Nursing courses have seen a boom due to COVID with 99 % of B.Sc Nursing seats and 91 % of General Nursing and Midwifery Diploma seats being filled during the first Covid wave in 2020-21.20-21.
New Delhi: Nurses, who play a critical role in healthcare, have been the hardest hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, yet despite these setbacks, young people are still enrolling in nursing programmes.
According to data from the Indian Nursing Council (INC), between 2017-18 and 2020-21, the occupancy of BSc (Nursing) seats went from 70% to 100%, while the number of seats filled for the General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) diploma increased from 77% to 91 %.
In 1,936 colleges, there are 1,00,930 B.Sc. Nursing seats. The number of seats to be filled for this steadily risen to 83 % in 2018-19, 92 % in 2019-20, and a high of 2020-21, when the Covid outbreak was in its first wave.
At the same time, enrollment in 2,711 institutes’ 1,15,188 GNM diploma seats was 82 % in 2018-19 and 86 % in 2019-20.
However, India has a chronic shortage of nurses, with a dropout rate of up to 40% in elite hospitals, as good pay and better working circumstances entice nurses to migrate abroad.
Although there is no clear estimate of how many nurses died during the epidemic, the Union Health Ministry stated in a response to the current budget session of Parliament that insurance will cover 1,616 health workers who died in the course of duty. So far, the claims have been settled.
‘Largest centre, although in terms of numbers, it falls short of the WHO guideline.’
Dr. Judith Angelitta Noronha, dean of Manipal College of Nursing, told ThePrint, ” There has been no drop in applications despite the outbreak”. Rather, the number is rising as there is a high demand for Indian nurses in other countries. We received approximately 900 applications for a total of 100 seats.
Noronha said, ‘Our graduates work abroad about 95 %’. They merely need to pass the exams that are required in the country. However, the number of PG (Post Graduate) applications has decreased marginally as a result of a lack of job experience. Only roughly 40 people applied for the 25 spots available.
According to Dr. Roy K George, National President of The Trend Nurses Association of India (TNAI), the number of applications received by reputable universities for nursing seats is normally in the ratio of 10:1. However, private-sector salaries and workplace circumstances are poor, and the number of government-sector positions is minimal.
George said, ‘India has flourished as the world’s greatest source of trained nurses, but our availability of 1.7 nurses per 1,000 people falls far short of the four WHO benchmarks’.
‘The Most Influential for patient care’
The typical annual dropout rate of nurses at a reputable private hospital chain, according to a senior nursing executive, is around 40%.
Many young men and women enrol in nursing institutions with the goal of working abroad and join hospitals around the country to obtain the requisite job experience, according to Executives.
According to projections from the healthcare business, they number around 35 lakh fewer than the country’s nursing shortage.
Captain (Dr.), Usha Banerjee, Group Director (Nursing), Indraprastha Apollo Hospital says, “The nursing staff shortage remains a crisis for the world”. One of the many factors that has influenced the demand-supply ratio is the global shortage.
Banerjee said, “It’s unfortunate that we don’t prepare and train the sufficient number of nurses to keep up with the changes in beds and infrastructure in India”. In this case, there is no proportional equivalency. It’s possible that there wasn’t enough investment to encourage nurses to work in their own country. We must recognize that they are the hospital’s backbone in terms of patient care.
Dr. T. Dilip Kumar, President of the INC, agrees that nurses face numerous challenges, including a lack of pay parity in government and private hospitals.
No reliable history of serving nurses.
Aside from it though, there is no accurate estimate of the overall number of nurses employed in India. Nurses must register with the State Nursing Council, however, they are not required to notify the council if they travel overseas afterwards.
Kumar told ThePrint, “We know that the number of registered nurses in the country has been 23 lakh since 1947”. However, no information is available on how many are presently serving in the country. We have no information about whether they have died or left the country.
He went on to say that this is why the INC is focusing on the National Nursing Registration Tracking System (NRTS).
He said, “At the moment, we have updated data on approx one million nurses, which is about 65 % of their total workforce in the country”. Some states, like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, have yet to provide data. Only after NRTS is completed will we have a clearer understanding of our true position.