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Mangalore: Nursing Community in India Needs Care and Attention

by Divvy Kant Upadhyay

  • The country faces severe shortage of experienced and well-qualified nurses

Mangalore, May 16: Every year, May 12 is marked as the International Nurses' Day in memory of Florence Nightingale.

On this occasion, National Awards for Nurses were oresented in New Delhi by President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Curiously enough - to some extent quite sadly too -  among the twelve recipients, there was none from Karnataka. And this was despite the fact that Karantaka has the maximum number of nursing schools and colleges in the country.

The International Council of Nurses based in Geneva, Switzerland announced the theme for International Nurses Day 2007 as: 'Positive practice environments: Quality workplaces = quality patient care' .

The day and theme were both overlooked in our city, which has a very high number of hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.

The nursing community has an inevitable role to play in provision of healthcare. In India, it is estimated that there is one nurse for 2300 people. Scarcity of trained staff nurses is hitting major government and private hospitals across the country.

Points out city's eminent Urosurgeon, Dr G G Laxman Prabhu, "Scores of nurses are leaving the shores of our country for better prospects abroad. There is actually an acute shortage of trained and well qualified nurses here."

The surgeon, who works at the KMC Hospital, Ambedkar Circle, adds, "In the field of surgery in our country, one well-experienced nurse is actually worth two new assistant surgeons; but, unfortunately, better pay packages and new opportunities are causing a brain-drain of our nurses to teh benefit of the West"

Dr Priya Ballal

Managing director of K Pandyarajah Ballal Nursing Institute Dr K Priya Ballal says, "The role of the nurse in patient care is extremely significant as it is the nurses who sit next to the patient throughout the day and are thus the vital link between the patient and doctor."

Dr Priya who is also a KMC Gyneacologist at Government Lady Goschen Hospital feels, "An inherent drive to serve a tough job with dedication is the challenge for nurses. They need to be tough - both emotionally and physically"

Equally concerned just like the rest of the medical fraternity about the shortage of well qualified and trained nurses, Dr Priya stresses that "we need to tap the immense potential available and take action to contain the present loss of skilled talent to other countries"

Adds Dr Laxman Prabhu, "The government and private sector certainly need to provide better pay-packets to induce the nurses to serve within the country."

There is a very high demand for Indian nurses abroad but perhaps certain measures and policies are the need of the hour in our country to take care of the nursing community which selflessly takes care of sick people round the clock.

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