Changing trends in nursing education
The increasing demand for nurses both within the country and abroad has led to a dramatic increase in the number of seats for nursing courses in Kerala.
From strength to strength: The number of seats for nursing courses has increased significantly.
Ever since former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s call, in his 10-point development agenda for Kerala, for the creation of an army of nurses and paramedics to meet the rising demand for paramedical personnel at the national and global levels, nursing education in the State has undergone a sea change. Efforts have been made to increase the number of seats and to sanction new colleges.
In fact, the State government began efforts to increase the number of seats in tune with the National Health Policy 2002, which states, “The ratio of nursing personnel in the country vis-a-vis doctors and beds is very low according to professionally accepted norms. There is also an acute shortage of nurses trained in super specialty disciplines for deployment in tertiary care facilities.”
The State started sanctioning self-financing nursing courses in the private sector from the time of the UDF regime headed by A.K. Antony. The current LDF government has plans to start three more nursing colleges. Future plans include beginning M.Sc. nursing courses at the Government Medical Colleges at Alappuzha and Thrissur.
The State Cabinet has cleared the Health Department’s proposal to establish a State Institute of Medical Education and Technology (SIMET) to promote paramedical education in the government sector. Initially, SIMET will set up three nursing colleges at Malampuzha in Palakkad, Uduma in Kasaragod and Palluruthi in Ernakulam.
The institute will start B.Sc. nursing courses this year itself after receiving the approval of the Indian Nursing Council.
Dr. Kochuthressiamma Thomas, registrar, Kerala Nurses and Midwives Council, Thiruvananthapuram, said that the shortage of manpower and demand for qualified hands in the country and abroad had necessitated an increase in the number of seats.
As of now, there are 4,080 seats for B.Sc. nursing in the State. Apart from the five government nursing colleges attached to the five medical colleges in the State, 68 private institutions and 10 institutions under universities (self-financing mode) offer the course. The duration of the course is five years.
Also, there are 212 nursing schools, 194 of them in the private sector, which offer Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery (DNM) in the State. For DNM, there are 6,279 seats — 5,845 in private nursing schools and 434 in government nursing schools.
Anoop K., State secretary, Graduate Nurses Forum, said that the Indian Nursing Council (INC) has instructed to wind up the DNM courses by 2010, and instead to focus on B.Sc. courses. The postgraduate course, M.Sc. nursing is offered only at the government nursing colleges (total 80 seats).
Mr. Anoop said that, as per standards, there should be one nurse for each patient in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and one nurse for five patients in general wards. But the government was unable to find enough hands to meet the standardsand often there would be only one nurse for up to 50 patients.
Rijo Jose, president of Post Graduate Nursing Students Forum, however, says that the existing strength of students was enough to meet the demand for qualified nurses in the State and even for the opportunities outside.
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