Nurses To Get More Critical For Hospitals

Publication: Bangalore Mirror

Date: 15th Sep, 2016

Spokesperson: Anja Stodtmeister, Director of Nursing, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals


By pursuing critical care training programmes, nurses can be entitled to more responsiblities and better remuneration In a move initiated by Indian Nursing Council,

hospitals in Bengaluru are gearing up to enrol nurses for traning in critical care programmes.

With more focus on increasing their skills by continuing education programmes (CMEs), the practitioners hope that they will soon be enable to take important decisions pertaining to medicines and critical care. This will not only help in meeting the shortage of doctors but also save the nursing profession, which is dying a slow death in India, according to Dilip Kumar, president of the Indian Nursing Council.

“The two-year postgraduate residency programme to attain specialisation in critical care that we are planning to start from the current academic year will give more opportunities and power to take decisions in various areas. The syllabus has been signed and we have invited applications from hospital staff who wish to get enrolled for it,” he told BM.

Lalit Pai, co-founder and CEO, Nightingales Home Health Services, says, “We have been conducting a series of continuing medical education programmes and nursing conclaves in order to train nurses in dealing with nursing in a chronic phase. There is a strong need to train nurses in oncology, cardiac and diabetic care. This is why we have been having extended specialised programmes on wound management, where we invite external speakers who have sufficient knowledge in the field and can assist nursing practitioners in upgrading their skills.”

In another effort by a city hospital to increase the skills of the nursing staff, the hospital management has roped in a nursing head trained in South Africa, with experience of over two decades, to train the nursing staff in maternity health care.

Anja Stodtmeister, director of nursing, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, who has worked with Indian nurses in the Middle-East for over 16 years, says, “The nurses trained in India are extremely talented and compassionate but what is lacking in the training of these nurses is a varied level of education. There is no consistency in training. A few nurses may only have theoretical knowledge but no practical experience. What we need is to create a comprehensive patient-oriented training module that will bring about standardisation of care.”

A section that is largely ignored, but that works around the clock for less remuneration, the nursing practitioners see a ray of hope after this initiative. Sister Rohini Paul, chief of nursing, Narayana Health City, says, “In the current scenario, a nurse is given limited powers and cannot go beyond the duties of doctors even after working in a particular unit for 15 years. The new course will at least enable nurses to prescribe a drug or medication. The situation is not the same as that was five years ago, where nurses saw plenty of opportunities in the United States and the UK or in the Middle-East. The attrition rate of going abroad has also gone down to a large extent. It is almost impossible to sustain on the kind of salary one gets today. This is the reason why a majority of young graduates do not even consider nursing as a career option these days.”

However, thousands of nurses like Sister Rohini see new courses and extended education programmes like these as an opportunity to motivate many young nurses to remain in the profession. But the biggest shift has to come with the remuneration. Currently, an entry-level nurse earns on an average of Rs 12,000 a month and as they climb up the career ladder, their monthly salary may hike by Rs 1,000.

Sister Rohini says, “Even after a decade of experience in India, it is almost impossible for a nurse to earn more than Rs 30,000. If these nurses are trained at a higher level, they should also be entitled to a better remuneration.”

‘Save us the disaster’

Of this, heart surgeon and founder of Narayana Health, Dr Devi Shetty, says, “With almost half the nursing colleges shutting down in the country, especially in South India, there is a strong need to take some stringent measures to drive this force. If this continues, nursing as a profession will die in five years. In the West, the scenario is completely different. Nurse practitioners not only are involved in complex procedures but are also legally allowed to prescribe medicines. Nurse practitioners have been functioning in the US, UK, Australia and the Netherlands for years now. The demand for ICU nurses is expected to increase threefold in the coming years. The same goes with the demand in chronic care considering the increase in people’s longevity.

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