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Nursing students to counsel tsunami victims

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JAN. 22. Third year nursing students in the tsunami-affected districts will be trained in counselling, to assist in the psycho-social rehabilitation of the victims.

They will be part of a yearlong project and will stay in the temporary shelters to provide counselling and moral support.

The students will have a three-day training programme as part of the project being jointly implemented by the Tamil Nadu State Nursing Council, the State Mental Health Authority and representatives of the World Health Organisation.

Speaking to presspersons today, the president of the Indian Nursing Council, T. Dileep Kumar, said that nursing students were familiar with psychiatry, as a part of their course. About 300 students from about 15 colleges in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanyakumari districts and two faculty members from each college will participate in the programme. Groups of students and faculty members will be stationed in each camp, to handle psychiatric and health problems and to provide counselling and referrals to professional health care personnel.

"Listening role"

S. Nambi of the State Mental Health Authority said instructions had been given to the nursing faculty, who would in turn instruct the students. "They just have a listening role to perform and have to function as shock absorbers. Do not argue, confront or get angry with them."

WHO representative Arvind Mathur said the organisation's role was to work with the Government. While the Tamil Nadu Government's response to the tsunami has been commendable, there has also been a good response by the NGOs , Dr. Mathur said.

The aim of involving nurses in the project was to provide long-term care to those in the affected areas.

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