian Gold Challenge Trophy 1961
Toh Puan Sri Saadiah Sardon Challenge Trophy 1967
Tan Sri Dr. Rumme Shaw Challenge Trophy 1981
YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Challenge Trophy 1981
In certain parts of the country where Junior divisions are active, Juniors First Aid and Foot Drill competition is organised.