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Sikkim nursing aspirants stuck in Bengal red tape
- Physics and chemistry still in rule book for admission to hospital course

Gangtok, June 14: Around 200 students who opted for healthcare science in Class XII can’t apply for general nursing course because of the West Bengal Nursing Council’s insistence that admissions would be given only to those who studied physics and chemistry.

The SNT Nursing Training Centre, the only college that offers the course in Sikkim, is accredited to the West Bengal Nursing Council.

The Indian Nursing Council, the governing body of nursing councils in all states, has recently revised the criteria for admissions to the general nursing and mid-wifery course, saying students who didn’t study physics and chemistry could also apply for the course.

But the Bengal nursing council hasn’t effected the corresponding changes in the admission rules and it’s still mandatory for students to study physics and chemistry to apply for the GNM course.

“I had opted for healthcare science and passed the Class XII examinations with good marks. But the SNT Nursing Training Centre (at STNM Hospital) in Gangtok has refused to accept my application for the general nursing and mid-wifery course as I didn’t study physics and chemistry at higher secondary level,” said a student, who passed out of Namchi Girls’ Senior Secondary School.

The students as well as parents have been taken aback by the nursing institution’s decision.“We never thought our wards would face such a crisis when they chose healthcare science in Plus Two. We have sought the human resources development department’s intervention to deal with the conundrum,” said a guardian.

The SNT Nursing Training Centre has 20 seats for the GNM course.

Students who studied healthcare science as a vocational subject for taking up nursing courses had to study physiology, anatomy, diet, delivery system and English at Plus Two level. The first batch of students found out the anomaly in the Bengal nursing council’s admission rules only after they cleared the Class XII exams and started applying for the GNM course.

Healthcare science was introduced by the CBSE at five government senior secondary schools in Sikkim two years back. Opting for healthcare science does not mean that a student would take up further studies in nursing. He or she can also study regular courses provided that they have cut-off marks.

HRD secretary C.S. Rao said he had already taken up the matter with the health department. “The Indian Nursing Council has amended the admission rules, saying students who haven’t pursued chemistry and physics can also do the GNM course. But the Bengal nursing council hasn’t changed the rules yet. I asked the health department to pursue the matter with the Bengal nursing council,” said Rao.

Health principal secretary Kumar Bhandari said the STNM Hospital would have to adhere to the admission rules of the Bengal nursing council. “The college is affiliated to the Bengal nursing council and as such, students applying for the course should have studied chemistry and physics at the Plus Two level,” said Bhandari.

Sushanta Banerjee, the director of medical education in Bengal, said the state nursing council was yet to get any directive from the Indian Nursing Council regarding the change in the admission rules. “Once we receive the direction, we will also make the necessary changes.”