New Delhi, May 12 : Presenting the National Awards to Nursing Personnel here on Monday, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil said that the nursing profession needs to be given more respect, recognition and encouragement by society.
"A nurse takes gentle care of patients to save their lives or cure their illness just as a loving mother or a sister or a member of the family. This is the reason that a nurse is always called a 'sister'. She does service to humanity and so also she is a sister," said Patil.
"Issues relating to their working conditions and other welfare measures should receive sympathetic consideration. While taking care of the health of others, it is important that nurses should learn and use the methods and techniques to take care of their own health also," she added.
Expressing her happiness over the excellent quality and commitment of Indian nurses and them getting recognition, the President said: "They are in high demand in India and all over the world, but there exists an acute shortage. There are about 3.7 lakh active nurses in India while the requirement is for about 10.5 lakh nurses by 2012."
She said that serious consideration should be given as to how to close this gap. In this regard, she said that nursing councils have a significant role to play in maintaining standards in the profession.
"They must ensure that at the time of registration only those with requisite qualifications are registered. To have a correct assessment of the strength and qualifications of the nursing personnel, it is important that State Nursing Councils update their registers on a regular basis," she said.
Nursing, she said, invariably brings to mind the image of the 'Lady with the Lamp' - Florence Nightingale who worked selflessly day and night, caring for the sick and the injured.
Describing her as the pioneer of nursing, who contributed to the reformation of patient care and hospital sanitation methods, Patil said her oft repeated quote "I never gave or took any excuse" should serve as an inspiration for all in the medical profession.
Nursing, she said, is a noble profession, and nursing personnel are an integral part of any healthcare system.
"As every patient is important, it falls on the nurses to reflect the specific requirements of every individual patient to the doctors. Nurses also have to ensure that doctors' instructions are carried out thoroughly in respect of the patient. Thus, nurses, in a very special way, serve as an organic conduit between a doctor and a patient," she concluded.