Shortfall of nurses in India being felt

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New Delhi, Jan 19 (UNI) Despite considerable expansion in nursing services in the country since Independence, stark imbalances exist in the nurse's population ratio in India where there is one nurse for every 2,250 people.

In contrast, the number of people served by one-nurse in the developed countries ranges from 150 to 200 and even countries like Indonesia, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Thailand have a better nurse population ratio.

The nurse patient ratio, however, varies from 1:5 to 1:60 or 1:1000 in different institutions, figures released ahead of the centenary celebrations of the Trained Nurses' Association of India (TNAI) being held on January 22 show.

It has been projected that the country requires about 200,000 nursing personnel to provide comprehensive care under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) project. In order to meet the shortfall in providing quality patient care, the Centre has advised state governments to enhance the capacity of the Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and GNMs by setting up additional nursing training institutions.

With the objective of improving the standard of nursing education and nursing practice, it has been decided to promote evidence-based practice and nursing research and improve working condition of nurses.

Opening of ANM and GNM schools in those districts where there is no nursing school or college, developing a live register to obtain the current and varied information and participation of continuing education as a means for renewal of license of practice are some of the options being considered under the National Strategy framework for nursing midwifery services to outline the roadmap for XIth five-year plan.

The other strategies being mulled by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry include establishing a regional centre of excellence for super specialty training in nursing, in-service training of nurses in various specialty areas, developing nurse practitioner programme and strengthening nursing organisations from state level to sub-centre level.

The centenary celebrations of the TNAI is a great achievement for the entire nursing fraternity in the country. The TNAI had its beginning in the Association of Nursing Superintendents which was founded in 1905 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and comprised nine European nurses mostly employed as administrators in the hospitals.

This small band of visionary women with pioneering spirit saw the need to develop nursing as a profession and also provide a forum where professional nurses could meet and plan to achieve these goals. The movement gathered momentum and in 1908, the Trained Nurses Association was established with the objective to uphold in every way the dignity and honour of the nursing profession promoting espirit de corps among all nurses and to advance professionals, educational and general welfare of nurses.

The nursing profession and its practitioners complement the health care services by successfully implementing the interventions that promote or restore health.

Acknowledging the contributions made by nurses to society, late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during a programme at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi observed that, "A Nurse is not merely an aid and assistant to a doctor, she has an independent part to play in many areas where doctor need not necessarily be present.In the Western world, nNurse anesthetist is properly trained, take on important duties in minor surgical procedures and also take care of newborns among others. The nurse is in her own right a key member of the medical team.

"Many intensive care units, dialysis units and blood banks today fall with in the realm of nursing specialties. ANMs who do such valuable field work along with health visitors should be given due recognition on the basis of equality and not be regarded as a lesser members of the profession." UNI SD KD GC1113

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