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Nurse the Cause

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The objective of Nursing Education has been redefined with time. The focus is not only on maintaining uniform quality education, there are many other values that need to be persued. By Sharmila Das, Elets News Network

The Nursing Education Act came into existence in India in 1948. The objective of the act was to facilitate the rise of quality nursing education in  India. For that The Indian Nursing Council (INC) was established in 1947. The body acts as a watchdog and regulates nursing education in the country through prescription, inspection, examination, certification and maintenance of uniform syllabus at each level of nursing education.

A glimpse of the time
Nursing Education in India has evolved to a point today where it is seen as a way of eradicating unemployment too besides serving the humanity. A large number of nursing education colleges have come up today and the following top the list.

• All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
• Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh
• West Bengal University of Health Sciences (WBUHS)
• Manipal Academy of Higher Education
• Christian Medical College, Vellore

Dr Latha Venkatesan, Principal, Apollo College of Nursing, Ayanambakkam, Chennai, says,

“The nursing profession continues to evolve and progress at its own pace. The current trends in nursing and care are multifaceted. It includes the changing disease patterns, enhanced consumer awareness, a transition to technology and informatics, a mismatch of nurses strength between south and northern states, and an overarching emphasis on specific frameworks for the guiding of nursing practice, including integration of evidence based practice and key performance indicators of quality of nursing care.”

 

The six levels of nursing education in India are:
• Multi Purpose Health Worker Female training (ANM or MPHW-F)
• Female Health Supervisor training (HV or MPHS-F)
• General nursing and midwifery (GNM)
• BSc. Nursing
• MSc. Nursing
• MPhil and PhD
The last three are the university level courses while the ANM, HV, and GNM are conducted in schools of nursing.

AK Ojha, Director, A K School of Nursing, says,

“The present status of nursing education is very bright in India. The education system has third position in education. Doctor, engineer and graduate nurse is the sequence of choice of profession in India today. Students enter in nursing education with the objective of getting a job in India or abroad. It’s a job oriented profession now”.

Changing trends
While the healthcare is catching up with more consumer centric services like day care and specialty clinics, the need of trained, skilled nurses is even more acute. To fill the gap, lot of  changes are being implemented. Dr Venkatesan says, “ To fulfil the vast requirement of skilled nurses, mushrooming number of colleges have come up over the decade, offering post graduate diploma courses in various specialties. There are short term refresher courses available in the domain. Also integration of technology into teaching and examinations have included in nursing education”


Prof Jaya Kuruvilla
, Prinipal, PD Hinduja Hospital College of Nursing, says,

“Though the numbers of colleges have increased tremendously, the quality of education is compromised in many colleges due to lack of physical and clinical  facilities and qualified and experienced teachers. Research need to be strengthened and quality of studies conducted by Post graduate and Ph.d students need be improved so that evidence based nursing practice becomes a reality. In our college, we prepare an Institutional curriculum which is much more than that of the basic curriculum of INC/MUHS .We incorporate innovative teaching learning strategies and in this line we also have a smart class room which is useful for us and eventually for other colleges because we can practice web based teaching”.

Facing the trends
The scientific and technological advances in medicine along with social changes have resulted in emergence of new  diseases and the development of specialties and super specialties. To keep pace with the changes, the curricula in nursing education programmes needs to include social trend based syllabus and advances in medicine. Along with new inclusion, curriculum needs periodic revision. Dr Renu Kapoor, Branch Manager, FPA (Full form) India, Hyderabad, says, “The syllabuses are changing and the high standards are being maintained to meet the needs of the society, at the same time it should not be made as profit making business. It is felt that nursing education in India has reached high, but the manpower needs are not met yet.”

The role of INC
It is a fact that with large number of graduates passing out every year in this space, it is a challenge to maintain quality in nursing education. Hence INC has to be very efficient in facing the situation.  Experts are of the opinion that with more and more clinics, hospitals, nursing homes coming up, an adequate supply of qualified nurses poses a challenge.
Besides, good infra structure, clinical facilities and adequately prepared faculty are required.

Dr Kapoor says, “Indian Nursing Council has by far been successful in implementing Nursing Education. In order to ensure uniformity of nursing education, INC has implemented policies and regulations that have to be followed by all schools and colleges of Nursing. Admission criteria for nursing schools and colleges have been changed. For instance, for ANM course, the educational qualification has been enhanced for 10th pass to 12th standard from 2013-14 academic year onwards. This has improved the quality. The education is not only classroom based. The students get ample opportunity to practice and polish their skills by way of being posted at various hospitals and  communities to get direct field level experience. Linking of nursing education and practice encourages well prepared graduates for better patient care.”

It is safe to conclude that while the INC should take appropriate steps to ensure adequate supply of skilled, qualified nurses to the country, the nursing education colleges/institutes should also maintain the benchmark of producing good quality nursing professionals.

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